Reading Notes

A useful book that goes along well with our PR Social Media class is “Groundswell: Winning in World Transformed by Social Technologies.” I judged it by the cover, but in a good way, because it was bright and seemed relatively modern. What exactly does the word “groundswell” mean? I had no idea. I thought it was the author’s last name at first.

Groundswell is defined by authors Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff as a  “social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations” (p. 9). This is an excellent definition for a common trend that exists but wasn’t quite that easy to put a label on. Each chapter goes into detail about what exactly is driving people to use these technologies and how to make them work for you.

Chapter 1– This is an introductory chapter that discusses the new era we are experiencing due to the changes in social media and technologies. The ability for online activities to be generally free and cost-effective is a great benefit for people, businesses and the economy. The authors believe that “people, technology, and economics” come together to create this online revolution. All of these factors must work together and accomodate each other in order to achieve what they need.

Chapter 2– Although it may seem kind of strange, this chapter compares groundswell to the sport of jujitsu, which is a popular Japanese martial art. In many ways, using technologies to accomplish different things online is a lot like the sport. It requires mastering different skills and using them to your advantage or self-defense. By knowing how to use the skills you can acquire for being tech-savvy and creating lasting relationships with people via the Internet and other sources, you can essentially defend yourself and be aware of your surroundings. Over a period of time, these talents will come in handy!

Chapter 3– Sort of like an online demographic profile, the authors discuss 6 different categories for placing people in groups based on their habits relating to groundswell. They call this the “social technographics profile.” The groups include:

  1. Creators
  2. Critics
  3. Collectors
  4. Joiners
  5. Spectators
  6. Inactives

Virtually everyone who uses the Internet, social media, or any form of new technology can be placed in one of these groups based on what they contribute, or their lack of contribution, their needs and desires, and purpose for groundswell in everyday life.

Chapters 4-9- According to the authors, once you are ready to pursue with “groundswell,” there is no turning back! It is important to be active and prepared for what may lie ahead. The term groundswell approach-avoidance syndrome is discussed. This is when someone pursues the social trend movement but gets scared about moving forward with the process. Don’t let this happen to you! Stay positive and know you can make good progress with time and effort.

Here are some successful blogging tips:

  • Start by listening.
  • Determine a goal for the blog.
  • Estimate the ROI.
  • Develop a plan.
  • Rehearse.
  • Develop an editorial process.
  • Design the blog and its connections to your site.
  • Develop a marketing plan so people can find  the blog.
  • Remember blogging is more than writing.
  • Be honest.

These chapters explain that listening and talking are some of the most important ways to stay in touch and meet new connections on the internet and social networks. By creating a blog, joining networks, commenting on other’s websites, etc., you are engaging youself into a new world and branching out your potential comfort zone.

By following the trend of groundswell, there is an opportunity to make things happen quickly and efficiently. Companies are able to reach customers faster, and have customers reach them faster as well. It is cheap, easy, and interesting way to get tasks done and make strong connections!

Chapters 10-12- These chapters emphasize using three groundswell elements into making your organization better:

  1. Take small steps that have big impact.
  2. Have a vision and a plan.
  3. Build leaders into the plan.

All of these are small but effective ways to improve a company. The book also discusses several key ideas brought up by groundswell believers. Being a good listener, having patience and flexibility, staying humble, and thinking positive are all ways that will help you succeed in the world of communications. (p. 240).


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Filed under PRCA 3030 Social Media, Reading Notes- Groundswell

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