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.

TechCrunch50, Forrester and 8 other sites that require your attention

You know, it’s amazing how life just throws you softballs, curveballs, fastballs, whiffleballs and screwballs. It’s all in how you take the pitch. Do you hit it? Or wait for your pitch?  With that being said, lets look at some sites and posts that might require your attention over the weekend.

The TechCrunch50 just concluded and there were a couple of entries that really stood out to me. I thought that Steve Spalding brought up some good points in his Techcrunch50 recap in regards to why some of the entries may or may not make it and I have to agree with him on icharts Icharts has a crappy tagline but a great premise. Make better charts, make them seo friendly and searchable and interactive. Things that I would love to do for some of the lame charts I create. Maybe they’d kick me a free trial so I can review it?

I’d highly recommend fitbit too. since we’re all obsessed with losing weight, gaining muscle etc etc. Fitbit is a device and website that makes you aware of how active you are and what you eat. Go figure, a site and product with a way to make actual money!

My other favorite was Goodguide, it has a great idea and is so dead on right now. I think it’s only hurdle might be widespread adoption.  Goodguide provides free and easy access to the world’s largest and most reliable source of information on the health, environmental and social impacts of products and companies.

Of course be sure to check out this years winner Yammer, which is essentially enterprise level Twitter. Yammer had a ton of action as soon as it was released publicly. They too have a business model as well, but it can be used freely.

Be sure to read Carter Lusher’s post When hype can go overboard and hurt credibility  he mentions some Analyst ‘hype-alert’ verbiage  to be on the look out for.

Joseph Jaffe adds more than just his 2 cents on his blog post about Why the term “Agency of the Future” is an oxymoron (you can choose if you’re the ox or moron) Its a definite keeper.

When you get a chance, test drive this site SpinVox and tell me what you think.

I’ve been participating remotely to events all week and have to say that the access to all them has been awsome they are: IzeafestThe Techcrunch50,  and the T3PR confeerence to a certain degree. I think it’s important that though you may not be able to be there physically, you can still interact via, Twitter, Summize and the live web casts. I’d highly suggest you check your calendars.

Lastly,  Forrester, has pushed out it’s submissions for Groundswell awards, check out some of the companies up for awards, it might help you hone in on your OWN social media strategy. Imitation is the best form of flattery!

Listening and social media: 5 videos that drive the point home

Humility is the defining characteristic of an unpretentious and modest person, someone who does not think that he or she is better or more important than others.

We talk so much about the art of the conversation and how this new age has spurred countless conversations where we are able to share with each other and grow and nourish ideas that could one day create endless possibilities for everyone. But what happens if the conversations are one sided? How many of the conversations out there are taking place between one willing participant and someone who is in it, to win it, so to speak, no pun intended? Are you listening? Or is conversation a dying art?

Here’s an example: Forrester Research Vice President Josh Bernoff highlights one of the five primary objectives companies successfully pursue in the Groundswell: Listening. In this example, a group of twenty-one dedicated cancer centers formed the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) to better listen to patient needs. October 11, 2007 in Chicago.

 

WHY DO WE TWEET

How many conversations take place today or are originated for the purpose of self-aggrandizement? I think more than we will ever know?  Do you think some of our finest web 2.0 thinkers are twittering for the sake of engaging in worthwhile conversations? Are they tweeting for branding purposes? How many of you comment on people’s blog or tweet, but yet bring nothing of intrinsic value to the actual conversation? How many of you don’t care if someone responds or not? Don’t all stand up at once either. Here is twitter explained for all you common folk out there, thanks Common Craft

 

I think we have an inate desire to be heard as well as to be seen and this truly does speak to this generation that I’m calling Generation U for “Generation User” as in generated content. But see, we want to be seen and heard, but rarely do we want to listen, when in actuality, that’s truly where the conversation begins and possibilities are created. Do you spend most of your time listening and reading, or do you create lots of content and vomit the information of whoever and whomever? Do you listen with the intent to understand?


 

So if that truly is the case, do we, or some of our more active purveyours of user generated content, even care about what others might think? Do they even ask what we think? If they did, I would expect the conversations to consist of them choosing to hear what they wanted to hear. God forbid it’s constructive criticism.

Ironically, Chris Brogan has written a post called 100 Personal Branding Tactics Using Social Media in which the first thing he leads off with is… Listening That’s right listening. And not a year prior he wrote solely on the subject of…Listening

I’m sure if you were to ask some of the top social media experts, and I know of about 30 or so, I would imagine that they would collectively say it is more important to listen than it is to talk. How many would understand the importance of listening with humility though? To listen, to truly listen? The disconnect happens when two parties get together and both have these agendas, which they seem to be paying more attention to then the actual conversation itself.

I want the age of conversation to be about what we can do collectively instead of what’s in it for me. The hyper link that preceded that statement, those guys get it. And most do, but I want you, all of you, to start listening, instead of hearing, what someone has to say.

THE MORE YOU KNOW, THE MORE YOU REALIZE WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW

So if you think about, look around and look at what everyone is talking about, it’s the conversation, it’s the word of mouth marketing buzz. We talk about it from the one side but not the other, the listening aspect. The art of listening.

We have more tools than we have ever had that help us with the conversation but we need to really start listening with humility, with a deep understanding of what the person or person’s across from us, is saying. All of these social media tools allow us more access than we have ever had in our lives, to conversations. A way for us to listen and to understand. Lastly, Look what Todd Defren has to say, it’s a quick blurb, so make sure you listen!. By the way, I told Todd I would add him to my new updated list of social media experts coming out soon.

 

So what sayeth you? I’m listening. Do people hear what you are talking about? Are you talking over their heads? Or vice versa? How can you improve the dialogue?