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Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies Hardcover – April 21, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


...for Groundswell's intended audience - managers struggling to answer questions such as "should my soap company have a presence on Facebook?" or "why isn't anyone reading our company blog?" - the emphasis on data and analytics is not a bug - it's a feature --The Financial Times, May 21, 2008

Their response, an introduction to the current state of online social networking and what to do about it, is entertaining, well- written and mercifully free from techy details. --The Financial Times, June 4, 2008

The Forrester analysts have prepared one of the most comprehensive and useful primers on the sudden surge in social media. --Advertising Age, July 3, 2008

About the Author

Charlene Li is a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research. She is one of the driving forces behind Forrester s Social Computing and Web 2.0 research. Josh Bernoff is a vice president at Forrester Research and one of their most senior and most frequently quoted research analysts. He created the Technographics segmentation, a classification of consumers according to how they approach technology.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business School Press; 1 edition (April 21, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422125009
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422125007
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #153,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

It's well written and easy to understand.
C. Norton
Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff have provided an incredible resource with their book Groundswell.
Teresa Carvalho
I love all of the examples and real life case studies.
J. Petersen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

101 of 105 people found the following review helpful By David Berkowitz on April 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Groundswell is the best book on social media I've ever read, and it may be the best book ever written on the subject.

Here's why:

1. It's current. Books on social media by nature almost can't be current. Everything is blogged or twittered one day, forgotten the next. Yet this book has some staying power, and you can give it to your boss or your client feeling reassured that even if they don't get around to reading it for six months, it'll still be valuable when they do.

2. Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff write the book like authors, not analysts, even though there's plenty of number-crunching with meaty take-aways. The human stories that illustrate each point provide protagonists you can identify with.

3. If you're new to social media, you'll appreciate a lot of the how-to material. If you're a pro, you'll appreciate how to do it even better and some of the more advanced material in the book.

4. The technographics, discussed frequently on the Groundswell blog and in the analysts' presentations, are useful. I've already used these for planning client campaigns to at least check if I'm on the right track or inspire some new thinking. If you read the book, the technographics tool on the Groundswell site becomes even more intuitive, although the site has enough info to get value out of it. It's amazing how much Forrester's giving away.

5. You get breakdowns of return on investment metrics of an executive's corporate blog, ratings and reviews, and a community support forum, figures which are hard to find elsewhere and can provide good benchmarks for related scenarios you may encounter.

6. The book offers thoughtful answers to some of the more important questions. How can you tell if a new technology has staying power?
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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Phillips VINE VOICE on May 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
It seems only natural to blog (see my blog at about a book like Groundswell, a book recently published by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff from Forrester Research. After all, the book is about the growing importance of social networking applications - blogs being a big part of that phenomenon.

Li and Bernoff define the Groundswell as a spontaneous movement of people using online tools to connect, take charge of their own experience and get what they need - from each other instead of from companies. The book looks at the nascent and growing power of informal communication networks using social networking tools - blogs especially, but also social networks and virtual worlds, wikis, online forums, ratings and reviews, tagging and rss feeds. If you've been online lately, you've used one or more of these tools and techniques. What Li and Bernoff are interested in is how these tools and techniques create a completely new dialog between:

* A company and its customers
* The employees within a company
* Customer to customer beyond the scope or control of a company
* Individuals with shared interests

All of this done on the fly, with little centralized control.

The book breaks out into a number of sections. Early in the book, the authors review why the groundswell is taking off and how to participate, and they identify the "tools" - blogs, wikis and so on - that drive the groundswell. Then they introduce the Social Technographic profile, which is meant to provide profiling on how a segment of the population is participating in the groundswell using these tools.
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Maniac on June 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read the original exceptional Groundswell book, and bought this book thinking that it might offer some additional insights on marketing strategies through social media.

Shame on me - I did not read the description very well for this book. It is simply an abridged version of the original book, with three of the chapters reprinted. There is nothing new other than a very brief introduction by one of the authors. I'm at a loss as to why this book was published at all.

I am giving the content of this book 5 stars because it deserves it. However, don't waste your money on this. Buy the full original book instead. You will get much, much more out of it.

You can find the original book here: Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies
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Format: Hardcover
What Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff characterize as "the groundswell" is "a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other instead of from companies. If you're in a company, this is a challenge...[This trend] has created s permanent, long-lasting shift in the way the world works. This book exists to help companies deal with the trend, [begin italics] regardless of how the individual technology pieces change [end italics]."More specifically, Li and Bernoff respond to questions such as these:

What unique threats does the groundswell pose?
How to turn it to competitive advantage, "like a jujitsu master"?
What are its component technologies?
What is The Social Technologies Profile and what does it offer?
What is the four-step POST process for creating strategies?
What are the five primary objectives for a groundswell strategy?
How to create customers who are evangelists for you?
How to establish and support relationships between and among your customers?
How can the same trends that empower customers also empower employees?

Throughout their narrative, drawing upon a wealth of data accumulated by Forrester Research as well as their own studies, Li and Bernoff include a number of real-world examples - in the form of mini-case studies -- that demonstrate key points.
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