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June 25, 2009

Writing another bible

Robobible by Josh Bernoff

Many have said that Groundswell is a bible for companies using social technology. (Yes, I know there is a book that came out after ours called The Social Media Bible but indulge me for a moment here.) With apologies to my more religious readers (it's a metaphor, people), here are some qualities of the bible that I hope Groundswell shares.

  • It helps a lot of people, so it sells a lot. (We're about 6 billion copies behind the other bible.)
  • It’s full of useful advice (e.g. “Thou shalt not kill.” "Listen first before engaging the groundswell.")
  • People get inspired by it and tell others to read it.
  • It attempts to be the definitive authority on the topic.
  • It uses stories to communicate messages.
  • While it's useful by itself, it also creates an opportunity for people (priests, analysts) to spread and interpret the word further.

If you ever wanted to know what I'm doing next, here it is: I'd like to write another bible. We're looking at possible topics right now inside Forrester. They will be important, groundbreaking ideas for business; they won't necessarily be about social technology (since that bible's already written).

Assume any bible I write has the qualities I describe here. Keeping in mind that any future bible won't be out until spring 2010, what sort of bible would you like to read? Think big.

Photo from Robotlab, 2007, www.robotlab.de/bios/bible.htm , via Gastev

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Comments

GSreader

Maybe one on crowdsourcing ideas? ;)

Seth Godin

I'm not so sure that's what a bible is.

I think a bible is a combination of received wisdom and the letter of the law.

It's essentially impossible to have a bible in a new field. You can have a cake bible, but not a twitter bible.

I couldn't have written the permission marketing bible then, but I wonder if I would have a shot at doing it now.

The most interesting thing is that a bible is completely unrelated to THE bible. The religious bible is filled with off topic stuff, dated stuff, things about stoning and slaves and is not particularly organized. So comparisons to that bible aren't helpful.

I know I'd like a new book from you, but I'm thinking cookbook, not bible.

Josh Bernoff

Interesting comments, Seth.

Of course I picked the stuff about THE bible I wanted to cite. Writer's prerogative.

We didn't set out to write a bible with Groundswell, that's what people said later. Maybe you can't write a bible on purpose.

Shooter MacGavin

Reminds me of a joke I once heard:

"What's the difference between God and a Forrester analyst?"

-God doesn't think he's a Forrester analyst

Josh Bernoff

@Shooter I will endeavor not to live up to your idea of a Forrester analyst.

That level of arrogance is never appropriate. Even if I write another bestseller ;-)

John Cass

Josh,

Wow, a comment from Seth.

Anyway, two words come to mind, semantic web. An exploration of how the semantic web is being used, and its importance for the next stage in internet marketing.

What's interesting about the semantic web is that the Europeans maybe ahead of the US, at least they are putting more Government money into the effort.

Prodazha Zemli

Better not to abuse such concepts as the Bible. Too often, writing regular use in any innovation in the name of the author includes the Scriptures.
Regardless of who belongs to a religion is not correct. There are many synonyms. One only use the term is part of marketing. Faster pay attention to the "Bible of the case" than "The use of the case"

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