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Groundswell Charlene Li Josh Bernoff

Book Brief: Groundswell

Groundswell Charlene Li Josh BernoffThe book Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies provides a great overview of how social media is changing the way businesses, large and small, are interacting with their customers and conducting their business.  The book covered the following topics.

An Overview of Social Media:
The first section basically describes how technology has enabled individuals to push for changes in products, ideas, and services that companies offer.   Li and Bernoff provide some real-life examples of how social media has played a role in business decisions and also provide some information on the demographics of social media.  A brief summary of the tools of social media are also outlined in this section (blogs, podcasts, social networks, wikis, open source, forums, and tags).

Using Social Technologies in Business:
The bulk of the book revolves around how businesses can use social media tools to enhance their business and connect with their customers.  The authors advocate what they call a POST method, with POST standing for People, Objectives, Strategy, and Technology.   The POST approach can be achieved through one or a combination of the following objectives; Listening, Talking, Energizing, Supporting, and Energizing.

The Future of the Groundswell:
The final section of the book provides a discussion on some of the challenges associated with implementing social technologies, how to internally connect companies through social media, and a brief discussion on future trends of social media.

In Summary:
Overall this is a great book if you are looking to learn more about how larger businesses and organizations are using and responding to the use of social technologies.   The book is written to have more of a business and marketing angle than a personal use angle and being written in 2008 is slightly out-of-date already.  Nonetheless, I found the book to have great information for any user of social media technologies.

Some of the best parts of the book revolve around the case studies.   Some very prominent large and medium sized companies are featured in the book including Best Buy, Dell, Salesforce.com, Unilever, Mini, Special K, HP, Comcast, ebags, and Lego (amongst several others).

To learn more, you can visit the Groundswell blog at groundswell.forrester.com.

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Social Media Connection

Focus On: Social Media – What’s all This about Twitter, Blogs, and RSS?

Background:
Social Media ConnectionEveryone has probably heard the term Social Media in the news lately.  Social media means different things to different people, but the term is basically used to describe internet-based technology that enables a group of users to communicate and collaborate on ideas.

Popular forms of social media include; blogs, wikis, micro-blogs, and social networking websites.   I’ll give a brief breakdown on each of them.

Types of Social Media:
Blogs:
The term blog is short for weblog. Blogs are basically a collection of diary-type “posts” that cover a particular topic – much like a web-based news article.  After a blogger posts an article, readers have the option to comment on the article and provide input on the topic.  Popular blogs include The Huffington Post, a news media & political blog, and TechCrunch, and tech-based blog.  There are also literally millions of other blogs that cover niche topics like personal finances, sewing, and biking.

Wikis: Wikis are web-based collaboration tools that allow users to create the content.  One of the most popular wikis in the world is Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia that is created by users.  Wikis basically work like this: users create pages on a subject and then allow other users to add and moderate the pages and subjects.  It’s a self-policing model that works remarkably well and provides great information.

Micro-Blogs: Micro-blogs are similar to blogs, except that you are limited to a set number of characters (usually about a sentence worth of words) for posts.   Microblogging has become quite popular in the last couple of years due to its ease of use and ability to reach a large audience quickly.  The most popular microblogging site is Twitter.  Other popular microblog web-sites include identi.ca and Tumblr.

Social Networking Sites: Social networking sites integrate several features into one platform that enables users to connect with one another.  Key features typically included in social networking sites include the ability to post photos, instant-message with each other, and provide short posts similar to micro-blog posts.  The giant in this group is FacebookMySpace is also very popular but has been losing market share over the last few years.  LinkedIn is another popular social networking site that is focused on developing professional relationships.  Video sharing web-sites, like YouTube and Vimeo, also share many attributes of social networking sites.

In Summary:
Social Media has become increasingly popular over the last few years.  As online communication and collaboration becomes more popular for business and personal use, expect to see more of social media applications on the market.

[Image Source: graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net]