The Groundswell Inside Your Company

In the first ten chapters and blog posts, we talked about how you can connect your customers with the groundswell, and now we consider the employees – a natural constituency for social connections. Your employees having something in common. They work for you, and they have a common goal: your company’s success (Li & Bernoff, 2011).

Internal communication can be hindered by the size of the company and information typically flows down the management ladder. Getting insights back up to management and encouraging collaboration among people in the workplace is harder. Many employees are connecting on internal social networks, collaborating on wikis, and contributing to idea exchanges. These ideas, whether coming from management or self-made, tap into the power of the groundswell of ideas among the people who know best how your business runs.

The internal groundswell is all about creating new ways for people to connect and work together, it’s about relationships and not technology. To nurture the groundswell power of your employees: promote listening cultures from the top down, ease and encourage participation with incentives, and find and empower the rebels in your organization.

Internal social applications demand a high level of trust because employees have more at stake when they participate as they usually possess information that has not made been aware to the public such as trade secrets. Unlike external social networks, the participants can’t be anonymous and only works when the culture permits it. Management needs to understand their role and listen to openly contributed opinions. Without management’s active participation, the efforts will fail because there is no substitute for management involvement. Rather than thinking about the things that could go wrong, think about the opportunity cost of not creating enthusiastic employees and be ready to fail.

Social networks can help spark employee communication but no matter what you’re after, in the internal groundswell, the secret to thriving is culture. It is about managing and changing how an organization works. The technologies used to initiate this communication need to involve the active participation of top management, and the participation of your employees to gain the benefits.


Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell. Boston: Harvard Business Review.





Energizing the Groundswell

Energizing can be referred to the power that word of mouth has on your customers and their contacts who may also become future customers to your company. This spread of brand benefits has no cost to your company, word of mouth is a powerful amplifier of brand marketing that achieves results no media campaign can achieve. It succeeds because:

  • It’s believable – Testimonials and comments are more credible than any media source. I frequently read customer reviews when purchasing products online that I haven’t tried before which helps me determine if it is worth the purchase.
  • It’s self-reinforcing – Hearing it from one person is intriguing, but hearing it from many people must make it true. Many good reviews help me make the decision to purchase and try the product myself.
  • It’s self-spreading – If a product is worth using, its word of mouth generates more word of mouth that is exponential. If good reviews lead me to purchase and I enjoy the product and its benefits, I will recommend it to friends and family, thereby sharing my experience.

Word of mouth is the most honest form of marketing, building upon people’s natural desire to share their experiences with family, friends, and colleagues (Li & Bernoff, 2011). As mentioned in my previous posts, listening to the groundswell generates insights and talking to the groundswell is effective, but marketers must not end there. Energizing the groundswell means tapping into the power of word of mouth by connecting with, and turning on, your most committed customers.

Referring back to the Social Technographics Profile of your potential customers and participants of the groundswell, creators are only part of the story. Critics and spectators commenting on blogs or post ratings and reviews, as well as read the blogs, and watch the videos. If you could encourage the creators to write about your brand or product, the people lower down on the ladder will start hearing it and could result in a lot of impact, people believe other people more than media.

The value of an energized customer depends on how much of your business comes from word of mouth, and is based on which customers come to your based on your reputation and referrals, and how much comes from advertising. Another measure of the value of word of mouth is that you can actually buy it by paying a company to hire volunteers to evaluate your product. Generally, customers self-select because they like your products and they keep talking about those products for years which is why it’s worth to energize them. According to the groundswell, there are three basic techniques for connecting with your brand’s enthusiasts:

  1. Tap into customers’ enthusiasm with ratings and reviews
  2. Create a community to energize your customers
  3. Participate in and energize online communities of your brand enthusiasts

There are many benefits to ratings and reviews, which are both highly measurable. Reviews increase the buy rate, as most customers including myself use online reviews to help them make purchases. Research shows that about 80% of reviews are positive, but negative reviews are also essential to the credibility of the site as only positive reviews just don’t seem believable. Ratings and reviews can also help suppliers, it provides a report telling them not only what is selling but what people think of those products.

