The Anatomy of Buzz by Emanuel Rosen, published by Harper Collins (ISBN 0002571048)
You're right. It is annoying. It is one of those words that you feel obliged to use on "dress-down Friday" when the ties are loosened and so is the language. "Buzz" has connotations of drugs or even worse… marketing – both dangerous to your health and professional credibility.
We English may have called the book "word of mouth", but whether Harper Collins would have gone for it is anyone's guess. They would, of course, have gone for it if everyone had been talking about it. If the commissioning editor at Harper Collins' husband came home to say that his boss had been talking about it. If the dinner party conversation in Notting Hill had been dominated by it… there was obviously something there.
What Rosen tries to do is pin down these interpersonal networks. He uses examples of word of mouth phenomena to look at how and why this energy develops.
Marketing, and particularly new media marketing, has been dominated by discussions of "viral marketing" ever since The Blair Witch Project. In some ways, viral marketing itself has developed a Buzz.
This is not a dry academic account though. Rosen includes practical advice, challenges and even a "workshop". Unsurprisingly, Rosen is determined that The Anatomy of Buzz will be the talked-about book on the phenomenon because it is the one that promoted talking.
What Rosen tries valiantly to do – and in places succeeds – is take the discussion of word of mouth back to the owners of the mouths: people and their networks and cultural practices rather than the technologies or mediums they use.