Commentary: Finding Answers about Digital Frontier

Article excerpt

As The Journal Record's social media editor, I get asked a lot of questions about this new digital frontier, like:

* "Why on earth would I ever waste my time on Facebook?"

* "What is the point of Twitter? I don't care what anyone has for breakfast!"

And, of course, there are those who think I am the editor of the "society pages." Those people may actually be beyond my help.

I have many answers to these questions about social media, which most often come from genuinely curious people. People who know nothing about it - or those who do but "just don't get it" - are beginning to realize that they are falling behind in a world that is learning to communicate without them.

Most of my answers are somewhat paraphrased from the same source, a book called "Groundswell - Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies." It covers just about everything you could possibly want to know about the subject, including how you can apply the technology to grow your business.

"Groundswell" is written by two scholars from Forrester Research Inc., a technology research and business consulting company. The authors, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, are technology thought leaders and longtime analysts who aptly capture the spirit and urgency of this new digital frontier.

The book defines groundswell as "a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations. …