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Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies
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Corporate executives are struggling with a new trend: people using online social technologies (blogs, social networking sites, YouTube, podcasts) to discuss products and companies, write their own news, and find their own deals. This groundswell is global, it s unstoppable, it affects every industry and it s utterly foreign to the powerful companies running things now.

When consumers you ve never met are rating your company s products in public forums with which you have no experience or influence, your company is vulnerable. In Groundswell, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff of Forrester, Inc. explain how to turn this threat into an opportunity.

Using tools and data straight from Forrester, you ll learn how to:

-Evaluate new social technologies as they emerge

-Determine how different groups of consumers are participating in social technology arenas

-Apply a four-step process for formulating your future strategy

-Build social technologies into your business including monitoring your brand value, talking with the groundswell through marketing and PR campaigns, and energizing your best customers to recruit their peers

Timely and insightful, this book is required reading for executives seeking to protect and strengthen their company s public image.

"Groundswell is jammed with big ideas, useful stories, and quotable stats. This is the new industrial revolution. Are you on board?"

-Seth Godin, author, Meatball Sundae

"This book will rock your world, if social technology hasn't rocked it already. It's a tsunami of unstoppable force. Amazon, Procter & Gamble, Facebook, Google, and Dell are profiting from the crest of the wave. Are you? Li and Bernoff are the apostles of the tsunami. This book will be your bible."

-Scott Cook, Founder and Chairman of the Executive Committee, Intuit

Groundswell provides practical advice on how to stay nimble and flexible in an ever-morphing digital world. Enabling your company to respond to change quickly especially when talking to and supporting your consumers is essential for business success.

-Cathie Black, President, Hearst Magazines

"The first phase of the Internet was about getting everyone connected. In this next phase, which changes the way we work, live, play, and learn, we re starting to realize the value of those connections as well as the new communications and experiences those interactions lead to the human network. Groundswell effectively documents this shift and underscores the opportunities available to all from this major market transition."

-John T. Chambers, Chairman and CEO, Cisco

"Heed the Groundswell! It's critical reading and helped us master the new dynamics of social media."

-Christina Norman, President, MTV

"Groundswell is a comprehensive look at the tidal wave of change engulfing marketers. Nobody should attempt to engage the newly empowered and emboldened consumer without first hearing what Li and Bernoff have to say on the subject."

-Clark Kokich, CEO, Avenue A | Razorfish

"Social technologies and the groundswell impact every business and organization worldwide. Li and Bernoff have written an insightful book that takes a refreshing research-driven approach to helping businesses transform themselves and successfully navigate this new dynamic landscape."

-Steve Rubel, Senior Vice President, Edelman Digital, and columnist for Advertising Age

Customer Reviews:

  • Picking up the dance steps
    I am going from developing a few web sites to finding out what web sites can do for my business. This is the book for learning the steps so the questions I ask are clearer. Easy to digest...good amount of repetition...I even loaned it to my wife....more info
  • A Social Media Classic
    I originally bought this book based on a You Tube video of the author, Charlene Li, making a presentation under the "Authors @Google" program. I guess the Groundswell sold one more copy of her book...

    In many ways, this book reminded me of Jim Collin's "Good to Great" book. "Groundswell" is very quantitative in nature. There are a TON of in-depth case studies - the book even contains a case index in addition to a subject index.

    The book is well structured. It is broken into three main parts and has a logical idea flow of listening, talking, energizing, supporting, and embracing the groundswell. While I liked the structure, it took more time to read than most books due to its academic nature.

    Overall, the authors take a practical, high-level approach to social media. They focus on the people, objectives, and strategy BEFORE they focus on any given technology.