Depending on what your customer base is like and how you hope to change your relationship with those customers, there are many good ways to energize. You must consider the propensities of your customer base first, then design strategies and choose technologies that match the relationships they already have and provide ways for customers to extend those relationships. Doing this with skill results in your customers to sell to each other. Energizing is both more powerful and riskier than listening and talking because now you’re dealing with people who are going to talk about your brand. There are five steps for applying the techniques of energizing your own organization:

  1. Figure out if you want to energize the groundswell
  2. Check the social technographics profile of your customers
  3. Ask yourself, “what is my customers problem?”
  4. Pick a strategy that fits your customers’ social technographics profile and problems
  5. Don’t start unless you can stick around for the long haul

In energizing the groundswell, you’ll find out that not all your customers are equal. To summarize this chapter, we talked about energizing the base which includes your most enthusiastic customers. The message for any company is to listen and whenever possible, to give customers what they desire most. Energizing the most enthusiastic customers often ends up embracing them, turning those customers into an integral part of the company’s product and processes.


Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell. Boston: Harvard Business Review.

Tapping the Groundswell with Twitter

This chapter begins with the story of a mother who used Twitter to tweet a message directed to McDonalds about her child, who is a superhero fan, receiving a girl toy from a local McDonalds. The company listens to Twitter and uses it to talk to customers. A member from the company customer satisfaction department responded to the Twitter mention and contacted the woman who then received a handwritten note, a dessert coupon, and the toy the child wanted. This story is an example of company’s who use social media to respond to their customers and create solutions. I personally had a bad experience at a well-known retail store I shop at frequently and mentioned the company name in a tweet and a someone from the company from customer care personally contacted me to hear more about my story after I mentioned that I would not return to the store. Although I probably won’t return to that store location, as a customer I felt that my concern was acknowledged even though I was just one of thousands of followers online.

Twitter is an online news and social networking service where users post and interact with messages known as “tweets”, limited to 140 characters. It’s free and open, connects people, and allows registered users to update from anywhere. As a result, it’s rapidly become a key part of the groundswell – driving, reporting on, and extending activity in everything from blogs to social networks (Li & Bernoff, 2011). There are a few elements of Twitter:

  • Followers: Anyone can follow anyone else, it only allows connections to form quickly.
  • Hashtags and searches: All Twitter updates are public, which makes them searchable. Hashtags are terms designed to mark a tweet as referring to a topic and are indicated by the pound or hash sign (#). Searches on hashtags are more precise since the person who included the hashtag in his or her tweet intended it to be searchable. Hashtags are not only limited to Twitter. On Instagram, a mobile photo-sharing application and service, users can share pictures and videos with hashtags that link to similar photos and experiences shares by other users who used the same hashtag. For example, uploading a picture of your cat and including the hashtag #catsofinstagram leads to a large collection of other cat pictures and videos from public profiles of other users.
  • Mentions and tweets: Using the “at” (@) symbol along with the user’s Twitter handle provides an easy way to reply to or reference another Twitter user within a tweet.
  • Links: Tweets can include links to websites. You can share an article or anything else on the web along with a note recommending it.
  • Lists: You can create lists of people you follow and share it.
  • Apps and tools: A tool called TweetDeck is an application for collecting your mentions and searches into columns. CoTweet is a tool that evaluates the influence of Twitter users.

Despite the small amount of users actively tweeting, approximately 7% of adults in the United States, these users have a significant level of importance because they’re among the most influential people. According to the Social Technographics Profile of Tweeters, they are more likely to be creators and conversionalists. Around 10% of all the influence spread in social networks comes from Twitter, and more than 70% of Twitter users say they often tell friends about products that interest them.

Twitter can serve many objectives. When your company starts to connect, people will expect the company to listen and respond and not just broadcast. You still need a primary objective and to be ready for the expectations of your customers. The groundswell suggests five reasons for how to use Twitter:

  1. Listening to Twitter: Listening is essential, if you don’t, then you won’t know what you’re getting in to. Finding staff to watch comments is challenging, but someone should be looking at trends and identifying whether some influential individuals are talking about the brand. There are many listening tools and companies that can help with monitoring tweets and identifying overall sentiment.
  2. Talking to Twitter: Think about what you can offer that might get picked up and repeated by others. A company’s presence will demand responses to service questions, not just tweeting news. The first case of McDonalds is an example of a company that talks to Twitter.
  3. Energizing with Twitter: The key to energizing is listening first, which then enables you to find the people you want to energize. Energizing on Twitter means responding to fans and retweeting them, as well as giving them content to retweet to their own followers.
  4. Supporting with Twitter: More companies are using Twitter to do support. If you create a Twitter account for your company, people will expect you to respond when they tweet their questions and problems to you.
  5. Embracing with Twitter: Embracing the groundswell – collaborating with your own customers on products or marketing strategies is the most challenging of the objectives. Companies find ways to embrace their tweeting customers, such as using Twitter to drive people to surveys. The best way to embrace with Twitter is to engage in dialogue. Developing a following can embrace their ideas.

