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Grouped: How small groups of friends are the key to influence on the social web (Voices That Matter) [Kindle Edition]

Paul Adams
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The web is undergoing a fundamental change. It is moving away from its current structure of documents and pages linked together, and towards a new structure that is built around people. This is a profound change that will affect how we create business strategy, design, marketing, and advertising. The reason for this shift is simple. For tens of thousands of years we’ve been social animals. The web, which is only 20 years old, is simply catching up with offline life.

From travel to news to commerce, smart businesses are reorienting their efforts around peoplearound the social behavior of their customers and potential customers. In order to be successful, businesses will need to understand how people are connected, how their social network influences them, how the people closest to them influence them the most, and how it’s more important for marketers to focus on small, connected groups of friends rather than looking for overly influential individuals.

This book pulls together the latest research from leading universities and technology companies to describe how people are connected, and how ideas and brand messages spread through social networks. It shows readers how to rebuild their business around social behavior, and create products that people tell their friends about.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Paul Adams is widely recognized as one of the leading thinkers on the social web. He is a researcher and designer, currently working as the Global Brand Experience Manager at Facebook. Prior to Facebook, Paul led Google’s social research team, where his work influenced the direction of Google+, and where he also worked on Gmail, YouTube, and Mobile. He has worked in the user experience field for the last 11 years, as a product designer with Dyson, a consultant for clients including Vodafone, the BBC, and the Guardian, and as a researcher in the fields of social behavior and technology across Europe, the U.S., and Asia.

For more information on Paul’s work, visit his site

Product Details

  • File Size: 2375 KB
  • Print Length: 151 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (November 22, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006GFZ1PW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #341,862 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Required knowledge for everyone, not just marketers December 18, 2011
Grouped is a well-written, concise, and relevant summary of the latest thinking in social networking and social influence. It's like the crib notes to a four-year degree in social psychology and sociology. Beautifully laid out and designed to be easily consumable, it quickly covers the fundamental ideas and research about how and why we connect with one another, how ideas spread, how we make decisions, and why this all means that "permission marketing" through social networks is likely to be more relevant and effective than current "interruption marketing" of mass media advertizing.

It does read at times like an advertisment for Facebook (indeed, a cynic might pigeonhole this entire book as a "white paper" for Facebook Ads), but I know Adams better than that (having had the pleasure of working with him at Google on the early stages of Google+), and my take is that Adams sees Facebook as out in front of an important shift in the way advertising will work in general (perhaps this is why he now works there), so Facebook merely provides the best (and in many cases only) example of putting his ideas to work in the real world.

Beyond the explicit goals of developing better marketing campaigns, Adams makes the case (and I firmly agree) that the content of this book is essentially required knowledge for all of us as we move into an increasingly interconnected world in which our social networks (real and digital) and our "predictably irrational" brain help us navigate the endless, swelling seas of information surrounding us. Despite working in this field for years, I learned some new things and found myself nodding in approval at much of the rest. So if you're new to these ideas--or even if you just want an efficient and enjoyable refresher course--this book is well worth your time.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The key to social media? Focus on behaviors! December 1, 2011
Paul Adams breaks down the complexities of social media by telling us to focus on behavior rather than technology. People behaving exactly as they have for centuries- social media is just an example of technology catching up. He has some really fascinating insights to back this up (ex. the brain can only store 150 relationships...directly proportionate to the average number of friends on Facebook). This book really lowers the barriers to understanding social media and its implications on marketing. Totally worth the 4-5 hours it takes to read this. I suspect this will soon be required reading for anyone in-house or agency-side in marketing today.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This fairly easy to read book discusses how and why social media is growing. The POV is that this is not a fad but an outcome of basic human instincts around socialization. There are well researched and well argued claims that organizing information and the web around people's social networks is the natural and inevitable consequence of how people have always behaved. It remains to be seen whether this is "inevitable" but the author presents persuasive arguments for why this makes sense.

There is good content about how the networks interact; what people like to share, why, and with whom. Some of this may be obvious but I liked the simple yet comprehensive list of insights. For example, the author underplays the value of "influencers" that Malcolm Gladwell touted in Tipping Point and argues that mostly people are influenced by those emotionally closest to them, often without even realizing it.

A concurrent story alongside discussing social networks is what it means for marketers. Several insights have been provided around how marketers can best work with social conversations to help grow their products. For example, seeding several groups with ideas versus targeting a few trendsetters, focusing on emotional arousal, gaining trust through WOM endorsement, preparing content that is "shareworthy", customizing data around people's social connections etc. Examples are Facebook specific (where the author works), yet can be abstracted. I have been to marketing conferences where people brainstormed about how social media affects/will impact marketing, and this book covers it all in a well structured manner.

