Forrester recently published a report titled â€˜Social Technographicsâ€™ which examines the social computing (blogs, reviews, video creation, MySpace.com, etc.) behavior of adult Internet users.Â Forrester categorizes users into six groups based on the social computing activities they perform:
- Creators-Publish web pages and blogs, upload video
- Critics â€“ Comment on blogs, post rating and reviews
- Collectors â€“ Use RSS, tag web page (del.icio.us)
- Joiners â€“ Use social networking sites like MySpace.com
- Spectators â€“ Read blogs, watch peer-generated video, listen to podcasts
- Inactives â€“ No social computing activities
To some degree, Forrester envisions usersÂ progressing from one group to anotherÂ like someone climbing the rungs of a ladder.Â For example, an Inactive isnâ€™t likely to jump into social computing first by uploading a video she created to YouTube.com.Â Instead, she would probably dip her toe in the â€˜user-generated content waterâ€™ by viewing a video on YouTube.com or reading a blog.Â Â
According to Forrester, Creators comprise the smallest group of adult users, which isnâ€™t surprising, as creating web pages, blogs, and video takes the most commitment and can be the most intimidating.Â
Additionally, Forrester found that there were generational differences among the types of participation.Â Creators and Joiners had the lowest average adult age (39 and 37 years old, respectively) and Inactives had the highest (50 years old).Â Also, Inactives had the lowest percentage of broadband users (49% compared to the next lowest which was 68%).
While some of the specific findings of their surveyÂ isÂ interesting, I think that the more important take-away from the Forrester report for marketers is the need toÂ be thinking of how your customers, consumers, prospects, etc. are likely to participate in social computing,Â recognizing that not everyone is looking toÂ or willing to engage in the same way.Â
The key is to determine what types of social computing activities provide value to your community and how you can bestÂ offer a way forÂ your usersÂ to participate, knowing that in order to attract groups like the Spectators, you need to develop a community of Creators and Critics.
More on that next time.