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Groundswell, Expanded and Revised Edition: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies Paperback – Jun 7 2011


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Groundswell, Expanded and Revised Edition: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies + Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business + Six Pixels of Separation: Everyone Is Connected. Connect Your Business to Everyone.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Press; Expanded and Revised Edition edition (June 7 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422161986
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422161982
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.1 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 358 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #54,210 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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 shouldn't be debate if you should participating, but how you should participate. This can be nightmarish for departments like IR, HR and IT since control is threatened. And from a brand standpoint, this loss of control also effects marketing communications since the groundswell now has a big say in what brands mean.

Given that participation is a must for most companies, just how you participate is important. Li and Bernoff rely on Forrester's Social Technographics Profile to map out how segments of people use social media (Creators, Listeners, Joiners, Critics, etc). Companies should understand what their customers do online and cater to that. If you're target tends to be into creating content like blogs, YouTube videos, it's vital to be in that space by not only creating your content for their consumption, but also to listen and respond to the content they create. And once you're there, it's essential to be authentic, because, unlike traditional advertising, the people have a voice and can call bullcrap with ease.

The longer a company waits to get involved; the longer they wait to use social media to energize its customers, the harder it will be to enter with credibility. The people are there already talking about you, wanting to interact, so do what it takes to go to them and listen and create with them.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 44 reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
All hype; buy a real book on social media, not this one March 7 2013
By Yosem Companys - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
First, the positive: The authors list many of the social media technologies available at the time of publication and provide decent statistics on social media usage. The problem is you could get the same statistics and more for free by reading a Pew report.

There's plenty not to like in this book:

First, the authors appear to have groundswell tourette syndrome. Just as Rudy Giuliani can't get through a sentence without mentioning 9/11, the authors can barely go through a chapter without mentioning the word "groundswell." It's as though the authors took a bunch of verbs, added them to the word groundswell, and voila, a book was born.

All the chapter titles treat the groundswell as some sort of mysterious, independent force that companies must harness through mystical Jiu jitsu. (And yes, I am quoting, they compare themselves to sensei and say they are teaching you social media Jiu jitsu.)

Second, the authors mention Digg and General Motors as two key examples of how companies can harness the groundswell. They say Kevin Rose of Digg clearly "gets it" about the Net. Yes, Rose got it so much that he ultimately had to sell the company for $500,000. Another key example in the book comes from GM, a company that almost died until the government stepped in to bail it out.

If you like hype, you will love this book. You will learn that "the groundswell comes from the collision of three forces: people, economics, and technology." That's shocking because nothing else in society results from the confluence of people, economics, and technology. And the authors note that you'll learn little about managing the groundswell from learning about the technology because the groundswell is a force to be mastered, as I said, much like Jiu jitsu. Other interesting tidbits are "this new class of software is so different that O'Reilly has dubbed it Web 2.0." Yeah, because calling something by a hyped-up moniker shows how revolutionary it is. As for Wikipedia, the authors say that "the masses determine what's on it." They make no mention of the gatekeepers who control editorial content. Also, the authors tell you that "the groundswell has changed the balance of power," and to harness it, you must learn great strategies like these: Learn about blogging by reading blogs and starting one! Learn about social networking by opening an account! The authors note that Amazon reviews or Twitter followers are another great example of the groundswell, but they don't tell you that companies often manipulate reviews or buy followers.

None of this is meant as a "dig" at Digg or at the authors. It's just that the world is more complicated than they lay it out to be. Rather than hype, the reader would benefit from some real evidence-based insights on social media. Sadly, you won't find that here. Take it from me, as a member of the groundswell, don't buy this book and keep looking.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Great book for numerous reasons Feb. 5 2013
By M. Law - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Groundswell is a hit for a number of reasons:
(1) It's current: Although published in 2011, the book is very up-to-date. This is good and bad, as very quickly it will become outdated.

(2) It's helpful: Instead of just listing advice for readers, like the groundswell itself, the book tries to relate to the reader. It gives plenty of case studies and real-life stories, and readers find themselves connecting with the authors.

(3) It's readable: It is written in such a readable fashion that anyone, tech-savvy or not, can enjoy it. While giving details of the groundswell concept, it also gives a basic overview of social media; none of the concepts are complicated or overbearing.

(4) It's about relationships: The book, while seemingly data driven and technology-focused, is really about relationships. "Never forget that the groundswell is about person-to-person activity" (280). Groundswell is about wielding our social media revolution to build and sustain relationships. Doing this requires patience, commitment and the right attitude.

Overall, it is an easy read, but it will train your mind to think differently about social media.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Timeless book on social media June 3 2011
By Sharad Gupta - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Groundswell is an excellent read for anyone involved in the social media strategy and implementation. The book lays out a consumer segmentation model (social technographics ladder) that can be used to segment and understand the consumers of the social media. A company needs to understand the existing and evolving social technographics profile of consumers to choose appropriate social media and engagement strategies (listening, talking, energizing, helping, embracing). The book also proposes a four-step process for developing a social media marketing strategy - People, Objectives, Strategy, and Technology (called POST). The book has many case studies and insightful analysis of the power of social media. Although the social media technologies will continue to evolve rapidly, one must understand the bigger picture and the business use cases (in areas of customer research, marketing, sales, customer support, and new product development) in order to leverage the immense power of social media.
Great book May 8 2014
By Kelley Moss - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book really defined why social and digital media is so important in today's society. Lots of data and case studies that let you develop "thought-ware" for your own business strategy.
No real insights here May 5 2014
By Dan C - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition with Audio/Video Verified Purchase
If you are a marketing researcher with experience, you know almost everything in this book. If you are a marketer without experience, it is worth a read.

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