    This should definitely be a cornerstone text in any library on Social Media! ...more info
  • Social Media for businesses - Where to start?
    A very practical piece. Lots of of good advice. For companies / persons, who want to build their first "social media strategy", I suggest to just follow the recommendations in this book. Why re-invent the wheel?...more info
  • Groundswell
    Interesting book, I am not yet finished, but well worth the time time to read....more info
  • A timely and thorough introduction to social media
    Groundswell is a great book providing a thorough and up to date discussion of how to use social media, and more, to connect with and energize your customers. The book approaches the discussion from the reader's objectives - listening to customers, talking to them, energizing them, empowering them - rather than from technologies or approaches. It has plenty of discussion of how to use technology like blogs, wikis, social networks, bulletin boards and more but always in the context of what you are trying to achieve. I particularly liked the way it brought in approaches not based on new technology and integrated them with the story.

    The book is well written and readable - a real book not a long analyst report (despite the authors being Forrester analysts). It should also remain current for a while as it is focused on problems (and how to solve them) and opportunities (and how to exploit them) rather than on the nitty gritty of a particular technology. It's examples are truly illustrative and the authors do a nice job helping the reader place themselves in the context of the opportunity to see what will work in their organization rather than providing a one-size-fits all mandate.

    If you are in marketing and have been wondering how all this social "stuff" is going to affect you and what you can do about it, this book will help. A lot....more info
  • Great Resource
    Groundswell is a useful book for companies that want to penetrate the market in a digital age. The primary thesis is: you can't stop the groundswell, but you can understand it, live with it, and thrive in it. This book tells you exactly how to do it.
    In Part 1, the authors describe the groundswell. They tell their readers why the groundswell is happening, what kind of technologies are involved, and then explain how people participate in it.
    In Part 2, the authors provide businesses with strategies for participating in and benefiting from the groundswell. Each chapter in this section covers a different element of their strategies: listening to, talking with, energizing, helping, and embracing the groundswell. Each chapter includes case studies of real-life situations where companies have utilized the social technologies described in the first part, tapping into the groundswell.
    In Part 3, the authors explain the benefits that can result from the utilization of the groundswell. The last chapter focuses on the future of the groundswell.

    This book is an excellent resource for companies that have not yet tapped into the social technologies that make up the groundswell. It examines the use of blogs, member-driven news sites, social networks like Myspace and Facebook, user-generated content sites like YouTube, tools that share internet bookmarks, and content resource sites like Wikipedia. The authors examine each of these technologies using case studies involving real companies and real situations where businesses have benefited from utilizing the groundswell.
    What makes this book even more important for its audience is the relevance of the technologies explored. Not only are the case studies great examples of how the groundswell can benefit companies that tap into it, but the technologies are still relevant to readers today. Granted the book was written in 2008, but that is generations in terms of technology.

    I recommend this book to anyone/any business with an interest in improving and updating marketing techniques and communication with customers/consumers.
    ...more info
  • Authoritative and Authentic
    First, let me tell you my biases. I DON'T like books that refer to "online influencers" and tell you how to manipulate them to spread your message. I also don't like books where the author writes condescendingly that every business needs to get onboard because - oh my gosh! - customer are online and talking about you and the world has changed. This is absolutely not true for most products in 2009; it's more true for technology products and for consumer products that get people excited (like books, music, movies).

    On both these counts, Groundswell is impressive. First, it refers to the most active posters as "Creators". I love this. It treats people with dignity and respect and not as tools for the marketer to use.

    It's also surprisingly restrained in how it talks about this shift of consumer power, which is definitely happening but not in the numbers most alarmist authors would have you believe.

    Best of all, it gets through all the anecdotal evidence that the shift is happening (we know, that's why we bought the book!) and gets into the practical steps businesses can take to understand who is online and how to engage with them. The Technographics framework for segmenting your customers is a little under-developed, but the thinking behind it is sound enough that I could develop my own modified approach to understanding my client's customers (basically - Creators, Responders, Spectators).

