Shel Israel is writing a history of the pioneers of social media. That's great; I don't think there's a better person to write such a book in the community. Shel is a journalist, and he excels at story writing. I think his first chapter in Twitterville on the history of Twitter was the best overview of the Twitter story I've read so far. And his description in collaboration with Robert Scoble on the history of blogging at Microsoft in Naked Conversations was one of my favorite sections of the book.
We really do need a history written about the beginnings of the industry. I'm especially excited Shel's writing this because I know Shel will look beyond business, while I've always focused on the history of corporate social media, or business blogging, ever since I started blogging in 2003. We also need people to write about the early beginnings of social media beyond business.
I will recommend to Shel he give a call out to finding good stories from people in the professions of PR, SEO, law, and HR. Those four professions really embraced social media early one, unlike my own profession, marketing where most marketers were late to the industry, except maybe for digital marketers or for that matter product marketers.
For PR he could do no better than look at the Global PR Blog Week of 2004 and 2005, and all of the participants there. Many of the communications professionals are still active and have grown their reputations.
As for SEO, who better to start with than Rebecca Lieb, who in her role at ClickZ as editor-in-chief saw the rise of email marketing, digital marketing, and helped with the rise of searchenginewatch.com. Rebecca helped run one of the first blogging conferences in 2003. Even if Shel doesn't feature Rebecca he would do well to ask Rebecca's advice on who were the pioneers in social media for SEO.
If HR, it has to be Heather Hamilton from Microsoft, someone I think Shel has already written about in his book, Naked Conversations. And someone I featured in my first corporate blogging survey in 2004.
For the law it has to be Kevin O'Keefe from Lexblog.