Twitter will only be effective if you choose a clear objective and develop a strategy to make progress toward that objective. Twitter is the visible face of the company in the groundswell, and the following strategies are also good advice for your social strategy in general:

  • Lock up your handle: “Verified accounts” are prominent brands and individuals that help ensure that people know those handles belong to the real company.
  • Listen first: Know what people are tweeting about you before you start posting.
  • Be ready to support people: You need a procedure to identify users who need help and hand them off to your customer service or technical support group.
  • Follow others: Allows people to send a direct message, a best practice for providing support where people need to share personal information with you.
  • Be ready for a crisis: Form a plan to allow your PR people to turn the Twitter handle into an information channel.
  • Respond, retweet, and link

Accounting Today is an account I recently followed which is an independent news and information resource for tax and accounting professionals (Accounting Today, 2017). Other accounting firms can use Twitter to promote services. Having a blog for your practice is a great way to educate clients and prospects about your services. Twitter is a great tool for sharing relevant and valuable content with your clients and prospects. After you publish each article, you can tweet each new article from your blog and then engage your followers in discussions around the article.


Accounting Today. (2017). Accounting Today. Retrieved from Twitter:

Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell. Boston: Harvard Business Review.

Helping the Groundswell Support Itself

Traditionally, companies have provided support to customers by phone or email, a costly process per call that does not always end in a solution. The self-service revolution produced two trends: companies send people to their websites online where there are a lot of product and problem-solving information and encouraged customers to use it. The second trend was outsourcing – moving support calls overseas because compensation for staff is significantly less.

As companies pursued these shifts to save money, people were frustrated with the long waits, hit-or-miss quality, and paperwork associated with support for their products. This resulted in a new source of information – each other (Li & Bernoff, 2011). People are more willing to trust each other than a company and are willing to spend time helping each other. In terms of using support systems in the accounting industry, it is the service that is provided and received to customers, not products. The support system has to be designed to facilitate exchange of information about the services, where feedback can be given and received from a customer’s experience. This type of system is integral to reputation, which is a large factor for clients to do business with these providers in the areas of tax and audit for example. Because service is hard to measure, an online forum or wiki can be used where clients can collaborate with each other and learn more about a company they are interested in doing business with. This chapter shows three applications that demonstrate the impulse of people willing to help out total strangers, they are: support forums with Dell, wikis with BearingPoint, and questions and answers with Yahoo! and Naver.

Psychic income refers to the personal or subjective benefits, rewards, or satisfactions derived from a job or undertaking as separate from its objective or financial ones. Understanding how to tap the desire for psychic income is a central element of groundswell thinking, if you can tap into that desire, you can turn it into a powerful force. Not just for satisfaction, but for new business as well. An example of this would be helping strangers with random acts that have no monetary benefit to yourself. Many people on company’s forum communicate with and help each other. They aren’t visiting these forums for fun, they are visiting to get answers. If customers are able to solve their own problems, they are less likely to be calling company support lines.

The economics of support forums display that the costs associated with a community support forum are significantly less than the value of the benefits. New support applications provide new benefits, not only do people come to support forums to seek answers but they are willing to support others who share their passion. A second application that brings people together is through wikis, which started as an internal information repository. Using wikis is a common way for companies to harness the collaborative power of their employees as well and has developed to include everybody – clients, technology venders, competitors, and their clients. Wikis are about collaboration and invites the collection of new intellectual property: information. People are able to add to the content and doesn’t allow them to change it arbitrarily – it is done though management. Significant savings are a result when a company centralizes its information internally and as a result, the benefit the company gets is making its customers feel supported.

Your goals should help determine if you should tap into the search for psychic income. Helping your customers support each other will make them happier, save money, and generate insights if properly managed. Before you begin you should examine what problem you will solve, how you will participate, and whether you should create a support community or join an existing one. Support communities need activity – activity creates content, which creates traffic and links, who boosts search engine placement, which drives more traffic, and so on.

