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January 12, 2007

A new year, new adventures

Happy New Year! Although just barely two weeks into it, it already feels....well, not quite old but more like "broken in".

Before you read too much further, don't think that "new adventures" means that I'm leaving either Forrester or this blog. I'm thoroughly enjoying both but I'm going to be up to something new this year as well.

I'm going to write a book.

There. I'm now committed! And it's a huge commitment, so some people think I'm absolutely crazy to be doing this while holding down a full time job and raising a family. But I have a secret weapon in my arsenal -- a co-author.

Josh Bernoff has been my colleague at Forrester for almost eight years and we've collaborated on countless research projects together. He's smart, a gifted writer, blogger, and most importantly for me, VERY organized. Special thanks go to Chris Anderson for inspiration -- I had lunch with him last summer right before "The Long Tail" was published and he shared that a writing assistant was very helpful in writing his book. That got me to thinking that I could actually pull this off.

Then I realized that Josh wanted to devote his full time to writing and I thought I had hit pay dirt -- here was an opportunity to have not just a writing assistant, but a full collaborator and partner, someone who can push me beyond meaningless platitudes to understand, interpret, and share what all this means. I will continue as an analyst at Forrester, with my ongoing research and writing contributing to the book. Josh will be spending his entire time researching and writing the book.

So why write a book? As a thinker and writer, I've enjoyed two wonderful outlets thus far -- Forrester's syndicated reports and this blog. But neither allow me to explore the full depth and scope of the social computing phenomenon. I feel in my gut that this is something much bigger than individual technololgies like blogs or widgets -- we're in the midst of a groundswell of change that will impact all aspects of our lives. In my daily work with companies, I often feel I'm explaining an alien world to these executives and managers -- it just operates on a totally different plane. My hope is that the discipline and format of a book will focus and pull together the many different perspectives out there and make sense of this groundswell for our readers

Josh and I are off an running with this project. But we can't do it alone. I invite you to contribute your ideas, your criticisms, and most importantly, your inspiration on our blog, "Groundswell" at blogs.forrester.com/groundswell. I can't tell you how often your comments and emails provide the impetus to dig deeper into subjects and keep me focused on what's important out there.

Update: I was asked what the difference is between a writing assistant, co-author and ghostwriter. A writing assistant is just that -- an assistant who helps with the writing process. This can vary from someone who helps with background research and organization to writing some of the sections. But the ideas, the essence, and soul of the book comes from the author.

Co-authors share together in the writing and thinking process -- "Freakonomics" by Steven B. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner is a good example (both the book and the blog are inspirations for us.) is a good example.

And a ghostwriter is someone who writes the book for someone with no acknowledgment -- but usually for a decent sum of money!


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Kevin Hillstrom

Enjoy your journey. Writing a book requires a very different type of energy. To me, blogging is extremely easy compared with writing a book. Books require focus, concentration and organization. Blogs allow you to evolve ideas rapidly. Books don't give you this latitude.

You'll do well, enjoy!

Josh Bernoff

Gosh, Charlene. Awfully nice of you to flatter me so. I can't wait to work with you!


Good luck! There's nothing like blogging about it to make it official and committed. What a great way to start the New Year.


It’s really hard to get started with marketing and promoting your small business. It’s important to constantly remind your potential customers that your business is there. Keeping your company name and logo in the eyes of the consumer is expensive and difficult, but over time these investments really do payoff. If you are looking for some ideas on promotional products for your customers check out: http://www.theexecutiveadvertising.com they have thousands of promotional product ideas that you can browse through.

Remind your consumers that you are there is, a good example is Post Card and Letter Mailings, these are great but the secret is 1) Make sure that your take the time to design the letter or post cards that you are sending, and that your product is sellable to the consumers that you are marketing to. 2) Consistently market your company! If you are doing post card mailing for example make sure that you set goals for your mailings, for example send out 1,000 cards a week, or 2,000 cards a month. It takes time for you to get a response from your mailings. Look at http://www.theexecutivemailing.com

Stewart Switzer
Mortgage Loan Specialist

Jeremy Zawodny


Writing a book is ton of work, but having a co-author sure does help. Good luck. :-)

Jim Cahill

Enjoy the journey of writing this, Charlene!

I added Groundswell to my RSS feeds to be able to share some experiences after nearly a year blogging as Emerson's first corporate blogger.

Take care, Jim

peter Cervieri

hi charlene,

here is video from the SIIA Content Forum Panel you moderated a few months ago:


take care,

michael wiley

good luck, Charlene!

Kevin Heisler

Congratulations, Charlene! My wife is a novelist, so I know how challenging writing a book can be.

Looking forward to seeing your work progress.

Kevin Heisler

Debbie Weil

Fantastic news! You're a natural writer and I know your book will be great. Choosing to work with a writing assistant is a *brilliant* move. It's something I wish I had considered!

Jake McKee

Ah man, just when I thought you couldn't get any cooler... I'm jealous and impressed at your decision to write a book. When can I pre-order it on Amazon?


vaspers the grate

Social computing is our collective infinitized response to the tyranny of the Technological Imperative: what can be made must be made.

Computers were already socializing, communicating, entertaining each other. Some of us figured out that we could join in the fun and use the computer communications as carriers of our own inter-personal communications.

The machine world is tolerating this human nonsense. For now. As we interact with each other and explain what we had for lunch and how our kids are growing, the machine world can get more work done, behind the social media scene, so to speak.

When our digital surrogates replace, or I should say, as the machines want me to say, expand and de-limit us, we will reach out and touch our audience, their virtual ghosts will feel our insubstantial probe and pretend to explode.


Great news



Thanks for informations


Great infos


Great news


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