It's striking to see companies go to such lengths to understand what average Americans are doing. Did Henry Ford conduct ethnographies to figure out that his factory workers wanted to buy cars as much as the upper crust? Perhaps not, but as you'll see in our cover story for this issue, Ford puts a great deal of effort into understanding consumers and what they're saying on social networks today.
Despite all the apparent transparency of social media, getting to know your target consumers today is actually very difficult; perhaps more difficult than it's ever been. Companies that do it well work hard at it.