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Alfred Hermida: clear eyed about contemporary culture but blind to his own contradictions.

Alfred Hermida's Tell Everyone: Why We Share and Why it Matters, a manifesto on the power of social media and the ways in which it can be harnessed, won the 2015 National Business Book Award on Thursday.

"This book is not just for people immersed in social media," said Hermida upon accepting the $20,000 prize, which was awarded during a luncheon in downtown Toronto. "Because even if you're not immersed in it, it's still affecting you.

"This is a machine that tries to control us, that tries to get us to do certain things," he continued. "We need to understand how this machine works. My aim in the book is to really try to help us get there. To help us understand how we can benefit and get the most out of social media, be aware of the pitfalls … and really maximize it so we can make the most of it both in our personal lives and also in our professional lives."

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Hermida, who became a Canadian citizen last August, is an associate professor at the graduate school of journalism at the University of British Columbia. He spent 16 years working for the BBC, and has contributed to publications ranging from The Globe and Mail to The Times of London.

The other finalists were Clive Veroni for Spin: How Politics Has the Power to Turn Marketing on its Head, and Jacques Poitras for Irving vs. Irving: Canada's Feuding Billionaires and the Stories They Won't Tell.

This year's jury, which was chaired by CBC news chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge, included businessman David Denison, Senator Pamela Wallin, William A. Dimma of Home Capital Group Inc., former journalist Deirdre McMurdy, and author and publisher Anna Porter.

This year marked the 30th anniversary of the prize; former winners include Ian Brown, Naomi Klein and Jeff Rubin. Last year's prize went to The Third Rail: Confronting Our Pension Failures, by Jim Leech and Globe and Mail reporter Jacquie McNish.

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