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Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  5,550 ratings  ·  250 reviews
Li and Bernoff define 'the groundswell' as a social structure in which technology puts power into the hands of individuals and communities, not institutions. This research based book will not only identify the emerging components of this shift, but will also help companies build their businesses around it.
Hardcover, 286 pages
Published March 25th 2008 by Harvard Business Review Press (first published January 1st 2008)
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A book I read for my Brand Management & Reputation Master studies. It interests me as it concerns the current fastgoing development of social, online applications and social media. Where a company years ago could control the reactions of its environment, nowadays opinions and views of people are easily and very quickly distributed via social media, blogs, wiki's etc. Well... look at goodreads, where people share opinions on books, independent and of free will.

Quoting also Harvard Business Revie
Aug 16, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Linda by: Mary Gilbert

Nearly everything I do in marketing has to do with the groundswell, the current movement of everything Web 2.0, blogs, viral, social networks and more. Or simply put, people + technology.

I also happen to live at ground zero for all this stuff, so when I spotted the spiraling lime-and-wasabi colored book at work and asked to borrow it, I knew it'd be an investment in timeliness and relevance.

What I like best about Groundswellis how authors Charlene Li and
J.D. Lasica
Dec 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies, by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, is the definitive guide to how businesses are grappling with the social media revolution. The revolution is still in its early stages, and the old order still clings tenaciously to power — we're living in the throes of transformative change, which can be at once exhilarating and disorienting.

Li and Bernoff provide a framework for describing these fundamental changes, which they call "the groundsw
May 03, 2010 rated it it was ok
While I'm sure that this book as informative to those not already familiar with Facebook and Twitter I did not find that it told me anything really new. I came away with the feeling that it was full of valuable argument content for convincing our unknowing associates that social networking has value and that it works.

Unfortunately I was looking for information geared to the entrepreneur / small businessperson rather that the multinationals that were used in the book as examples. The aut... (show
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is a great overview of social media and offers detailed insight into how brands are affected by the new media revolution. Essentially it is a guide for marketing in an Internet driven world; it highlights the same principles of offline marketing - understanding the needs of the target audience and interacting with it accordingly - with inputs on what efforts are needed to achieve the business goals in a more open and interactive medium that is only growing in importance everyday.

The f
Richard MacManus
Jun 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: company folks
This book is aimed at company people who may not know much about the Social Web, other than they want to be in on the action. So *I'm* not the target market.

I browsed through the book on a lazy sunday and thought it had some great data in it. The authors obviously know their stuff and I have huge respect for Charlene Li as a social media analyst.

I must admit I was also checking to see if ReadWriteWeb was cited. Disappointingly, no. The book can't be that cutting edge then, ay? ;-)

Overall, soli
Jan 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction

Despite my version being published in 2011, I feel most of the authors' predictions for "several years down the road" have already come true by summer 2012. Good book for convincing the unbelievers (do they exist any more?) or reaffirming what a believer already knows to be true.
Jakrapong Kongmalai
Sep 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The best resource for those who aim to set up the digital business strategy for their organization.
Duy Nguyen
Sep 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
Good read for ideas generating in the time of social media and communication.
Ryan Barretto
Oct 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
An excellent read on the jungle that is social media. I found it fascinating even though it was first published in 2011.

I like the level of depth the authors have gone into while explaining various aspects. From a marketing perspective, it tells you what to do to engage your customers in the online space. From an HR perspective, there's a chapter that talks about using these techniques to engage with the employees of your organization. I enjoyed the examples that were shared and learned a lot f
Sarah Rigg
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this because I knew that I need some insight on marketing as a freelancer. It's geared more toward big companies, but I still found it really useful. Just their basic idea of breaking down people active in Web 2.0 into "creators" vs. "critics" vs. "collectors" and "watchers" was useful to me, for instance. A required read for anyone running their own business or in management who wants to tap into the power of social technologies to energize customers and employees.
Jessica Pitcher
Sep 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Typically I am not one to sit down and read a non-fiction book. However, this one kept my interest all the way through.
Rob Kall
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
this is a bit dated by 2018, but I found it to be very valuable. Loads of details on how people use social media and internet sites.
Michelle Lach
Mar 10, 2019 rated it liked it
A bit windy. Overall it has some really good concepts but I feel like it could have been much more concise and about half as long without losing steam.
Jakob Jensen
Jan 03, 2020 rated it did not like it
Mar 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Groundswell has a solid foundation of ideas. I most enjoyed the conversation around leveraging user groups and forums to better listen to your clients. The book could use an updated edition as many of the technologies have significantly evolved since it was written.
Nov 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
I'm a writer. I'm not a techie. I'm not an entrepreneur. I'm just a girl who hates grammatical mistakes and improprer use of punctuation and enjoys snappy prose.

Well, Groundswell isn't written for people like me, but it was still an interesting read. Charlene Li does an excellent job of examining the ways in which companies and brands are able to build a groundswell of support for themselves on the internet.

