Because Ideas Matter...
The faculty and staff of Butler University's College of Liberal
Arts and Sciences presents
Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social
by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, Harvard Business Press 2008
Reviewed by Ed Kanis
Crafted by two leading research
consultants, Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social
Technologies provides a detailed look at how companies and
organizations are effectively employing social media.
Li and Bernoff, principals with Forrester Research, devote the
early chapters of their book to discussing techniques for
understanding the "groundswell," what they define as "the social
trend in which people use technologies to get things they need from
each other rather than from traditional institutions." Particularly
instructive is their "Social Technographics Profile," a helpful
tool organizations can use to categorize audiences based on their
degree of immersion in social media - from the "creators" at the
top rung of the ladder who publish their own blogs and web pages,
to the "inactives" at the bottom for whom social media is uncharted
The balance of the book is replete with examples of companies
that have tapped into the groundswell. Among the more interesting
are how Best Buy captures employees' insights and intelligence with
its own social network, as well as the way a small South African
winery uses bloggers, Facebook and YouTube to drive sales.
Li and Bernoff argue convincingly the groundswell is here to
stay. Whatever your take on this phenomenon, the book is a
- Ed Kanis is a lecturer in the Eugene S. Pulliam School of
Journalism at Butler University.