Finally, if you do decide to go forward with building a community for support, the groundswell provides some suggestions:

  • Start small, but plan for a larger presence
  • Reach out to your most active customers
  • Plan to drive traffic to your community
  • Build a reputation system
  • Let your customers lead you

Your forum or wiki will become central to where customers talk about everything. Support communities are much richer in content than support departments and you will end up collaborating with your customers to create better products. That’s taking the power of psychic income and building it into your business.


Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell. Boston: Harvard Business Review.

Talking with the Groundswell

This week’s reading summarizes talking with the groundswell. Two of the main and expensive that marketing departments use to connect to customers is advertising and public relations with the most money being spent on television commercials. The main measures of advertising are reach, which is the number of individuals contacted, and frequency which is the number of times each person is contacted. The key to advertising is mass, public relations on the other hand aims at exposure in the free media.

The marketing funnel is a metaphor that describes how customers move down the path from awareness to purchase to loyalty. In traditional marketing theory, consumers are driven into the big end through awareness activities like advertising. They proceed through stages including consideration, preference, and action – to become buyers. Marketers have little control over what happens in the middle stages, but the influence of the groundswell is the heaviest there (Li & Bernoff, 2011). Forester Research analysts discovered that marketers no longer dictate the path that people take to conclude that once people are aware of your product, a new dynamic kicks in. That is, people are learning from each other.

Social technologies influence word of mouth which is increasing the influence of regular people while diluting the value of traditional marketing. Most people trust recommendations from friends and acquaintances over reviews from strangers. This influences the idea that advertising and marketing is only limited with customers and the best approach is to talk with customers and listen as they are talking back. Relating back to the first activity, the company I work for maintains a large and interactive presence online and the majority of customer comments and inquiries are replied to within the same day. Customers provide feedback such as the experience they had or items on the menu that are available in some locations and not in others that they want to see back in the menu. The most common way this company talks with the groundswell is engaging in social networks such as Facebook where people can comment on and share posts. It is used as a means of advertising as well as for other people to tag their friends in, who all become engaged. There are lots of ways to talk with the groundswell. The most common ways are:
1. Post a viral video.

2. Engage in social networks and user-generated content site.

3. Join the blogosphere.

4. Create a community

They key to succeeding in social networks is to help people spread your message and to measure the result, but branding on social networks isn’t for everyone. To determine if you should use social networking sites to talk with your prospective customers, the groundswell provides some advice:
• Use the Social Technographics Profile to verify that your customers are in social networks
• Move forward if people love your brand
• See what’s out there already
• Create a presence that encourages interaction
If you’re ready to make a longer-term commitment to your customers, then it may be time to look at another way to talk with the groundswell: blogging.

Many products are complex and buyers need help as they reach the middle of the funnel: consideration and preference. Buyers need a human face to help them along. A variety of blogs all over a company will help generate traffic and awareness. The main benefit is that they company can respond to customers in the middle of the funnel. Blogs generate trust because they’re personal statements from the executives and they stimulate discussion among other buyers and bloggers.

The prerequisite for starting a blog is to want to engage in dialogue with your customers. What starts on blogs can rapidly spread to mainstream media. If your company is ready to consider entering the blogosphere, remember to start with people and objectives – the P and O in POST. There are 10 suggestions for beginning the dialogue followed by implementing your strategy and technology appropriate to accomplish your objectives:
1. Start by listening
2. Determine a goal for the blog
3. Estimate the ROI
4. Develop a plan
5. Rehearse
6. Develop and editorial process
7. Design the blog and its connection to your site
8. Develop a marketing plan so people can find the blog
9. Remember, blogging is more than writing
10. Final advice: Be honest

To summarize, we have now seen four ways to talk with the groundswell – viral videos, social networks, blogs, and communities. All the marketing techniques in this chapter tap into word of mouth: talking with the groundswell means stimulating conversation. Which will work for you?

Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell. Boston: Harvard Business Review.

Strategies for Tapping the Groundswell

This week’s reading summarizes the strategy for tapping the groundswell. Companies want to know how to get themselves to become a part of the social networking space but they’re nervous about moving forward. It is a problem so common that there is a name for it: groundswell approach-avoidance syndrome. There’s a cure for this syndrome, and it is to ask yourself what are your customers ready for and then plan your objectives. Most start with thinking about the technology aspect but technology is shifting so rapidly you must work backwards and then you can start planning.

The four-step planning process POST will help you build your groundswell strategy. POST translates to people, objectives, strategy, and technology and is a foundation of groundswell thinking (Li & Bernoff, 2011).

