Interpreting the Groundswell: What the heck is up with Social Media?


Like I said in my very first blog post, there are some things I don’t get about Social Media.  Where are the numbers?  How do you figure out your ROI?  What tools and networks do I really need to be part of?  HOW DO I FIT IT ALL IN MY DAY?!  The Groundswell, by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff with Forrester Research, does a great job of answering those questions and more.

First of all… what is the groundswell?  Li and Bernoff define the groundswell 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.”  Social Media!!!!

Since two of my big questions about Social Media involve numbers and hang out spots on the web, I’m really excited to tell ya’ll about the Social Technographics Profile, a cool little gadget Forrester uses that can tell your company where your people are hanging out in the groundswell and what percentage of them hang out where.  You know what is coolest about it?  You can use it yourself for FREE at the Groundswell Site!

Basically Li and Bernoff admit it’s impossible for you to be everywhere on the internet at once; but besides being impossible, it’s also pointless.  Why expend all your efforts and hang out somewhere your people aren’t?

The Social Technographics Profile divides internet users into six groups (keep in mind you can be a member in multiple groups) and gives you a really indication of where your company should start making noise first:

  1. Creators are those happykatie’s out there; the ones always posting something online, be it a blog, a video on youtube, or a podcast.
  2. Critics react to things online.  They are the ones reviewing things on eBay and Amazon and commenting on site after site.
  3. Collectors adore RSS Feeds.  They like to tag things online and organize their internet life just-so.
  4. Joiners are those social network junkies.  If a social network relates to them in any way, they are bound to create a profile.
  5. Spectators read blogs and watch videos but they don’t really say a whole lot.
  6. Inactives are just that… inactive in the groundswell.

Here is a quick profile I just built for women, age 25-34 who live in United States, using the The Social Technographics Profile tool.

This is in no relation to my blog, but if you were trying to reach women in this demographic, you can see that of the women in this age group, 56 percent are spectators… a really active subset!  You won’t reach ALL women this way, but it’s a good tool to see where you should start.  These women will read you blog, so why don’t you have one yet??

The Social Technographics Profile is just the icing on the groundswell cake.  There is a wealth of other information, from strategies you can use in the groundswell to how you can use it to get your employees involved and motivated…. all really cool stuff!

If you are a social media baby like me, I definitely recomend this book. (Although I kind of feel like I’m staring in a episode of Reading Rainbow right now!)

3 Responses

  1. F. says:

    The social media version of Reading Rainbow?! You so silly.

  2. Monica says:

    “butterfly in the sky, i can fly twice as high…”


    great info, mags.

  3. Kristen Gambetta says:

    Mags- Just dropping in to say I have really been enjoying your blog. Let’s catch up soon!

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