Is the Forrester Groundswell biased?

I’ve been looking at the finalists submissions for the Forrester Groundswell Awards and I’m wondering if choosing the winning entries based on proof of business value might be looking at the value proposition the wrong way. I’ve blogged about and complained about how social media sites and networks need to have a better way to monetize what they’re doing, and lets face it we all want to make money.

But, what if I’m completely seeing this the wrong way? What if the value of a social network isn’t in the amount of money it’s generating, but it’s instead about the quality of the community and the value it brings to each and every member of that community? And THAT is the true essence?

I know this completely smacks in the face of why we go to work everyday. And it also reeks of the “if you build it they will come” mindset or is that blindset? but…. Should Forrester be focusing on a bigger “world view” of social media and social networks instead of proof of business value?

I also see that Forrester has segmented out the finalists  entries into a few distinct categories. Are these too broad? Or too narrow? Or too generalized?

Listening

Talking

Energizing

Supporting

Embracing

Managing

Social Impact

What would you add to this list that might make it more complete? Forrester says that they got over 150 submissions, 151 to be exact, and they have whittled it down to 128What made the other 22 unworthy? I know, I know, lack of proof of business value. I just need to look at what justifies a win in social media and social networks. It may go back to my what’s more important question: ROI or Engagement. So what is it?

*Note Forrester has since called me to clarify that no one has been eliminated or whittled down, and that ALL entries will be judged on their proof of business value. Apparently there was an issue with one of the pages. I stand corrected.

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4 thoughts on “Is the Forrester Groundswell biased?

  1. Marc,

    I have to agree with the thought posed here. Sometimes the value of the community doesn’t necessarily need to be monetary. I reposted this on inSocialMedia.com for our members to read. Feel free to come post more.

    Regards,

    Nelson

  2. Cool take. Of course the bigger purpose of social networking is the social and the networking parts of it, the connection. But there still needs to be money in play. Without the prospect of profit none of the networks will exist. That is simply capitalism. However, I think the the entire concept of monetization is in an evolution online, especially for Social Networks. People are going to have to get more creative to let the money flow. It will happen. Creative problem solver are flocking to this field. Give it a bit more time.

    Nice post.

  3. This is a my second try at a comment on this post — not sure why the first one didn’t show up.

    We didn’t whittle anything down, all the entries are either up or will be up soon.

    We judge entries based on business value since we think that is important and nobody else rewards it. Others are welcome to measure their value any way they want — you have raised some interesting questions on this point — and we’re not against other forms of value measurement, but we think measuring business value is certainly interesting and important.

    With so many entries, there appear to be plenty of people willing to compete on this basis.

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