One Rung Up??
March 7, 2009 27 Comments
Ever since I first laid eyes on it, I liked the Forrester “Social Technographics Ladder”, which seeks to depict levels of involvement in social media by people according to usage patterns. The higher up the ladder, obviously, the greater the level of engagement.
However, the more I thought about it, the more I felt that it was one rung short of a full ladder. I believe there is a higher-level role, an influencer/organizer/builder, who not only does pretty much everything on all the other rungs, but performs some very significant leadership functions using social media. This is different from the “Collector”, who is operating more on a personal level, and not seeking to build higher-level structure.
Here’s the concept – I’ve simply taken the Forrester graphic and added a rung. What do you think? Valid? Helpful? Just plain wrong? Feel free to discuss in the comments (and see the Update below this graphic – this thing is evolving rapidly!)
(original graphic copyright Forrester Research, Inc.)
Update: based on the back-and forth in the commentary, I’ve thrown together a drawing (please excuse the awful graphics – there’s a reason I’m not a designer!) that reflects a more behavior-based approach to the above, a different spin on stratifying the on-line world, and a consideration of progression/”hierarchy” :
If you think of on-line web networks as Content (blogs, pics, etc.), Commentary (commenting, rating, tagging), and Community (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.), then you see that people can engage in one or multiple behaviors in these different strata. Most people start as Consumers, and the easiest point of entry as a Contributor is to join an established network. Not everyone will feel that they have something to contribute as a creator of content, but it can progress to that as comfort level and confidence increase. Those who have the capacity and drive to be Consolidators (think community builders, event organizers, authors, curators, app creators – people like Chris Brogan, Ann Handley, Shannon Whitley, Brian Solis, Liz Strauss, the Twitter team, etc.) are those who seek to pull together disparate people and resources and create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.
The only difficulty here is that a diagram like the one above, even if more accurate, doesn’t have the same cachet as a ladder analogy! So, let’s put away the ladder and think about…Pies. You’ve been invited to be part of a townwide pie baking/eating/judging festival. You can participate, at no charge, in any activities you’d like – you can just come and eat, or merely observe others; you can serve as a judge and rate pies; you can create your own pies and enter them; you can join the pie-baking club/network; or you can be part of the organizing committee. Any or all of the above. The deeper in you go, the more you learn, the better your recipes get, the more fellow pie-bakers you meet.
On-line, we’re all observing, partaking, creating, rating, joining up, and organizing. And every action and role is good. Especially when it involves banana or coconut cream pies. Just sayin’…