Friends with Benefits: Darren Barefoot vs Books on the Radio

Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo wrote Friends with Benefits.

Click here to listen to Darren & Sean talk social media strategy and metrics.

On an overcast day in early April I sat down with one of Vancouver’s true social media/web marketing leaders, Darren Barefoot.  His co-conspirator, wife and figure skating enthusiast Julie Szabo unfortunately couldn’t make it for our meeting.

FWB: the Book.

We sat at Habit Restaurant – which is why you can hear the beautiful ambient sounds of an industrial glass washer in the background – and talked about how to design social media campaigns, how to interpret web analytics and even the inexact calculus for creating a successful web meme.

All of this because not long ago I attended the real-life book launch for Darren and Julie’s book, Friends with Benefits: A Social Media Marketing Handbook.

At a busy gallery in Kitsilano, Darren and Julie gathered together friends, colleagues and clients to share the moment as they showcased their new independently published work.

Published using a small San Francisco-based indie called no starch press, their own ingenuity, talents and passion, and editorial/design assists Darren and Julie put together a really impressive book.

Friends with Benefits separates itself from the ridiculous glut of books attempting to capitalize on the social media surge in a few crucial ways:

1) They understand the technologies and how they fit together.

2) Their language is as clear as it is thorough.

3) They’ve been there.  Made the mistakes, had the successes, openly admit to both.

4) They’re funny, they can relate.

5) They showed that high quality books full of great ideas that are actually useful to people can be published independently and reach a wide audience (FTW!).

So, yes, I’m a fan.

And recognize that I have received about 15 different books on social media in the past 6 months – from the very good, like Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation to books that are less good, like Twitter Power 2.0 by Joel Comm.

I like what they’ve done and I like how they’ve done it.

I put a lot of their ideas and processes to the test in my own work with Books on the Radio and other projects.  And it works for me.

Our 45 minute conversation recorded in my patented straight off the table style so it’s like you’re sitting at the table with us.

Thanks to Darren for taking the time to talk with me.  I hope that you like the results.

If you’re interested in more of Darren & Julie’s ideas please visit their site: Capulet Communications.

Also, at the end of the conversation we discuss something called Northern Voice.  It’s a two-day, non-profit personal blogging and social media conference held at the UBC main campus, Vancouver, Canada on May 7-8, 2010. This year is the 6th annual incarnation of this event.  I will be there and so will a lot of other fun, creative people.

If there’s still tickets available, I recommend that you buy a few now and be there in May.  It’s going to be great.

Sean Cranbury is the Executive Editor of Books on the Radio. He's also Founder and Creative Director of the Real Vancouver Writers' Series. Sean is General Manager at the legendary Storm Crow Tavern and consults with literary arts organizations on digital communications strategies.

1 Comment

  • Reply April 22, 2010


    Thanks for the interview, and the great write-up! Appreciate it.

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