Three People You Must Read

When I attend conferences and events, read blog posts, and watch others’ pontifications, I always pay attention to who they are quoting/citing. Having done this in the social media marketing space for several years, I’ve noticed that there are three people from whom many of the ideas you read flow: Valeria Maltoni, Jeremiah Owyang or David Meerman Scott.

These three have had a huge impact on me, and I’ve noticed that I’m not alone. There are many people – too many to name – that are dubbed thought leaders in the social media space. But when you really look at what these leaders are saying, it can very often be traced back to a book, blog post, or report from Maltoni, Owyang and Scott.

Valeria Maltoni

At once both approachable and brilliant, Valeria is one of the most prolific thinkers and bloggers in social media. The fact that English is her second language makes this even more awe-inspiring.

An in-demand speaker, Valeria’s Conversation Agent blog and free guides regularly offer the kind of in-depth critique not available elsewhere. To see an example of an uncommon take, check out one of her many posts on influence – they go far beyond the same ol’, same ol’.

Jeremiah Owyang

Back in 2006, Jeremiah wrote an introductory post about Facebook and its implications for business. He encouraged everyone to join him there, and noted that he would friend anyone who asked. As a result, Jeremiah Owyang was my first friend on Facebook, and he introduced many of us to the wild (and especially wooly, in those days) world of social networking.

Today, Jeremiah is at Altimeter Group and he writes posts and reports that are truly groundbreaking. I don’t believe I’ve been to a single event this year where someone didn’t cite his social media strategist piece.

David M. Scott

The day I read David M. Scott’s The New Rules of Marketing and PR (and yes, I was so enthralled I devoured it in a day), my life changed forever. Written in 2007, I realized he was right – that two-way communication via social networks would change PR and marketing in dramatic ways. Though I was a bit frightened by the brave new world that lay ahead, Scott’s encouraging style made me realize I needed to spend my nights and weekends diving in and learning as much as I could, so I could be prepared for the sea change. If you haven’t had a chance to read that book yet, I highly recommend it.

Today, David continues to break new ground with each new book he publishes. His recent Real Time Marketing and PR outlines how to capitalize on events by reacting quickly. Think about it: haven’t you seen quite a few other books and widely cited blog posts in recent months that talk about the real-time imperative?


It’s a secret that many aren’t sharing – truly innovative and creative approaches are few and far between. I highly recommend keeping close tabs on what these pros are saying, doing, and researching in the online space. Doing so will make you more knowledgeable and better able to spot trends in an industry that is ever-changing – an advantage for any PR professional.

Who have you noticed is a true thought leader today? What are some of the blogs and thinkers that have inspired you?

Image credit: » Zitona «