Book Review: Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff
by Charlene Li, Josh Bernoff (Hardcover - May 5, 2008)
My rating: 4.5 rubber band balls
What is 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 (or associations like ours.) Some of the association community is already being impacted by the groundswell...it's only a matter of time before all of us will be impacted.
What Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff have done is important. It's a well-written framework for understanding, tapping and ultimately transforming yourself and your organization through the groundswell. At times funny, at times heart-wrenching (in a business book?), Groundswell also provides thoughtful analysis of audience behaviors and ROI.
For anyone new to social media, part one on understanding the groundswell is the best primer I've come across. You get the three critical pieces of the puzzle in three easy chapters...
- An explanation of why the groundswell is happening right now, thanks to the intersection of people, technology and economics.
- An honest description of the most prevalent, mainstream groundswell technologies, including how they threaten institutional power.
- An explanation of Forrester's social technographics, a demographic analysis capable of segmenting your audience according to a ladder of participation in social technologies.
The Achilles heal? Like pretty much every other book on this subject, Groundswell focuses exclusively on corporate participation in social media. In the association world, our motivations and ultimate strategy will have some pronounced differences. But again, this book provides the framework to start (or re-start) a dialogue around social media for any association.
What do you think? How is approaching social media different for an association than for a corporation?