Leigh's Reviews > We First: How Brands and Consumers Use Social Media to Build a Better World

We First by Simon Mainwaring
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's review
Aug 16, 2011

really liked it
Read in September, 2011

Earlier this year, I flew across the country to visit my friend, a law student in Washington DC. On the last leg of my flight I sat next to two people who were around my age (early to mid-20's). There was an unpleasant woman sitting behind us who complained about various insignificant things during the entire flight. When we touched down in DC, my row-mates and I pulled out our phones to let our friends/family (or whoever was picking us up) know we'd landed. Unpleasant Woman saw us with our phones and launched into a tirade against "the twatter twitter tweeter," going on to tell us how dumb, spoiled, and narcissistic we were. We held our tongues as she wrestled her way out of her seat to make sure she would get off the plane before us. When I passed her as we were leaving the terminal (I had a bus to catch), she was still ranting about Facebook and Twitter. I'd heard people complain about social media before, writing all of it off as a frivolous tool for vanity, but I'd never seen someone completely lose their shit over it.

I'd recommend this book to Unpleasant Woman. But this book isn't all about Facebook and Twitter.

Simon Mainwaring has some great ideas for the future of capitalism and our global economy and how social media will play a role in making positive change (hint: it already is). We can all agree that some people use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets ONLY to complain about things like traffic and how much they hate their jobs. But these outlets, Mainwaring argues, are also powerful tools for organizing in the name of activism and promoting ideas for the greater good. I thought some parts were a little redundant and the branding of "We First" seemed kind of corny. Maybe that's because the concepts behind "We First" reflect the ideals I've held as a young consumer for years. But overall this book is informative, insightful and readable. Mainwaring does a good job of spelling out why we need to change our habits as consumers and corporations (with the aid of a number of interesting case studies about popular brands like Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Nike, and TOMS) and what we need to do to create that change (if you still have any hope for capitalism, which he admits is inherently flawed).

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