Three years ago, Josh Bernoff and I proudly launched our book, Groundswell. To our astonishment, it has sold more than 100,000 books and now a new, updated paperback version is available (links below), with two new chapters on how to use Twitter and social maturity.
A lot has changed over the past three years – in May 2008, Facebook and Twitter were still nascent and the iPhone had no apps! To address this, Josh added a new chapter about Twitter. But the theme of the book — that you have to focus first on the relationships created by social technologies (and not the technologies themselves) – still resonates today.
At the same time, very little has changed. One of my favorite examples in Groundswell is how Dell responded to one of their notebooks spontaneously bursting into flames in June 2006. The chief blogger, Lionel Menchaca, wrote a blog post titled, “Flaming Notebook” that linked to a photo of that laptop on fire. Talk about guts! That was five years ago, and as a whole, organizations still lack the maturity to be able to truly engage in an honest, authentic dialog – despite their adoption of social technologies.
Groundswell has a new chapter discussing social maturity and Forrester published a report this week on the topic. My organization, Altimeter Group, has done research and consulting on this, as have agencies like Dachis. The fact that so many people are chiming in on how to address social strategies is an indication of the strong interest. But the fact that so many organizations are still treating social as a marketing and messaging channel demonstrates that we still have a long, long way to go.
A key reason why I wrote my second book, Open Leadership, is because leaders could viscerally feel the change that social media was causing in the pit of their stomach – and they lacked the framework to understand how to think, act, and lead in a new environment where relationships were being formed in these new channels. Leadership is built on relationships, and leaders in general have failed to grasp this change.
But by far my favorite part of the new paperback edition is the quotes from readers describing the impact Groundswell has had on them. It is the most gratifying and humbling experience as an author to know that your words have had an impact. I love it when readers show me their books that have been highlighted, dog-eared, and filled with post-it notes. (This photo is from Elizabeth Gebhardt, who showed me her book at an event in 2009.) And I am especially awed when people tell me that Groundswell inspired them to start new jobs or even careers because of the inspiration they got from the book.
So from the bottom of my heart, thank you to all of the readers of Groundswell, and I hope to all of the new readers that you find it just as relevant today. It has been a joy hearing from you over the past three years and I hope to continue growing the relationship we’ve begun!
Where to buy the Groundswell paperback: