In 2007, Forrester Research introduced us to the concept of Social Technographics.
In a nutshell, the idea was to identify the levels of involvement of the online community in the fabric of the web.
Historically, publishing has involved a small group of people creating content, and a large number reading it. But Clay Shirky’s 2008 book Here Comes Everybody (it’s a good read) neatly described how the publishers are losing their powers to the general public. The web allows us all to publish – potentially we can all be involved in creating content.
Forrester Research’s first report on Social Technographics, however, demonstrated that by 2007, only a small percentage of Internet users had actually adopted the role of publisher. This report was summarised in visual form as a ladder, with the higher rungs representing those who create and the lower ones representing those who simply absorb.
In its latest incarnation, the same team has conducted the research again, to see how many Internet users now occupy the same rungs of the participation ladder.
Interestingly, Forrester felt it necessary to add a new rung into the ladder – so quickly changing is the Internet that a new category has emerged – ‘Conversationalists’ – people who update their Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn etc. status at least once per week. And that’s approximately a third of everyone.
The percentage of creators has increased from 13% to 24%, the most common category, Spectators, has more than doubled, and the proportion of those inactive in social media has plummeted, from over half to less than a-fifth.