What it really boils down to is listening to your online community and showing them that
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read Groundswell as part of a course on social media marketing that I am taking at George Brown College. I was immediately engaged by the simple, conversational tone of the writing and interesting case studies. When I read something for professional development purposes I expect examples of how to apply the techniques or tools being discussed, and this book delivered: every tool type had multiple cases studies and discussed successes and failures. I also appreciated the formatting of the book ...more
Nov 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: marketing
Although Groundswell is admittedly a little dated, it does provide much insightful advice regarding social media marketing. Written in the elder days of 2008, my second edition was released in the slightly-less ancient age of 2011.

It was rather jarring to hear the book discuss things such as MySpace as significant factors concerning the topic of social media. It was even more incredible to find that YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook were hardly mentioned at all. Regardless, I'll hardly fault the b
Jan 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Groundswell is a really great survey book about the importance of social media for business. Here, the authors interpret social media as the groundswell, "a spontaneous movement of people using online tools to connect, take charge of their experience, and get what they need -- information, support, ideas, products, and bargaining power -- from each other."

The book is well-structured and begins at a high-level, defining the groundswell and why it's vital for businesses today. Next, the authors in
Gene Babon
Jun 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: strategy
The groundswell is a spontaneous movement of people using online tools to connect. Groundswell was one of the first, and best documented, books chronicling the social media phenomenon.

Since the book was published in 2008, it would be easy to dismiss this research-oriented guidebook as dated. After all, a technology called Twitter is relegated to single page. The authors conclude as follows: "Twitter is likely to find its place among other groundswell technologies, and companies should pay attent
Shawn Buckle
Feb 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Groundswell is defined as the social media momentum that has swept over us of recent. With almost a billion people using Facebook alone, social technologies have allowed people to connect in ways never before. This has had dramatic effects on the way businesses operate.

It goes without saying that it is fundamental you go where your customers are, meaning it's important to participate in social media, since that is where people are but also because there is an expectation to be there. There shou
Monique Kapustin
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies is an excellent read for anyone wanting to dive into the world of social media, and I can see using it as a handbook for understanding and developing social media strategies.

Unlike some of the other books out there claiming to unlock the secrets of social media using only the author's opinion or personal experience, Groundswell pairs sound advice with diverse case studies and actual statistics. It doesn't promise to give you the
Sep 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Groundswell is a great book to help people understand the revolutionary social technology changes that are occurring, why they are happening, and how to tap into it and transform your business. It’s a very interesting read with good information, much of it familiar though, particularly for those already actively involved in social media.

The authors explain that people utilize social media to connect, collaborate, react, organize, and accelerate consumption. They give numerous examples of tools
Dane Cobain
Jun 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Groundswell is highly-rated, one of the first so-called 'social media books' to be released and one which reveals all kinds of interesting information that will change the way that you look at the world. We're experiencing a groundswell, a term that's used to refer to the social phenomenon which has changed both the way that we interact with each other and the way that we access information.

Today's consumers are empowered to tell your brand's story whether you like it or not, through blogs and s
Nov 10, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Marketers and company innovators
Shelves: business
This book is great...if you're not from the Facebook generation. The first couple of chapters were almost snoozers for me. The only thing that really saved it was the real-life stories the authors included. The stories managed to hold my interest long enough for me to move on to the next chapters.

What I mainly gathered from this book--and you could gather this on your own if you don't live under a rock--is that media and marketing are moving more and more toward the consumer. That is, if you pla
Emily Richards
Why so many websites fail.

Added 2018: A monument to the foolish hopes we (I) had at the start of the Internet era. John Adams or Jefferson or someone said live your life in the public light, and make your enemies come for you there, any who dare. I was not the only one who thought the Internet would extend that public light as never before, and bring us into a new a better time. "People will know!" we crowed at the dawn of the Internet era. What I and others failed to see: Where anyone can say
Catherine Gillespie
Aug 31, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: work
If you’ve ever wanted to know more about how social media is changing the way companies do business and marketing, or if you’re interested in getting into social media marketing with your blog or website, you’d probably really like Groundswell. The authors define the “groundswell” as the phenomenon of people getting the information they need from each other instead of from companies. The book looks at the way the groundswell operates and includes information on a variety of ways that companies a ...more
Dec 16, 2014 rated it liked it
This book provides a good overview of the concept of the groundswell - the notion that people are now getting information from others online that they would otherwise gotten from brands. Of course, this means that power has shifted and companies must adapt.

The book is practical and approachable for those marketers or communicators looking to understand the motivations behind online communities and social media and the opportunities they pose for brands to build customers and ambassadors within
Jignesh Shah
Jul 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
Practical insights into how and why people participate in social technologies and how traditional companies can leverage this undeniable phenomenon.

Most valuable is the discussion around how social computing can help businesses. Groundswell breakups the possibilities in to five categories - listening, talking, energizing, supporting and embracing. In reality, there is much overlap among these categories and one can often lead to the other. Still, the recommendation to focus on a single clear ob
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How are you going to use the book? 1 21 Jun 29, 2008 11:18PM  

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For the past two decades, Charlene Li has been helping people see the future. She’s the author of six books, including her latest, The Disruption Mindset: Why Some Businesses Transform While Others Fail. She also wrote the New York Times bestseller Open Leadership and co-authored the critically-acclaimed book, Groundswell.

Charlene is also an entrepreneur, the Founder and Senior Fellow at Altimeter

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