How do YOU use Social Media?

About a month ago, we had a robust discussion on this blog about some possible adaptations to the Forrester Research “Social Technographics Ladder.” You can review that post “One Rung Up?” right here – which is going to provide the backdrop for this muse.

The more I thought about, the more I felt that there was an element missing – we don’t have just one type of social media, and our behaviors may be quite different in different platforms. So, let me propose this graphic for further discussion (explanations below):

social-media-usage-patternsCurrently, we might classify social media involvement into (roughly) three categories – Lifestream networks (where participants are putting brief thoughts, publishing photos, sharing links, commenting, etc.); Focused member networks (often professional or highly targeted); and Open networks on the web, where you can interact and participate without necessarily having to “join” a separate platform.

The Social Technographics ladder discusses a certain hierarchy of behaviors, but in fact, behaviors can differ, even by the same person, within different types of networks. Based on the interaction in the prior post, I’ve boiled down the behaviors into 3 main categories – Consume (look, read, digest, etc.); Contribute (comment, rate, publish, etc.); and Curate (organize communities and information). As you can readily see, what I might do in one type of community (say, lifestreaming, where I may actively publish) isn’t necessarily the same as in another (perhaps I don’t feel comfortable creating a blog or Twittering).

Just some further brainstorming. What do you think? Put your ideas in the Comments…


About Steve Woodruff
Steve Woodruff is a blogger, a Connection Agent, and a consultant in the pharma/healthcare industry. He specializes in helping people and companies make mutually beneficial connections.

9 Responses to How do YOU use Social Media?

  1. I like where you’re going with this. The only problem is that things change so quickly that as soon as these lines are drawn, the services will implement additional features and blur the distinctions.

  2. samsmomjen says:

    Like where this is going but not exactly sure what you mean by curate.

    Have long thought that people were foolish to have the same networks on linkedin and facebook. For me, facebook is for friends and family, linkedin for business networks and twitter for gaining new networks of both.

  3. Ann Handley says:

    Nice way to think of this, Steve.

    I’d also add that behaviors can change, even by the same person, within different types of networks, on different days/over spans of time. Lately I’ve reconnected with Facebook, for example, but I went for months ignoring it completely. And I used to have a MySpace page, but I can’t for the life of me remember where I put it…!

  4. Anne Howe says:

    Like this model, but I use Twitter for all three, concentratin g on both lifestream and open, as I do use LinkedIn for business. Simple models are best IMHO.

  5. Rosa Say says:

    At first take this got me laughing at myself this morning Steve, thinking “I am sooo not normal!” for my first inclination was to check all the boxes!

    I liked your ladder before because it portrayed the learning evolution of it all, with us stepping up rung by rung to see just how high we could go. I think the greatest gift of social media today is the way that it gets us out of lurking and silent reading so much quicker than blogs initially did; people come out to play.

  6. Steve-

    I agree with Shannon’s thought.

    For example, just look at how LinkedIn has evolved in the past few months.

    I’ve been an active LI user for a long time and the recent ability on LI to “contribute” and “curate” on several levels has greatly increased these past few months; through Groups and other platforms.

    All of a sudden I’m finding myself spending a lot more time on LI than ever before.

    What does this mean? Simply that some services may stay true to form “as is” without evolving and integrating certain human behaviors (nothing wrong with that, for sure) and some will evolve into communication tools that may not only integrate the three behaviors you outline, but new ones, as well.

  7. Personally, I have a completely different frame of mind depending on the network I’m on at the time. On Facebook, I’m mostly interested in my friends and socializing. On Twitter, I’m just taking it all in, getting info from celebrities, industry mavens, friends, you name it. On LinkedIn, I’m thinking all business and connecting (and reconnecting with colleagues).

    I think that’s why it’s unfair to lump them all into the same category as competitors.


  8. Xavier Petit says:

    “behaviors can differ, even by the same person, within different types of networks”. This is right on.
    Regarding twitter, I m thinking that twitter is definitely unique in that beyond consuming, it can actually be used as an advertising channel for the 2 other networks and as a channel to gather info.
    So in response to Anne’s comment “I use twitter for all three”, actually, on top of consuming with twitter, we use Twitter to channel our “currating” and/or “contributing”, but the content is not on twitter. Twitter is just a way for us to get the info from, or advertise the info posted on other sites (like advertising?…).

  9. John Fisher says:

    I like the new graphic and also the comments. This topic is certainly popular! I see this as a way to communicate the various types of social networking Channels to people or organizations that are wondering “what’s this all about”. I see it as less effective for those who are using social networks because they have already chosen to join in, and as several people have stated – things change.
    A friend of mine actually uses Twitter to keep in touch with clients, communicate progress or ask simple questions. Depending on how you set it up, Twitter can be a replacement for IM, which many corporations have either banned or limited to specific tools. Any of these channels can definitely be used for things other than what they were intended, which is after all “what it’s all about”.
    Thanks for the brain exercise this morning.

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