Oprah Time: Crowd Surfing by David Brain and Martin Thomas

David and Emma at Edelman sent through a copy of Crowd Surfing to me. I managed to read it in a about a week of tube journeys. Crowd Surfing is about the social changes and the channels (both online and offline) that have facilitated democratic direct action in modern society.

This is an area that people like Clay Shirky and others have touched upon, but Brain and Thomas bring a more European perspective in the case studies and examples. The authors also ensure that they do not get bogged down in the social media tools and recognise that consumer empowerment and action also exists in the offline world.

The authors spend a good deal of time trying explain why Apple is the successful exception to the rule in the world of the ‘naked corporation’ with little apparent customer engagement compared to peers like Microsoft and Dell.

Although they miss the important role of the product design in the relationship between Apple products and their owners. Having owned an Apple product, I have found that you eventually come across a problem and then find an elegant solution to it. Someone had sweated over the detail way before you got there.

That’s why my MacBook Pro has a name rather than just being considered a utility like a pen or a drawer of Snap-on gear; it is called Toshiro (after Toshirō Mifune 三船 敏郎).

Like all good books in this area there is a blog to amplify and add to the print content.

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