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Social Computing Empowering the Individual

Forrester Research reports on "How Networks Erode Institutional Power, And What to Do About It" -- Easy networked connections brought about by cheap devices, modular content, and shared computing resources are having a profound impact on our global economy and social structure.

Individuals increasingly take cues from one another rather than from institutional sources like corporations, media outlets, religions, and political bodies. To thrive in an era of social computing and the connected consumer, companies must abandon top-down management and communication tactics, weave communities into their products and services, use employees and partners as marketers, and become part of a living fabric of brand loyalists.

Between August 2004 and July 2005, social computing tools like blogs and Really Simple Syndication (RSS) grew dramatically across the board. Consumers regularly use blogs twice as much as they did the year before, with 10 percent now reading them at least once a week. RSS feeds are more popular today than blogs were previously. Web sites and media feeds are gaining more attention, especially among youth, and marketers should take notice.

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