Lastly, it is worth mentioning that this book is pretty easy to read. The articles are well researched but the author thankfully presented the content simply instead of using MBA/PhD language. You can read this sipping coffee on a plane and still absorb the content.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple at Times, but Excellent April 16, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book accomplished it's goal. It changed the way I think about influencers and social media. In some ways, much of this content is obvious. What's important is Paul backs up his data with references to a large variety of sources.

Overall, a great quick read for any social media professional (Especially those building social products).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars When it Comes to Exerting Influence, Ethics = Efficacy February 11, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
So this book is pretty useful. Pragmatic information, much of it common sense and some of it already in the cultural zeitgeist, but it's a great synthesis of some good research available on social connecting, persuasion, and how the mind works. It is a quick read (I listened to it on Audible and it only takes 3 1/2 hours) so it won't use up that much of your time. Adams summarizes succinctly, translates information that would normally be arduous to wade through, and offers you the resources to go look up more in-depth information on your own if you're interested. It's a really great model for how to be a third-space translator between the research and the people who need the research but have difficulty accessing it or lack the expertise to understand it.*

That said, I gave it a three because it falls short of drawing out some obvious implications that this same body of research points out:

1. The book could have done more to help businesses orient toward more innovative and effective marketing strategies that are also more socially ethical and that would help make our world a better place. Adams does include some of this information--he stresses positivity, openly sharing information, cutting down on the noise of advertising ("interruption marketing is a race to the bottom" amen), and not deleting negative Facebook comments from your page because they give you more credibility and because "we should seek to rectify and not hide negative feedback" (Applebee's should have taken note)--but if he would have included more of this kind of information by demonstrating how a more ethical approach to the world is also the more efficacious approach, this book would be much more important to read than I currently rank it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant, fascinating and accessible look at sociology,...
While the book is essentially focused on sociology as it applies to marketers (and particularly online marketing), there are lots of other applications outside business. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Chris Aram
5.0 out of 5 stars short, concise, and incredibly helpful
This book makes sense of social media and the way marketing must change. It creates a good base for beginning to brainstorm future possibilities.
Published 6 months ago by Nathan Ray
3.0 out of 5 stars a solid overview of a Facebook centric worldview
Not yet convinced that this is the sum total of human knowledge about 21st century marketing, but it raises some significant points about the intersection of social media with... Read more
Published 11 months ago by D. J. Robinson
4.0 out of 5 stars Understand the new way of marketing
Easy, entertaining reading. Very useful to anyone trying to understand the new social dynamics for curiosity, start up or marketing
Published 13 months ago by Ingrid
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have guide for those who want to lead (or engage with) their...
Very direct, delightful, to-the-point, well-sourced, and brief guide to social media. It incorporates a fair amount of research papers that I think reinforce your knowledge beyond... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Fahd Alhazmi
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading, but a note of caution
Grouped provides a very good overview of social groups and how they influence individual behaviours. It is worth reading for this alone. Read more
Published 16 months ago by pennyws
5.0 out of 5 stars Helps See Social Media in a New Light...
This book is very inspiring for anyone who loves marketing, technology and social psychology. In fact, the book makes you understand that all of marketing is the intersection of... Read more
Published on May 29, 2012 by Eric Scheel
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Great, book perfectly balancing the fine art of being academically rational and supportive while stile giving practical examples and take-aways. Read more
Published on May 11, 2012 by BeritBonde
5.0 out of 5 stars a great and concise book for marketing professionals and business...
We live in a world of exponentially increasing information which we can't consume anymore. Consequently, we gradually increase our reliance on our social networks to make... Read more
Published on May 7, 2012 by Dr. Yuval Lirov
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is about the future of Social Marketing
It's obvious that Paul has been thinking about the dynamics and implications of social networks harder and deeper than most of us as reflected by the insightful statements he makes... Read more
Published on April 28, 2012 by William Mougayar
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More About the Author

Paul currently works in the product team at Facebook. Prior to that he led social research at Google.

In Nov 2011, Fortune magazine described Paul as "one of Silicon Valley's most wanted." He is broadly recognized as one of the leading thinkers on the emerging social web, and his work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, AdWeek and many more leading publications. His work on describing the next evolution of social networks, "The Real Life Social Network" is one of the most viewed and downloaded presentations on the web.

At Facebook, Paul works on developing new products for advertisers and marketers. He works on research, design and product strategy. He often works directly with the worlds biggest marketers and ad agencies, helping them understand the foundational changes taking place in their industry.

At Google, Paul's work formed the foundation for Circles, the primary feature in Google+. He also worked on Gmail, YouTube and Mobile.

Prior to Google, Paul worked as a User Experience Consultant at Flow, leading research and design projects for clients including the BBC, The Guardian, Vodafone, UK Government and Betfair. Before Flow, he worked as an Industrial Designer, designing electronic appliances at Dyson, including Japan's best selling vacuum cleaner, and also worked designing car interiors at Faurecia.

Paul holds a Master of Science in Interactive Media and a Bachelor of Design in Industrial Design.


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