    Altogether, the best book I've read on social networking with one point taken off for using a Seth Godin testimonial on the back. Does any intelligent business leader care what Seth Godin thinks?...more info
  • Awesome overview of Social networking strategies for business
    With all the talk about myspace, facebook, and social networking it can be very confusing to try and figure out, how does a business market themselves in this new arena? Do we create a blog, start a myspace page, post videos on youtube? all the above? Charlene does a really good job using realworld case studies and experiences to show how a novice with social networking can potentially benefit from it's uses. By looking at your objectives, the habits of social networkers, and the tools availble this book makes it much easier to make intelligent decisions on paths your business may want to take. Easy to read, I'd highly recommend it. ...more info
  • groundswell
    I think reading Groundswell helped me be a better CEO. I am looking into getting started now.
    ...more info
  • Ride the Technology Wave to Greater Success
    Social networking is here to stay and growing at an amazing pace. Groundswell provides case studies and data from several different industries to highlight the groundswell of new technology that is bursting into and driving the business scene.

    Your customers and employees have ever increasing options to enter into public discussion. If you don't yet understand blogs, wikis, and various social network sties, this book explains how these technologies work. Most valuably, it shows how companies can manage the technology to improve customer service, strengthen employee communication and make themselves more successful.

    The wave of technology will continue to swell and you don't want to get wiped out by it. This book is a valuable read in learning to master that wave and ride it to success.

    Mollie Marti, PhD
    Author of The 12 Factors of Business Success...more info
  • A terrific aid for those in my generation
    As an executive in my mid-50's, I was aware of many of the new "social technologies", and even had my own FaceBook page. But what I did not understand until I read this book is how these same technologies are totally changing the game with respect to customer interaction and the control of information about businesses. I have since made Groundswell required reading for my senior managers, and it changed many of the ways we are now doing business....more info
  • CIO's must read
    Groundswell is a must read for any current day CIO looking to ensure that IT is a strategic asset and not just a service in the future....more info
  • The New Frontier in Internet Marketing - Must Read
    Groundswell offers a succinct guide to the new Marketing. After reading this book, with its case studies and detailed statistics, one will be convinced (if they weren't already) that social networking is the future of marketing, not the latest fad. One of the sections I found the most insightful was the breakdown, by roles, of the various social networkers. A valuable read for anyone involved in any aspect of marketing or follower of cultural trends....more info
  • Social Media for the Enterprise
    'Groundswell' can serve as both a great overview and an introduction to the social media trends. Being an early adopter myself, I can't say that this book has changed my view or understanding of the industry, but it is definitely a book I will recommend to any newcomer. Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff provide a number of great examples of how companies have leveraged the 'Groundswell' movement to their advantage, but are also clear that these strategies are not for everyone, and require a substantial amount of resources. Their discussion on the ROI of the social media is a great contribution, and a must read for any consultant.

    Perhaps not surprisingly (coming from Forrester researchers), the book offers the most to an enterprise reader who is interested in the social media trends, and needs a solid ground to evaluate both the feasibility and the strategy of their campaign....more info
  • A Social Media, Web 2.0 Must Have in a Crowded Web 2.0 Centric World
    The bottom line of this book: it's about listening to people talking about you (you = yourself or your company). Now a days we can think of ourselves, really, as our own brand!

    So, LISTEN.

    Now why? That's what the book explains in great detail. It has great detail and case studies to support its conclusions. They are excellent and break down into as real world as we, as Marketers, could as for. With graphs ("technographs") and everything. It's exposing the analysts' thinking on an entire different level!

    The terminology alone was worth it for me. This was a very slim part of the book. Hell, maybe one page? It was defining the terms used to describe the different people that are the pieces of the puzzle of the social media puzzle. I found it worth my while to get inside an analysts head. I struggle with trying to define these people every day. I seem to over-define areas like this. The book clearly defines these areas. I can now stop. Well put and well documented!


    1. The breakdowns of each client investigated, presented as a case study are worth it beyond words. If these were individual case studies on [...] -- they would be worth it to me to pay over $250.00 a pop. Great job!

    2. I love the focus on humanity and everything therein -- the human touch, so to speak. So many companies do not get this and do not benefit from this. You help bring them back from the corpse they have become with this book! ...hopefully.

