Charlene Li

Analyst, Altimeter Group

Charlene Li

Charlene Li's prediction for the future of networking is one where our online connections to others are like air--as natural and intuitive as breathing. Looking into a future 5 or 10 years down the road our online identities will be universal. We will control them, and they will join together our activity in many spheres, such as email and mobile, in addition to the worldwide web. This synthesis will give a more complete picture of who we are.

Li feels that while current social networks such as Facebook provide a fun way for us to keep in touch with others, they express our relationships and how we view and use them in a minimal, two-dimensional way. In the future our social networks will become more complete and multilayered. As a result, we will know more about one another, and be able to look to the people we know for information or advice, and they to us.

This deepening of social networks will cause business models to change. Companies will learn to effectively take advantage of the influence we have on others, not through exploitation, but by understanding a natural desire that is even now being expressed: the desire to offer opinions and advice about products to others.

Charlene Li is an independent thought leader on emerging technologies, with a specific focus on social technologies, interactive media, and marketing. She is also the co-author of the business bestseller, "Groundswell: Winning In A World Transformed By Social Technologies", published by Harvard Business Press in May 2008. Charlene is one of the most frequently-quoted and sought-after industry analysts. She has appeared on national networks and newspapers and has presented frequently at top technology conferences. Most recently, Charlene was a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research. She joined Forrester in 1999, after spending five years in online and newspaper publishing with the San Jose Mercury News and Community Newspaper Company. She was also a consultant with Monitor Group in Boston and Amsterdam. She is a graduate of Harvard Business School and received a magna cum laude degree from Harvard College.


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