Friday, 27 April 2007

Forrester Social Computing Analysis

Pretty powerful stuff this from Forrester:

At the heart of Social Technographics is consumer data that looks at how consumers approach social technologies – not just the adoption of individual technologies. We group consumers into six different categories of participation – and participation at one level may or may not overlap with participation at other levels. We use the metaphor of a ladder to show this, with the rungs at the higher end of the ladder indicating a higher level of participation.

For example, 13% of US online adult consumers are "Creators" meaning that they have posted to a blog, updated a Web page, or uploaded video they created within the last month. I would fall this group because of this blog. I'm also an avid user of services like so would be a "Collector" as well. But I'm not really active on social networking sites – I'm there mostly for professional reasons, not personal ones, so wouldn't be a "Joiner". Lastly, while I enjoy reading environmental blogs like Treehugger, I'm mostly a "Spectator" when it comes to that content area, although I occasionally add a comment here and there.

The value of Social Technographics comes when it's used by companies to create their social strategies. For example, in the report we look at how Social Technographics profiles differ by primary life motivation, site usage, and even PC ownership.

The report also lays out how companies can create strategies using Social Technographics. For example, I've used the "participation ladder" to help figure out which social strategies to deploy first – and also how to encourage users to "climb up", so to speak, from being Spectators to becoming more engaged. It's my belief that not everyone is cut out from the start to be a Creator; nor is everyone inclined to jump with both feet into social networking. Companies seeking to engage customers with these new tools need to understand where their audiences are with this categorization.

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