While a host of recent publications have focused on social media (and many of them very useful and worth reading, such as Naked Converastions and The Long Tail), the mere fact that Forrest Research has published this book is a major statement not just for big business, but far beyond.
According to the authors, Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li, the groundswell is a social trend in which people use technologies to get things from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations. The themes, data, strategies and suggestions they present are just as relevant for Jewish life and Jewish organizations as they are for corporations. In this new landscape, we must examine how our organizations can adjust to remain relevant to the consumer or community member, and explore how both the organization and community can benefit from these trends.
Groundswell is a huge help in understanding these questions and deriving useful answers. The book is extremely well organized, and accessible to readers of all sophistications. Part 1 defines a variety of tools (blogs, wikis, social networking, etc.) and their strategic value and practical uses. However the real value of the book is in its second part, Tapping the Groundswell. This four-step planning process is a fantastic tool for any organization that wants to better align itself with this important shift, focusing on People, Objectives, Strategy and (finally) Technology.
Ultimately, the Groundswell is all about relationships. And this is the business we are in. Thus, we cannot ignore the significance of these trends and their implications for the relevance and success (or lack thereof) of our work. The social media tools are just that: tools. They not sufficient, but are increasingly necessary for our continued success in our work. This book will help you understand the tectonic shift taking place, the tools and trends, and the strategies through which you can take part in this excitement and power of the groundswell.
Groundswell is an important, accessible and thorough work, which is valuable to both novice web 2.0 folks as well as those who are more experienced. For more, check out the Groundswell blog.
Have you read the book already? What did you think? What was the most valuable “take away” for you?