Groundswell Book Review

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I have finished reading a couple books the past few days one of them being Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff. In this book they explore the online world of wikis, blogs, social networking, etc.
A groundswell is simply, “a social trend in which people use technologies to get things from each other rather than corporations.” The idea isn’t a new one and I have read several books on the topic before but this book provides a great overview of the social networking and web 2.0 phenomenon.

What does social networking do and how does it effect our business is the question? The authors of Groundswell answer, “Social networking sites displace, undermine, or boost brand awareness.” It’s very simple by having a firm understanding of how this new technological world works you can effectively utilize it to your advantage rather than sitting back and letting others dictate how you or your business will be perceived by the world at large.

A groundswell technology is one that allows communities to connect and sustain itself while also shifting power to everyday people. It is in this type of environment that new relationships and ideas are allowed to flourish. Li and Bernoff state that there are six different social technologies profiles consisting of creators, critics, collectors, joiners, spectators, and inactives. Each type plays its role in the advancement of these communities and technologies.

How businesses use this for growth and adaptability is taught to us in five objectives: listening, talking, energizing, supporting, and embracing. The authors go into sufficient detail about each and give real life examples of how companies pursued each objective.

Groundswell is a quick read that is a very good primer or refresher for social networks and technologies. At under 200 pages there are few better options on the subject than this book.


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