    3. This brings me to the next point: Energize. -- Vitality. Hopefully this will bring vitality to the community, audience and everything reading (customers, community, analysts, and anyone involved). Make it a must-read for anyone...

    4. "Jujitsu Master" and the entire concept behind this ancient art form -- excellent props to you both to the entire concept behind the title and conception behind this title and scheme. It is hitting the hammer head on the nail.



    What technologies exist that are not above $50,000.00 a pop that would enable businesses to monitor their online reputation besides Nielsen BuzzMetrics or Cymfony? I thought you should mention OTHER online reputation monitoring tools that are not so "enterprise inclined." Such as Trackur, Techrigy, Sentitment Metrics or Levick. Just a mention of Smashing Magazine might of done the trick as a reference point of their article from 11/24/06?

    I may add, is that some of the examples are too "enterprise level." I would have liked to see more small business to mid-level business examples. Some of the examples are too focused on businesses that are publicly traded. NOW, with this being said, I can not discredit the integrity of the book based on this. This is why I gave it five stars (and I'll move on). We can each take these examples and synthesize them to work for ourselves; I understand how Forrester works more exclusive clients, so these might have been more expressed than others in the book.

    Also, you fail to mention: Where is the technology and social media as a whole going? Do you care to give a forecast? Is Twitter going to make it? Is microblogging going to just come and go? Is social bookmarking going to fail? What is the prevalent technology and why? How can which improve? These are questions I believe all would like answered...

    But, again -- overall, an excellent, much needed resource!...more info
  • Helpful
    It's a good review of buzz/content/wom. A little too "text booky", Jaffy's book is better....more info
  • This book rocks and is a must-read
    Have you seen Jurassic Park? If so, you might remember Dr. Malcolm's (Jeff Goldblum) diatribe about the dangers of doing something just because you can:

    "I'll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you're using here: it didn't require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn't earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don't take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could and before you even knew what you had you patented it and packaged it and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now you're selling it, you want to sell it!"

    How does this quote relate in any way to Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff's book Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies? Maybe it's just me, but I see a direct correlation.

    Groundswell is about social computing (I, a non-analyst, prefer the term social media) and how it's shaping not only the personal lives of many individuals around the globe, but also the way companies do business. It's not that social media is anything new; I've been an active participant on numerous online forums for over 10 years now. I've made money, formed close friendships, gotten jobs and learned countless things--all through different social media applications.

    Lately businesses have begun to tap into the groundswell--"a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other rather than from traditional institutions like corporations"--to enhance customer relations, build brand loyalty and, of course, make money. These days hardly a day goes by where some company or another isn't discussing their web 2.0 strategy and taking the plunge--in most cases, "because everyone else is doing it." Or the opposite--doing nothing for fear of opening up a giant can of worms that, once released, will run rampant and ruin the company's reputation or slash profits.

    The thing is, as the book aptly points out--doing it just because others are doing it or because it's possible isn't reason enough to incorporate web 2.0 applications into a business strategy. Just as bringing carnivorous dinosaurs back into existence just because it was possible without thinking about the consequences wasn't the brightest of ideas, jumping on the social media bandwagon just because everyone's doing it isn't reason enough to do it. Obviously the consequences of starting a blog, establishing a presence on Facebook or randomly beginning Tweeting are nowhere near those of setting loose a bunch of killer dinosaurs; however, the underlying concept is the same: maybe you should think about it before you do it.

    The beauty of Groundswell is that it lays out in explicit detail the RIGHT way to develop a social media strategy. Forget just randomly tossing around a few ideas in a conference room then rushing back to the computer to start blogging or start a Facebook page; Groundswell provides hard data about the ways people are using social media and shows you how to develop a strategy that taps into your specific customers' behaviors and needs. Bernoff and Li go a step further than telling stories about what other companies have done; they provide a tool businesses can use to assess their own customers' social media behaviors in order to develop a strategy that taps into those individuals' behaviors and needs.

    And of course, in addition to the facts and figures and case studies, Li and Bernoff give a very comprehensive overview of the groundswell technologies and how and why to use them.

