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Groundswell: Your Moment Has Passed.

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So 2008.

I’m done with Groundswell.

Oh, I like the book. A lot. And the argument for an empowered people (via social technologies) continues to make excellent sense. Li and Bernoff did a great service by gathering facts and stories into a rational retelling of where we are today with hearing and connecting en masse.

When I first read Groundswell, emotive moments of recognition flickered constantly. Li and Bernoff led the way in helping me understand this unfolding opportunity lodged in my computer. But those moments are not just in my computer any more. They are on my phone, in my pocket and before my eyes as I walk.

It’s the ubiquity of the opportunity that makes everything look different.

Students in my class assume forums for support will be available, they turn to product and service reviews first—why wouldn’t they? Reviews from peers have always been available. These self-proclaimed 90s kids (I guess that’s a thing) interact in most of the ways that Li and Bernoff predicted. So there are few emotive flickers from them even as I shout “Yes!” (possibly to their “Huh?” and amusement). And these students demonstrate a familiarity with technology far advanced from students even two years ago.

So…wheels turn and time goes on and books fade to triviality. I’ll suppose I’ll check out Empowered next time I teach this class. The last thing anybody needs is another old guy in their life telling how things used to be.

And this: the Groundswell moment just passed has opened on a much wider vista that seems to invite collaboration like never before. To not listen to each other is starting to feel like a cardinal sin. Not because it dishonors the human condition (which it does) but because the opportunities in working together are beginning to look massive.

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