10th Anniversary Review of Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies

10th Anniversary Review of Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the publication of Groundswell we’ve put together a review that hopefully you’ll find useful.

In the style of Groundswell, we’d like you guys to contact us with your feedback. This is just one take, I’m sure you guys have many more. Think of it as a collection of reflections.

DIY social outreach

Popularity breeds popularity. Yes, social media marketing and optimization can be used by business of all sizes.

That being said, though, one mustn’t get over-excited and use panacea words phrases like The Great Leveler or The Giant Killer.

Social media favors established businesses, brands and persons that already enjoy recognition and influence.

When Stephen Colbert creates a Facebook account or Barack Obama creates a Twitter account, people flock to become their friends and followers.

If you or I did the same it would hardly register by comparison.

Beware of windmills and walled gardens

Know a windmill when you see one. Buzz, cleverness and daring does not equate to success if an opportunity does not exist.

Twitter is the default community messaging system on the Internet, even though it lacks many of the sophisticated features that its competitors do possess.

Some of those competitors enjoyed terrific social buzz, but none have been able to unseat the king or even take away large market share.


Because Twitter dug itself into its market like an ice axe.

It became impossible to export the value you had outside of the system. Your followers would follow you as long as you remained within the garden, but as soon as you pop over the wall? They’re stuck.

But there is some leveling out

The suits are getting it.

Up to now, many influential businesses and people have created an Internet or social media presence.

But because this is so new and most executives and managers are not online experts, few manage to do it well or to maintain consistency, which opens to door to new competitors.

That window is closing.

The Internet as a business environment has matured. Executives and managers are learning (from resources like Groundswell) and figuring it out. The barriers to entry are steadily rising.

Don’t give up.

It’s not all bad news. Opportunity will always exist for smart, hard working entrepreneurs and powerful technologies are more accessible.

When I bought my first domain in 1994 I had to host it in England because USA hosts were too expensive for me.

Two years ago I couldn’t afford to host my own podcasts because of space and bandwidth issues.

Now I own several domains and have multiple hosting accounts with unlimited storage and traffic, all for less than my first domain cost to host in ’94.

You have to play smart.

In marketing and in any communications meta-channel (like Internet or broadcast or print) or channel (like e-mail or radio or newspaper) the key to success is influence.

Some messages create their own influence.

Do a Google search for linkbait and you will learn how to build this type of message.

More often, though, influence must be built slowly and over time through persistent messaging across multiple channels.

It means little progress at first, slowly grinding uphill until you gain traction and make larger and larger leaps.

It’s like the Long Tail curve reversed, but watch out for The Dip.

My advice

Roam where people will hear or see you.

If you are a boot-strapper then I say read what Stephen Covey writes about Influence (with a capital i) in The Seven Habits.

While Mr. Covey did not write a book about social media, I believe this is the secret to the success of any online venture.

Use Mr. Covey’s sphere of influence to guide your efforts and you will grow your brand, not squander your time and money.


So no, social media is not the great leveler.

Even though, opportunity does exists, but time’s a wasting because others are entering the race. Whatever you do, don’t behave like Madonna or Britney.

Everyone knows them.

Do they know you?

Instead, keep to where your impact will be felt and grow your footprint outward.

Leave a Reply

Close Menu