The people working at Forrester Research are pretty smart. Smart enough, in fact, to write a book about the social web, called Groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies, by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff.
What’s the groundswell? Li and Bernoff call it “a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations” (pg. 9). These technologies include many of the things you’ll find on our library’s digital branch and other newer websites, like blogs, instant messaging, customer reviews, wikis, podcasts, and videocasts.
In the book, Li and Bernoff first define and illustrate the groundswell. They provide plenty of great examples showing how organizations have a choice: they can either feel threatened by these new technologies, or they can use them to their advantage by starting or participating in their own online conversations with customers.
Next, Li and Bernoff explain what they call the Social Technographics Profile. Li and Bernoff claim that your organization’s online customers consist of much more than just “users” or “web visitors.” Instead, there are a range of online customers that include creators, critics, collectors, joiners, and spectators. The rest of the book discusses this profile – what it is and how you can use it to create a strategy for starting conversations with your customers.