Social Networks and Q&A’s

Towards the end of last year I realized that I was reading less than what I was, the year before that and a lot less than what I should have been. I’ve always been very selective about the books I pick to read, mostly because of the time constraints. So for me, finding new books worth reading is quite a serious exercise and this time instead of asking friends personally I thought of asking my online friends across various social networks to “recommend me book(s) to read and tell me why should I read it(them)” and I got some interesting replies.

Which books I choose to buy and read is a separate issue but what’s important is the scope of using various networks to know/learn/ask something. This is the best part of community where you can seek people’s opinions and advice on just about anything. Be it the book you want to read or where do you want to go out for vacations. LinkedIn has come out as a real surprise not only in the terms of number of replies that I got but who replied to my question. Out of the 11 guys that replied on LinkedIn I don’t know even a single one of the them. Does it mean people in my LinkedIn network are not active ? or does it mean that there are more people who pro-actively look for questions and answer them ?

Size of one’s network, how closely/tightly knit is one’s network, how discoverable are such questions to people, how are social actions shared across networks, how well does the platform support conversations are some of the factors that determine how good a social platform can be for asking questions/seeking advice. While some people use Q&A features or similar features on various sites effectively there are some exceptions. For ex: people asking personal questions on LinkedIn or instead of asking a question, wishing people festivals. Needless to say doing such things will not only irritate other users but it will also be bad for your reputation in that community/site. So please use these features and don’t abuse them.

Which one is your favorite platform for asking questions online and why ?

Here are the replies I got

1) Twitter(2):

@zishaanhayath recommended “City of Djinns” and “Midnight’s Children”
@jasdeep recommended “Sea of Poppies”

2) Facebook(4):

Ekta replied “Hmmm for word play and yummy words…read ‘Ground beneath her feet’ by Salman Rushdie. For the sheer thrill, pick up any ‘Star wars’ Yuzhuan Vong series. If you like Indian authors, ‘You are here’ is a must read by Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan its the latest one I’ve read and I think for catharsis, its awesome.”

Saumya said “The Bell Jar by Silvia Plath. It’s brilliant, fascinating, and revealing in many ways”

Vipin recommended “Shantaram”

Manan said “Siddhartha by Herman Hesse is about a man’s spiritual journey. The Google Story is also interesting chronicles the inception and rise of Google.”

3) Kwippy(6):

enigmatic recommended “CELESTINE PROPHECY”

theinfamousgdub said “East of Eden by John Steinbeck. This is the greatest book I’ve ever read. The nature of human agency is examined in an intensly thought-provoking way. It makes ya’ want t be a better person”

“Good Omens/Bad Omens – neil gaiman + terry prachett and a Paulo Coelho. I was pleasantly surprised.=)”¬† – samantha

moosterz replied “The Pendragon series, if you like fantasy-time-traveling-battle action. xD and a book called More Information Than You Require by John Hodgman, the PC out of the switch ads. It’s an amazing book if you love to laugh” and

“Call of The Wild by Jack London”¬† was recommended by markdavidson

nikitascene replied ” “The Things We Talk About When We Talk About Love” by Raymond Carver. He’s a master of the short story and a quintessential read if you’re interested in American fiction authors. “Letters to a Young Poet” by Ranier Maria Rilke since you seem to have a poetic soul. “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez for his mastery of magical realism and his ability to capture centuries in a moment and moments in a century.”

Here’s the link to that conversation http://www.kwippy.com/mayank/kwips/2008/dec/20/172959

4) LinkedIn(11):

Nikhil Wad recommended “Shantaram”

Edward Carrick
recommended “The Energy Non-Crisis, by Lindsey Williams”

Martin Thomas
recommended¬† “Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books

Josh Chernin
recommended “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds”, by Charles Mackay”

“Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat” said Sanjay Jha

Arvind P
replied “I strongly recommend Personality not included by Rohit Bhargava.Just check out the tag line and you will know why you should read it. It has many real life examples with tools to help you out. You may also try “A comedy of errors” a book on project management by Prasanna Kumar. A must read because you are a heading a startup”

Angela Connor
said “Small is the new big, by Seth Godin.I am reading it now. You should read it because it makes you think. You will walk away with a million new ideas and this is a great time for that heading into a new year. I find it empowering and quite insightful.”

“English version of the Tamil book “Thirukural” ” was recommended by Virupakshan K

“The five book trilogy Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Sheer British lunacy at its best. Answers the questions about the End of The Universe and Life, The Universe And Everything. (The answer is 42, but the question is not what you might expect…) Also introduces you to Wonko the Sane and Slartybartfast. And Zaphod Beetlebrox. And Ford Prefect. (Mos Def is not the perfect Ford Prefect, by the way…) Fun to read, impossible to comprehend and you will never leave home without a towel” came from
Bill Wright

Sumana Harihareswara repliedUrsula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed and Left Hand of Darkness. I taught the latter in a sci-fi politics class. Classic feminist/political what-if sci-fi about understanding the Other and power structures. A Midwife’s Tale by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. Ulrich explains the cryptic diary of a colonial New England farmhouse wife and midwife. Combines the most gripping bits of “Little House” with historical analysis. The Bug by Ellen Ullman is the greatest novel about QA that I’ve ever heard of. It’s excellent, suspenseful, evocative, emotionally accurate, and technically plausible. Salon has an excerpt you can read online: link below. And The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon is a mystery, a sympathetic portrayal of an autistic teen from his point of view, and an adventure story all in one

Link of the conversation: http://tr.im/7g65

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