    In short, Groundswell is by far the best and most comprehensive book I've read about social media and I honestly think it's a must-read for anyone with even a passing interest in web 2.0. Forget Good to Great or those other yawners that every company has employees read before the annual retreat/brainstorming session; Groundswell is much more interesting, informative and pivotal to the way companies will be doing business from here on out....more info
  • The Latest and Greatest on the Topic...
    I have to admit, I'm fascinated by the topic of how online communities, both business to business and business to consumer, will change the environment of how businesspeople and consumers interact, market, buy, sell etc. So I've read almost everything recent on the topic and, as those who write about this topic seem to the most seasoned and up to date business writers and/or educators out there, I have yet to be disappointed.

    Groundswell is the latest book I've tread, and I have to say it's one of, if not the best on the topic right now. Filled with current statistics on consumer demographic usage of social media, and clearly outlining the "how" in business participation in social media, Groundswell not only builds on the information and thoughts of prior publications, but adds insight never before revealed so clearly or thoroughly.

    The authors early in the book map traditional business functions (research, marketing, sales, support, development) into their "groundswell" alternatives (listening, talking, energizing, supporting, embracing) and map out both the fundamental strategic vision that needs to precede and accompany any corporate social media presence, and combine it with plenty of real life examples of good and bad methods of approach and participation.

    If as a business or an individual you are interested in this topic, definitely read this book. I agree with the authors, that "you cannot ignore this trend...The groundswell trend is unstoppable, and your customers are there. You may go a little slower or a little faster, but you have to move forward. There is no going back."

    [...]...more info
  • I highly recommend this book
    This is a very good book. It provides structure, process, anecdotes and histories for the rapidly changing practice of using social technologies for marketing. It's primarily written for consumer marketing, but some of the ideas can be used for B2B.

    The authors use the term "groundswell" to mean a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other instead of from companies. The technologies they refer to are the social technologies that I like to put into the category of web 2.0. Web 2.0 technologies enable many to many communication and conversation.

    The authors believe as I do that this groundswell effect, or by any other name, is real, here to stay for awhile and transformative or disruptive; that all attempts to thwart its spread will likely fail; and while all attempts to foster a groundswell will not succeed, not using the web 2.0 technologies for consumer marketing is a failing strategy.

    There are a lot of barriers to the diffusion of this type of marketing, not the least of which is letting go of the allusion of message control. The marketing arms of companies passionately attempt to control the brand message. These techniques turn that concept over and returns the "control" of the message over to customers.

    Why should you have to relearn all you know about marketing? The authors' research clearly supports the trend. My research on the social impact of the web 2.0 technologies is inline with the conclusions of this book. Furthermore they assert, as examples, that:

    "If you work for a media company, look out. Advertisers are shifting more and more of their money online. The groundswell is creating its own news sites (like Google News or Digg). The very idea of news is changing, as bloggers jostle with journalists for scoops. People take entertainment properties like TV shows and movies, rip them off the airwaves and DVDs, hack them, and repost new versions on YouTube or Dailymotion.

    If you have a brand, you're under threat. Your customers have always had an idea about what your brand signifies, an idea that may vary from the image you are projecting. Now they're talking to each other about that idea. They are redefining for themselves the brand you spent millions of dollars, or hundreds of millions of dollars, creating.

    If you are a retailer, your lock on distribution is over. People are not just buying online; they are buying from each other. They are comparing your prices with prices all over the Internet and telling each other where to get the best deal on sites like As Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail has pointed out, shelf space creates far less power when there's nearly infinite selection online.

    If you are a financial services company, you no longer dominate flows of capital. Trading happens online, and consumers get financial advice from message boards on Yahoo! Finance and the Motley Fool. Companies like Prosper allow consumers to get loans from each other, instead of from banks. PayPal makes credit cards unnecessary for many transactions.