  • People: What are your customers ready for? The Social Technographics Profile is designed to answer this question, it is important to assess how your customers will engage based on what they are already doing.
  • Objectives: What are your goals? The clarity of your objectives will make or break your strategy.
  • Strategy: How do you want relationships with your customers to change? By answering this question, you can plan for the desired changes and figure out how to measure them once is strategy is implemented.
  • Technology: What applications should you build?

Creating and implementing a strategy is challenging because there are few precedents and role models to follow. It is important to be aware of the challenges and be prepared to fix them. Many sources of failure relate to the four elements of the POST process – failures in assessing people’s tendencies, a weak definition of objectives, failure to think through strategy, and poor technology implementation. When problems arise go back to POST. Diagnosing how a social initiative is failing is the first step to fixing the problem. Each company must adopt the tactics that are right for its customers and its way of doing business and adapt as the technologies change.

There are five primary objectives that companies successfully pursue in the groundswell. You should select the one that best matches the objectives of your company as a whole:

  1. Listening
  2. Talking
  3. Energizing
  4. Supporting
  5. Embracing

These objectives are already linked to familiar business functions within your company, except that they can also focus on the engagement with customers and include more communication – especially communication between customers. Your strategy should be designed from the start to focus on a primary objective, and it is progress toward that objective that you should measure, which in return will help you be able to measure the return on your groundswell investment.

In applications for business, the people side is even more important because the people you engage with have a parallel role within their companies. In business-to-business settings, picking an objective first is still the best practice. You can listen to, talk energize, support, or embrace your business customers – business people – just as you would consumers.


Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell. Boston: Harvard Business Review.

How Connecting with the Groundswell Transforms your Company

This week’s reading outlines with how organizations can master three key elements of groundswell thinking to transform how their companies work with customers. The fundamental basis is to keep the customer at the center of your organization and so far we have learned some of the ways and methods to tap into our customer base and listen to our customers. An organization goes through a mental shift – we realize our customers’ needs and wants and want to become a part of it. This leads to transformation – to start with a few key employees and then making it into an organization-wide movement. There are three essential elements to this transformation: First is that it’s important to incorporate groundswell thinking step by step into your organization, a mental shift takes time and practice as well as building shared success. You will gain more support for groundswell thinking if you can show a series of successes that have impact. Second, each step along the way to build the movement leads to a natural progression. It is important to have a vision and a plan, ideally the vision of the kind of conversation you want with your customers. Third, you have to execute support by building leaders into the plan. You have to sell someone in upper management on groundswell thinking if you want your efforts and ideas to become a reality in the organization.

If you are reading this, you could be the person to start your company on the path to benefiting from the groundswell. Here’s what you should do to make sure you and your company have the best chance at succeeding.

  • First, start small. The change will take time so pick your plans strategically.
  • Second, educate your executives. A great place to start is to launch internal blogs, social networks, and show them the technologies to demonstrate the benefits for your company.
  • Third, get the right people to run your strategy. Pick the person who has the most passion about starting a relationship with your customers.
  • Fourth, get your agency and technology partners in sync. If they don’t understand the groundswell, get them to invest the time and resources, or change agencies.
  • Lastly, plan for the next step and for the long term. You want to know where this going to take the company.

In the industry, accountants must improve customer service skills or risk losing clients. Usually this has nothing to do with their lack of knowledge or professional service. It is mainly due to the lack of ability to communicate effectively on a personal basis and understand the needs of clients. Firms need both entrepreneurship and management to be successful. Entrepreneurship takes place by influencing how the elements of groundswell can transform your company and management can craft a plan. In return, firms reduce risk, increase innovation and learning, and provide clients with a new kind of accounting service.


Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell. Boston: Harvard Business Review.

Listening to Groundswell

This week’s reading is on listening to the groundswell. Consumers are leaving clues about their opinions, positive and negative, on a daily or hourly basis. A basic strategy to listen is to do a google search, listening is potentially the most neglected skill in business. In the era of groundswell, listening is easy and you will only hear from people willing to talk about:

  • Blogging about store experience, selection, their favourite products
  • Discussing pros and cons of products features, your prices, and your customer support.
  • Rating your products and services o yelp and trip advisor

Your brand is whatever your customers say it is. In the groundswell where they communicate with each other, they decide because brands belong to customers, not companies. I thought this was an interesting statement because the company is a tool to create value for the brand but it ultimately influenced by the experience of the customer.

