Tag Archives: Facebook

Hawkins’ Book Has Formidable Splash Debut

It is remarkable and rare that an author’s first book, on its first week out, hits the # 1 spot on the fiction best-seller lists, such as the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon.com, and the Wall Street Journal.  Yet, that is where The Girl on The Train (New York:  Riverhead Books, 2015) by Paula Hawkins finds itself.

Who is Paula Hawkins?  We don’t know much about her.  First, be sure you understand this is not the Republican senator with the same name.  Hawkins lives in London, and worked as a journalist for fifteen years before writing her first fictional book.  She was born and raised in Zimbabwe.  In 1989, she moved to London and has stayed there ever since.  Paula Hawkins picture

What is the book about?  Here is what her Facebook page says about it:

A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.  Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.  And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?  Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

You can read a review of the book from the New York Times by clicking here.  It has already been translated and published in numerous languages.  The book has been optioned for film by Dreamworks.  Note:  It is easy to get confused.  You will find this same title used on several previous books and movies.

Girl on the Train book coverWhen I bought my copy at Barnes & Noble, there was only one more remaining on the display.

To say that it is “selling like hotcakes” would be accurate.  The book is receiving massive publicity in papers and talk shows throughout the country.

You should get it, read it, and react to it, before you hear all about it from someone.




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The Technology We Will Read About Soon – The Online Buzz Last Week

We have provided synopses for many books on technology over the now completed 14 years of the First Friday Book Synopsis.  Clearly, there are many avid readers who embrace technology and can’t wait to see what’s new.

Here’s the next one that we will likely see covered in a book soon.  It is called Project Glass, and it is a pair of Internet-connected glasses under development by Google.

In essence, you wil be able to be online and view sites through a small glass window that rests in the upper right or left corner of your lens.

The Wall Street Journal provided these statistics in an article on April 7-8, 2012, p. C4.  Out of 2,482 social media posts on Facebook and Twitter between April 4-6:

  • 77% were excited
  •   9% were skeptical
  • 12% thought it was too much
  • 2%  cracked jokes

Click here to read the full article and see some of the quotes taken from the respondents.

And, remember – don’t ever say, “what will they think of next?”  As soon as you do, you will be behind the curve.

What do you think?  Let’s talk about it really soon.


Rowling Enthusiasm Runs High Before She Even Writes

Acclaimed author J.K. Rowling, who penned the widly popular Harry Potter series, has received great enthusiasm about her announcement that she will write a new book for an adult audience.

She could have a best-seller before she even writes a word.

In research conducted by Netbase Solutions, Inc., published in the Wall Street Journal (February 25-26, 2012, p. C4), reactions to the announcement are as follows:

Excited – 58%

Memories of Potter – 34%

Jokes – 6%

Skepticism – 2%

The reactions were consolidated from 4,800 posts on Twitter and Facebook, between February 23-24.

I did not read any of the Harry Potter books, but my daughter did, and also saw all the movies.

I think I will read this one, whatever it is, and whenever it comes out, just out of curiosity.

What about you?  Let’s talk about it really soon.

Social Media Doesn’t Make the Cash Register Ring

As with many of you, we have a presence on Facebook for the First Friday Book Synopsis.  Many of you are members of the group that we established.  It is fun to interact with you through that group every day.

It is important to remember that Social Media has limits as to what it can produce.  It is what it is – it is “social,” and its intent is to share information, reactions, opinions, and presence.   Many have tried to use Social Media for other purposes, and in fact, seminars are plentiful that purport to show you how to build business by maximizing and tweaking your presence with the various tools.

Click here  for access to a full article published on February 21 in the Dallas Morning News about business results from Facebook.  They are not impressive, and the trends below may surprise you, as they run counter to common-sense publicity about social media.  Here is an excerpt from the article:

“Last April, Gamestop Corp. opened a store on Facebookto generate sales among the 3.5 million-plus customers who’d declared themselves “fans” of the video game retailer. Six months later, the store was quietly shuttered.  Grapevine-based Gamestop has company. Over the past year, Gap Inc. , Plano-based J.C. Penney Co. and Nordstrom Inc. have all opened and closed storefronts on Facebook Inc.’s social networking site.  Facebook, which this month filed for an initial public offering, has sought to be a top shopping destination for its 845 million members.  The stores’ quick failure shows that the Menlo Park, Calif.-based social network doesn’t drive commerce and casts doubt on its value for retailers, said Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass.  “There was a lot of anticipation that Facebook would turn into a new destination, a store, a place where people would shop,” Mulpuru said. “But it was like trying to sell stuff to people while they’re hanging out with their friends at the bar.”

These  results do not surprise me.  If you count on Social Media to build sales, that is neither its intent, nor a probable outcome. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I like Social Media.  I access Facebook and Twitter several times a day.  In fact, my MBA class on research methods at the University of Dallas is studying it during this term. 

But, I am aware of what it is supposed to do, and what it can do.   It is what it is.  It raises awareness, but it doesn’t make the cash register ring.  Don’t be disappointed when it doesn’t do something it is not.

What do you think?  Let’s talk about this really soon.

Social Media is Just That – Social

I am not surprised at all to see the statistics published on February 20, 2012 by the Pew Research Center that reveal very few Americans receive political news from social networks.

Where do we get our information about politicians, campaigns, platforms, etc?   It’s not from social media.  Here is the breakdown, when Americans were asked to identify the sources they used regularly to follow political news.  Note this is not a “fixed pie” of 100%.  Rather, these numbers reflect how many Americans sampled identified a source:

Cable news (36%)

Local TV news (32%)

National network news (26%)

Internet (25%)

Local daily newspaper (20%)

Talk radio (16%)

Late-night comedy shows (9%)

Facebook (6%)

YouTube (3%)

Twitter (2%)

Why would this surprise anyone?  Social Media is just what it is – it is social.  It generates conversation, spreads opinions, and highlights reactions.   Social Media is not a source that generates or distributes information.  It is post-news.  It is filled with what people think about what they already know.

It is not that Social Media is unimportant.  In fact, it is the focus in my MBA research methods class this term at the University of Dallas.   My students are learning research methods by focusing their research on Social Media.

Americans don’t get their news from Social Media outlets.  Americans talk about the news through Social Media.

Are you surprised by this?  If so, let’s talk about it really soon!