Highly recommend if you're exploring the value of social media for your cause.

While cooped upside waiting for Hurricane Irene to pass, I finished reading The Dragonfly Effect, a book that compiles the best case studies and strategies to prove what I already strongly believe: social media can drive social change. This will be the theme of a workshop I lead for the Young Women’s Program at three conferences I’m speaking at this Fall: the Texas Conference for Women, Massachusetts Conference for Women, and the Pennsylvania Conference for Women. So thanks to authors Jennifer Aaker & Andy Smith for the great ammo!

I was lucky to run into @AlexandraKirsch, a social media manager at @ruderfinn, the book’s publisher, at an Internet Week New York event. She correctly assessed I’d be a Dragonfly disciple, and I sure am!

The husband-and-wife author duo use the dragonfly as a metaphor, since it’s the only insect able to move in any direction when its four wings are working in concert. Each wing of the dragonfly symbolizes one of their criteria for making a social impact using social media: Focus + Grab Attention + Engage + Take Action. The final takeaway is that “small actions” — a Tweet, Facebook post, email messages — can “create big change” when part of a cohesive moment.

Like any effective book, the real value is in the case studies, and this one is full of them…if there is ever a second edition, my dream is that She’s the First can be one of them! But in this one, you’ll see references to charity : water, TOMS, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, the Obama presidential campaign, and lesser known efforts like Take a Bite Out of IHOP’s Animal Cruelty and http://helpsameer.org.

My favorite page is this one — a great reminder to She’s the First that while statistics might numb people, stories can activate them if told this way:

Read any great books during the Hurricane watch on the East Coast? Tell us about it!