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.