After starting to read Groundswell, I devoured it over the last few days. Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff write a good book. If you are involved in social media you should definitely read this book.
I admit that I jumped ahead to chapter 11 of the book: The Groundswell Inside Your Company. That chapter seemed the most interesting to me since I am mostly interested in the impact of social media within the enterprise. That chapter provided a great deal of insight, so I decided to jump back to page 1.
Charlene and Josh group consumers into six different categories of participation: Inactives, Spectators, Joiners, Collectors, Critics and Creators. They use a paradigm of a ladder to show the level of participation and call it the Social Technographics ladder.
When designing an online community or when reaching out to your customers with social media, you should look at where they stand on the ladder. Forrester's offers a basic tool for Building Your Customers' Social Technographics Profile on the Groundswell Website.
The focus of the book is not about technology, although technology has a role. The book is about listening to your customers, your clients and your employees to improve your business. The book shows that there are some new ways to do that listening and to interact with your constituencies.
For full disclosure, Josh did send me a copy of the book gratis. But you should buy it. It is definitely worth adding to your bookshelf.