Dec 29, 2008

Groundswell Blook Report: Chapter Two-Jujitsu and the technologies of the groundswell

Groundswell is broken down into three parts. Part one (chapters 1-3) focuses on understanding the groundswell. The authors ask and answer the questions why the groundswell and why now?

Chapter 2. Jujitsu and the technologies of the groundswell
  • Concentrating on the trend, not the technologies
  • Jujitsu: turn the groundswell to your advantage
  • Description of all social technologies with data on usage around the world
FriendFeed Room: Chapter Two reference links and case studies from the book. Join the room and start a conversation.

Feature Presentation: Marta Z. Kagen's presentation. Here's Marta's profile.

Reason #1: Social Media is Mainstream!
Slide 2 & 3: Social Media defined
Slides 7 to 16: Social media demographics and stats
Slides 17 to 24: Traditional marketing communications isn't working
Reason #2: Trust!
Slides 25 to 30: Trust comes from other consumers in the form of recommendations and dialogue
Reason #3: Brand Talk!
Slides 32 to 34: I'm not sold on these stats. Suffice to say, some brands are being blogged about.
Reason #4 & 5: More adoption/Future customers
Slides 36 to 44: Predicted adoption trends, demographics and buying power of digital natives
What to do?: Slides 45 on.

Top Five Things I learned:
1) Does this Groundswell thing fit with you and your company?
The first thing to think about is whether creating a groundswell is possible or not. There are many things to consider. First, how open is management to the idea of engaging online? Do they understand FULLY what this means? Second, do your customers engage in social media activities now and if so how would it make sense for them to engage with you? Third, can you provide something of meaningful value to your customers that also legitimately ties and relates to what you offer?

2) It takes knowledge, time, skills, experience and commitment.
If you're willing to take the plunge into the groundswell a company needs to realize that "getting into" social media is not a fringe project. It's a conscious decision to change the way you engage with customers, prospects and other stakeholders. The management team of your company need to become engaged themselves in social media (chances are that they are not). Leaders lead by example. They need to become knowledgeable, commit their time, build their own skills and experience social media. One way to do this is find a few 20 something employees and have them teach, mentor and potentially lead management in this area.

3) Start slow and focus first on listening and learning
Don't rush into this. Establish a listening and learning strategy first. Chances are that groundswells already exist or are developing somewhere in your industry and the industries that your customers serve. It could be that your best social media bet is in the industries that your customers are in and not your own. Be sure to invest time and effort focused on learning, listening and sharing. Don't run out and start a blog, a community or a Facebook Fan page tomorrow.

4) This is still very new - we are all learning and there are no experts
We are all new at this and we are learning as we go. We are making mistakes and taking risks. This creates uneasiness with companies that don't like uncertainty, need to justify cost and want to control the message and the brand. There is social media roadkill out there including: Walmart, Motrin & Pepsi. There are social media "successes" that are dubious at best. I thank these companies for taking these risks. They are learning opportunities for all of us.

5) Content, Community, Capacity!
There is an emerging theme I'm starting to notice as I study social media. Content is being created at an accelerated rate. Communities are being formed every minute. People are connecting through Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook etc. The information firehose is starting to gush! We now have inboxes for email, tweets and RSS feeds! There is now an abundent supply of information, access to people who want to help and share. What we now must do is think about how we can use the information, the people and the tools to be productive and deliver value.


  1. It's interesting to contemplate point 1 - does management fully understand what this will mean for the company - in the context of 4 - it's all new and none of us are expert enough to know what it all means. I think we're at a point where long range strategic business implications are actually quite unknowable. We have some preliminary data that says that jumping is is probably a good idea, but trying to ask that execs *fully* understand the implications of jumping into the Groundswell is a bit bold.

  2. Steve, good point. The word "fully" is a bit bold. Maybe it's a good question to ask them though. If we pose the question "what would it take for you to fully understand what engaging with customers online would be like"? It may lead them to want to get engaged themselves online.

  3. Anonymous4:12 PM

    Hi Chris,

    Good to see that you took the road I have taken previously! I have started midth of december 2008 a FriendFeed room on open innovation; supporting a Dutch government initiative. See

    Would be great to exchange some experiences in this area!

    Kind regards,

    Jeroen de Miranda