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The Dragonfly Effect is an insightful gem of a book which delves into the application of social media to drive changes in human behavior. Offered by married co-authors Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith, the short book could serve as a venerable template for how to teach to adults. Their concept, from the very beginning of the book, is rife with metaphor and practices what it preaches: in every chapter Aaker and Smith follow their own formula, and apply the very stratagems they are advising their audience to do, going so far as to direct people to their concept’s website upon the conclusion of the text. Despite one of the co-authors enjoying an (anonymous) advantage at the construction of mnemonics (compare the memorable half-life of the four mnemonic devices described below), as a pair they are able to formulate attention grabbing chapters which provide immediate suggestions as to implementation and stick with you after reading.

The premise of The Dragonfly Effect is that using social media to drive social change can be compared to a dragonfly's ability to fly. A standard dragonfly has four wings, and upper and lower on each side of its body. Without coordinating the rapid flapping of all four wings, basic flight control (power, pitch, yaw, and roll) is impossible. Inciting social change via social media also has four wings which must be closely coordinated in order to achieve success. The four wings of social media are presented by the authors as "Focus + Get".

Focus your message down to one defining message for each audience
Grab attention! Once you have something to say, make sure the lead is eye-catching
Engage your audience with an achievable goal
Take action! Spell out how your audience can help your group attain that goal.

As the reader, I appreciate the effort made to distill the 21 unique points the co-authors attempt to make into five, easy to digest, mnemonics. Moving from the “Focus + GET” mnemonic of the dragonfly metaphor itself into the more tactical mnemonics of Hatch/Puvv/Team/Efto (describing each of the four wings for Focus, Grab Attention, Engage, and Take Action, respectively) the co-authors clearly know how to grab the attention of an adult learner audience. I think the different method of teaching used, the mnemonics, sharing story-like examples, and the short figure break outs, all contributed to the stickiness of the material covered. The wing mnemonics are listed below, but are no substitute for the touching success stories illustrating the methods found within the book.


Grab Attention
Get Personal
Deliver the Unexpected
Visualize Your Message
Make a Visceral Connection

Tell a Story
Be Authentic
Match the Medium

Take Action
Make it Easy
Make it Fun
Tailor to Each Audience
Be Open to Suggestions from the Audience!

The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways to use Social Media to Drive Social Change

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