The depth of listening to the customers is called market research, and companies pay a lot of money for research sources.  Syndicated research is a valuable tool for mapping trends, but it can’t tell you what people are thinking. To gain real insight, you’re better off working with vendors that provide professional tools. There are two basic ways to do this:

  1. Set up your own private community: It is like a continuously running, huge, engaged focus group – a natural interaction in a setting where you can listen in. Communispace is a supplier of private communities that has set up hundreds of private communities for its clients. It is a listening machine that generates insight.
  2. Begin brand monitoring: Hire a company to listen to the internet: blogs, discussion forums, twitter, and everything else on your behalf.

To profit from listening, you need a plan to act on what you learn. There are many reasons why to start listening to your customers. You will find out what your brand stands for, understand how buzz is shifting, save research money and increase research responsiveness, find the sources of influence in your market and to generate new products and marketing ideas. The social technographics profile of your customer is a great way to start listening as it is most effective if your customers are in the groundswell to begin with. The number of critics and creators in your customer base can also help you to determine which path to take: brand monitoring or starting a private community instead.

As you get smarter by listening to the groundswell, you should prepare for some of the ways it will change your organization. It’s likely to change the power and structure in your organization. Marketing and research departments will become more central to how decisions are made. Second, the instant availability of information from customers, the results should be integrated into corporate decision making. A third way is that the ability to measure and quantify customer concerns becomes more accurate, it’s hard to deny that it has been overlooked.

While listening is an important part of a conversation, every conversation includes talking as well. Listeners feel the need to respond by talking within the groundswell by publishing blogs, contributing to user-generated content sites, and setting up communities. If you’re listening now, expect to be talking soon.


Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell. Boston: Harvard Business Review.

The Social Technographics Profile

The Social Technographics Profile is a tool that allows people in business to examine and then create strategies based on the groundswell tendencies of any group of people, anywhere. It’s similar to demographics and psychographics but focuses on technology behaviours with a purpose to concentrate on the relationships, not the technologies. This profile is designed to allow you to compare any two groups of people, its core is a way to group people based on the groundswell activities in which they participate. If that group happens to be your customers or followers, you can use their Social Technographics Profile to build an appropriate social strategy.

The featured image includes the following groups in the Social Technographics Profile: The creators, conversationalists, critics, collectors, joiners, spectators, and inactives. In the case of groundswell, the key is to reach the creators and critics. For creators and conversationalists, critics are essential to maintain online interaction.

Unfortunately, the Forrester Tool was not available but it is still possible to make a reasonable estimate of the social activity your customer or follower base. A custom survey can be asked to find out what technologies they use. The primary target for this activity is 18-25 year olds in Canada.

The final question asks why people participate in groundswell. There are many possible answers which include their emotional motivation and what they get out of it. According to the textbook, some reasons for participation include to keep up friendships, make new friends, succumbing to social pressure from existing friends, paying it forward, and other various impulses (Li & Bernoff, 2011). The biggest challenge isn’t whether you are mastering the technology or delighting your followers, its whether you’re accomplishing a business goal and how you will measure that success. To get there you will need not only the data shown in this chapter but also a clear strategy for groundswell thinking.


Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell. Boston: Harvard Business Review.

Users of the World Unite

I started this blog as my first major assignment for my social media marketing class. Every week I will be posting a summary of the readings in this course and then relating the readings to the accounting industry which is the career path I chose to pursue.

This week I read an article titled “Users of the World Unite” (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010), which goes into detail the concept of social media and its applications. This article provides some clarification on what the term “social media” means. Social media is computer-mediated technologies that are user generated through various platforms that allow the creating and sharing of information, ideas, interests, and other forms of expression through virtual communities and networks. These platforms are publicly available and are created by end-users, and has evolved rapidly over the years.

The topic of social media is of interest to me because there is a continuing shift in the way we communicate and connect with each other. My experience with social media is through social media websites such as FaceBook and LinkedIn, applications such as Instagram and Snapchat, as well as content communities such as YouTube and Pinterest.

Although there are numerous benefits to social media, there are many questions to consider. Is social media helping or hindering your life? Is it safe? Can it increase productivity – or is it simply a place to diminish a considerable amount of time? When using any social media platform, it is important to take responsibility for your own safety. Take caution and protect your privacy. Be careful with what you post and interact with others as if you were in a face-to-face situation.


Kaplan, A., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the World Unite. Business Horizons, 53(1). Retrieved from