As I blog about the International Herald Tribune, this caught my eye:
Companies face 'groundswell' threat on Internet
At business conferences in the 1990s, it was common to hear that "the Internet changes everything." This was meant as a warning that companies slow to set up Web sites and sell their products online were doomed to be road kill on the information superhighway.
Ten years later, the superhighway has ballooned into something more akin to a data galaxy. Numerous companies have Web sites, engage in e-commerce and dabble in e-mail marketing. But there is a new fear afoot: that despite all these moves, businesses are in danger of losing control of the Internet-fueled conversation about their products and services, putting their corporate reputations at risk.
The explosion of blogs, wikis, podcasts, online videos, social networking sites and Internet chat rooms that has upended the traditional relationship between companies and their customers is the subject of a new book by two top analysts from Forrester Research.
In "Groundswell - Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies," published this past spring by Harvard Business School Press, Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li lay out the threats and opportunities posed by this unmediated, 24/7, often anonymous cacophony.
Bernoff and Li define this groundswell as a grass-roots movement of people deploying online tools to connect and trade information, tips and rumors about products and support.
"The groundswell," they write, "is a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other instead of from companies. If you're in a company, this is a challenge." But, of course, there is no turning the clock back. The trend can not be ignored by executives responsible for their brands.
"This is the largest thing to happen to American business since the Internet came in," said Bernoff, a vice president and principal analyst for Forrester in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Li, who is based in the San Francisco Bay Area, left Forrester last week to devote more time to her family, she said in a blog post.
Companies can get broadsided by the groundswell.
International Herald Tribune
New York Times