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September 24, 2004

About this blog and "Groundswell" (the book)

(Updated May 1, 2007)

By Charlene Li

The world is changing. And we’re not going to sit by and watch. We’re not just going to document what we see. We’re seeking to understand what’s happening, really understand it. And to help you to deal with it.

In this blog, and the book that will spring from it, we call it this change the Groundswell – a spontaneous movement of people connecting, using online tools, taking charge of their own experience, and getting what they need – information, support, ideas, products, and bargaining power – from each other.

The book is called Groundswell: Winning In A World Transformed By Social Technologies and it will be published in 2008. The blog is where we are developing the ideas that surround and support the book, with your help.

This groundswell crosses industries – in retail, it looks like eBay; in media, it’s Digg, YouTube, Wikipedia, and Agoravox; in finance, it’s loans from Prosper. Within corporations, employees are redesigning how they work together – management can only hang on for dear life. This groundswell is coming to your industry, your company, your government, your church – at a rapidly increasing pace.

For institutions that have become accustomed to wielding power, the Groundswell is terrifying. Brands spend tens of millions of dollars to define themselves, only to have bloggers and YouTubers eat away at that foundation. Media companies see reporting and creative edifices built over decades supplanted by ill-mannered bloggers, peer-to-peer file sharing, and remixes that treat copyrights like waste paper. Corporations find their employees collaborating in news ways, creatively out of the control of management. Is there a way forward through this chaos?

We believe there is, and we'll prove it. We promise to identify the economics of the Groundswell, defining how it affects businesses and developing metrics you can use. We will look everywhere to identify the strategies that work in the groundswell - collecting them, examining them, classifying them, and making them available to you to use with your companies and your customers. One key role of this blog is to become a meeting place for people developing those strategies, so we can take advantage of our own collective wisdom.

We will help you master the jujitsu of turning the Groundswell to your advantage – giving up power, but in the process gaining customers, loyalty, relevance, and the knowledge to succeed in this new world. Whether you're a marketer or a manager, a media company or an educator, we'll refine for you the strategies that can turn the groundswell to your advantage.

This project is a collaboration between two people, supported by Forrester Research. Charlene Li has, for the last seven years, been Forrester’s analyst dedicated to technologies like blogs, podcasts, wikis, and the whole trend we call social computing. Josh Bernoff is a Forrester analyst who spent the last eleven years analyzing trends like file sharing and digital video recorders that are transforming media. Together we are discovering the entrepreneurs, the technologies, and the ordinary people who make up the groundswell. In this blog, we invite you to join us in this exploration, bring us your insights and your criticism, to make the book we’re building great.

History of this blog

This was blog started in September 2004 by Charlene Li (bio) as a way to extend her research at Forrester Research. The goals were to provide more timely, personal insights into the impact of technology on media and marketing and to engage blog readers in a conversation about topics ranging from search and corporate blogging policies to emerging technologies like RSS, podcasting, and widgets.

This year, Charlene decided to embark on a new adventure -- to write a book. She enlisted the help of her colleague, Josh Bernoff (bio), who is also a long-time Forrester analyst. This book is now authored by both Charlene and Josh, with much of the content related to the ongoing research for the book. Charlene will continue to write on topics related to her ongoing research that isn't necessarily related to the book.

Comment policy

We welcome your thoughts, ideas, suggestions, and of course, criticisms. Comments on this blog are posted immediately, but we do read every single one of them and will delete comments that are vulgar, defamatory, clearly spam, or in general, not contributing to the ongoing discussion. We may unfortunately be forced to close individual posts to new comments because of the influx of spam.

At any point, we welcome your comments via email -- feel free to reach out to Charlene or Josh directly.

Subscribing to this blog

You can receive new content via email or through an RSS reader. If you'd like to learn more about RSS, please visit the RSS page on Forrester's Web site.

Code of ethics
As readers of this blog, you can expect that we will:

  • Tell the truth.
  • Write deliberately and with accuracy.
  • Acknowledge and correct mistakes promptly.
  • Preserve the original post, using notations to show where I have made changes so as to maintain the integrity of my publishing.
  • Not delete a post.
  • Not delete comments unless they are spam, defamatory, vulgar, or off-topic.
  • Reply to emails and comments when appropriate, and do so promptly.
  • Strive for high quality with every post – including basic spellchecking.
  • Stay on topic.
  • Disagree with other opinions respectfully.
  • Link to online references and original source materials directly.
  • Disclose conflicts of interest.
  • Keep private issues and topics private, since discussing private issues would jeopardize my personal and work relationships.
  • This is in addition to our adherence to Forrester's Integrity Policy.

    Conflicts of interest
    Charlene is married to Come Lague, who is a partner in Nueva Ventures, a venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley. Nueva Ventures has investments that conflict with Charlene's research areas. Specifically, these investments are in the areas of social search, click fraud, and personalized music. When companies with direct investments by Nueva Ventures are discussed on this blog, they will be disclosed.

    Both Charlene and Josh provide advice and consulting through Forrester to many of the companies mentioned in this blog. Because of the frequency of these engagements -- and also because of Forrester's non-disclosure agreements with these companies -- we will not disclose these specific engagements.   

    Neither Charlene nor Josh have direct personal investments in any companies mentioned on this blog.

    Additional information

    Charlene Li's bio
    Charlene Li's recent research
    Josh Bernoff's bio
    Josh Bernoff's recent research


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    Where did you find this guestbook by the way??? I'd like to have one like this on one of my sites!!!


    Where did you find this guestbook by the way??? I'd like to have one like this on one of my sites!!!

    brenda walker

    Excellent Post, thanx for sharing the same.. Will keep on reading the post :D Stumbled your

    post .. cheers

    The comments to this entry are closed.