    Business-to-business companies are, if anything, more vulnerable to these trends. Their customers have every reason to band together and rate the companies' services, to join groups like ITtoolbox to share insights with each other, or to help each other out on LinkedIn Answers.

    Even inside companies, your employees are connecting on social networks, building ideas with online collaboration tools, and discussing the pros and cons of your policies and priorities.

    The groundswell has changed the balance of power. Anybody can put up a site that connects people with people. If it's designed well, people will use it. They'll tell their friends to use it. They'll conduct commerce, or read the news, or start a popular movement, or make loans to each other, or whatever the site is designed to facilitate. And the store, or media outlet, or government, or bank that used to fill that role will find itself far less relevant. If you own that institution, the groundswell will eat up your profit margins, cut down your market share, and marginalize your sources of strength."

    Web 2.0 technologies are being created at an incredible pace. What technologies will be part of a groundswell effect. As the authors point out, it's not the technology but the relationships. The authors suggest the following questions when evaluating a new technology:

    * Does it enable people to connect with each other in a new way?
    * Is it effortless to sign up for?
    * Does it shift power from institutions to people?
    * Does the community generate enough content to sustain itself?
    * Is it an open platform that invites partnerships?

    The groundswell has two ingredients - technology and people. To understand what types of people would play what roles in the groundswell, the authors introduce the social technographics profile. It characterizes people by creators, critics, collectors, joiners, spectators and inactives. Once you know what the profile is for your customers, you can plan the appropriate social media approach.

    If you're not involved in any groundswell activities, you may wonder, "Why do people participate/" The authors give several reasons why:

    * Keeping up friendships
    * Making new friends
    * Paying it forward
    * The altruistic impulse
    * The prurient impulse
    * The creative impulse
    * The validation impulse
    * The affinity impulse

    Not only is it important that you know your customers' technographic profile, you have to have clear objectives before you start a program. The authors list five basic objectives for any groundswell program:

    1. Listening
    2. Talking
    3. Energizing
    4. Supporting
    5. Embracing

    The authors provide ample evidence and examples of how to employ web 2.0 marketing. And, as a result, I highly recommend this book.

    Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies
    Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff
    Harvard Business Press, 2008, 269p

    Paul Schumann...more info
  • great book!
    This book combines useful research, accessible language and current case studies to create a comprehensive resource (and how-to) for using social media in the corporate world. I've enjoyed it thoroughly and recommend it to anyone who has even the slightest interest in learning more about web 2.0. ...more info
  • Niet eerlijk
    Het is niet helemaal eerlijk dat ik dit boek positief beoordeel: ik ken Josh, ik heb workshops van hem bijgewoond en hoor zijn enthousiasme terug in dit boek. Het is eenvoudig te lezen en buitengewoon boeiend. ...more info
  • Learning from your audience, customers, and community
    In this very readable book Li and Bernoff draw from extensive research at Forrester to describe what they call the Groundswell: consumers using online tools to get more information from each other, and less from traditional institutions and businesses. They offer case studies showing how organizations have readjusted their thinking to take advantage of it.
    Although the groundswell trend includes social networks and related technologies, the authors say, equally important is the change in consumer behavior. Listening to (and becoming involved in) the groundswell should help your organization find out what your brand stands for; understand how buzz is shifting; save research money; increase research responsiveness; find the sources of influence in your market; manage PR crises; and generate new product and marketing ideas.
    Li and Bernoff caution that there is no single `right way' to engage with the groundswell. Depending on the objectives of your company, you'll choose among the following options: listening, talking, energizing, supporting, or embracing your audience.
    The authors define six kinds of online consumer behaviors. Learning which types best define your audience (or clients, or communities, or target groups) is the first step in any strategy you take to reach them. The Creators are those who publish a blog or article online, maintain a web page, or upload videos at least monthly. Critics post comments on blogs or forums, post ratings or reviews, or edit wikis. Collectors save URLs and tags on a social-bookmarking service, vote for sites on a service like Digg, or use RSS feed aggregators. Joiners maintain profiles on a social networking site like MySpace. Spectators consume what the rest produce. Inactives--nonparticipants--still remain.
    Nearly one in five of online consumers in the US--18 percent--are Creators. This means that a significant chunk of six of your target audience, customers, community, etc., are blogging, uploading video, and maintaining Web sites, and quite possibly discussing your company. One in four are Critics, and nearly half are Spectators.
    ...more info
  • This is a must read
    I've read quite a few books on social media and have yet to find one that is as good as Groundswell. It is a must read for business professionals because it lays out a framework that you can use to better leverage social media for your business and customers. It gives real world examples. Some of these case studies are dated because the companies have changed direction. But, there are rock solid cases where companies are staying the course. This book is grounded on reality not theory. That is what sets this book apart from others.

    Here's a report I'm doing on Groundswell which is intended to bring to life the examples cited in the book: info
  • Groundswell
    Groundswell is a very good book if you want to understand modern marketing and customer relationship management. In a world where online accounts for much of everyday life, the way in which companies have to interact with their customers changes. The use of social networks, viral videos, blogs and forums is important. This book really helps to understand, decide what is relevant for a certain situation, and act on this different world....more info
  • Grounded view of the Groundswell
    Charlene presents a very well-researched, clear, and grounded introduction to how the web is changing business and people's lives. If your business is considering experimenting with social networks, blogging, Twitter, etc, this is a perfect book to educate, inspire, and give you cover from skeptics on the inside....more info
  • groundswell -- A Great Resource For Role of Social Networking
    I like to read, but I'm not that fast at it. Combine that with the amount of reading I have to do to complete my Bachelor's Degree, the general responsibilities of being an entrepreneur, as well as keeping house, and it's a wonder I get the shampoo bottle read.

    groundswell was written by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff and published in 2008. It is a reasonably well written resource on the lightening fast changes in Internet technology and the social networking programs that have sprung up like crab-grass, often referred to as Web 2.0. The book explains the amazingly popular YouTube, what discussion groups are, and how corporations of all sizes can benefit through blogging. The authors show excellent examples of how the decision to use or discount these technologies have affected major companies such as Ernst & Young, L.L. Bean, and HP.

    The book is full of graphs and research information showing the number of people who participate in commerce online, and the varying levels of activities. They use the categories of Creators, Critics, Collectors, Joiners, Spectators, and Inactives. Each category is described and how each of those categories affects business is plainly explained. Examples are ample and the reader can truly comprehend how ignoring the groundswell in social technologies can lead to disaster.

    I did find that this book focused toward a larger sized corporation than what I have. Being an entrepreneur, self-employed, one-person company makes it a little more difficult to manage a presence in all these items. My company has a Web presence, LinkedIn, FaceBook, MySpace, Twitter, and other accounts. Keeping them all updated is a major undertaking. An undertaking that I struggle to maintain. However, understanding the importance of participating in these forums could make the difference in whether a company survives those first 2 years after start-up.

    This is a good book to help anyone understand the fast changing "Web 2.0" world in which we live. ...more info
  • A Great "How To" Book on Implementing Social Media Into Your Business
    Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff have provided an incredible resource with their book Groundswell. I am marketing professional and it is important for me to understand and keep-up with the fast pace of technology. What I love about this book is that it is actionable. You can walk away with practical tactics, tools, and ideas that you can put into place right away. Groundswell is also a great reference tool because it explains social media in a way that is easy for anyone to understand. It breaks down the various forms of social media from blogs, user-generated content sites, member-driven sites and social networks and explains how they work, how many people are using them, how they enable relationships, how they threaten institutional power, and how you can use them.
    The most important thing to realize is not every form of social media is right for every company, and Groundswell can help you figure out a strategy that matches your customers' social technographic profile. After all, understanding your customers and connecting with them in a relevant and meaningful way is key to any successful marketing strategy.
    All and all it is a great book! I highly recommend it to anyone in marketing, but also would recommend it to anyone involved in trying to grow their company and stay agile in our ever-changing digital world.
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