Social media is a deeply personal ecosystem that I lovingly refer to as the EGOsystem. As such, there is a “me” in social media for a reason. It is quite literally a world in which we are at the center of our online experiences, a place where everything and everyone revolves around us.
Placing ourselves in the role of this emerging social consumer for a moment, brands, businesses, and media aren’t sure how to see or reach us directly yet. We’re lured through creative attempts to follow them on Twitter or “Like” them on Facebook. But for the most part in social media, we are faceless consumers brought only to life through avatars, bios and a history of our online activities and connections.
Sometimes we’re part of demographic studies where we’re grouped by age, income, gender, education, etc.. Sometimes, we’re part of psychographic studies where we’re grouped by commonalities, shared interests and passions, and themes. And often, we’re lumped together through keyword mentions or online influence scores. But the real question is, who are we online and what makes us connect, share, and live online? Finding these answers is revealing and hopefully, inspiring.
If ignorance is bliss, awareness is enlightening…
Last year, I teamed up with my good friends at the JESS3 creative agency run by Jesse Thomas and Leslie Bradshaw to capture the essence of how and why people were “living in public.” The characteristics of online behavior were diverse to say the least. However, I documented recurring traits and organized them into 18 categories.
I’m happy to share that Behaviorgraphics is now available as a free high res download and also as a 22 x 28 poster.
Which one/s are you?
At the center is Benevolence — The unselfish and kindhearted behavior that engenders and promotes recognition and reciprocity, and in doing so, earns the goodwill of those around them. This is the hub of social networking with a purpose, mission, and a genuine intent to grow communities based on trust, vision, and collaboration.
Problem Solvers — One of the most common sources of conversations and updates in social media are questions…people seeking information in the hopes that commenters will respond with resolution or direction.
Commenters — Providing thoughts, opinions, observations, experiences, and sometimes, unfiltered reactions to the information shared online. They are less likely to produce original content, but are compelled to share their views based on the introduction of content by others in and around their social graph.
Researchers — Peer to peer influence is prominent in social networks and researchers rely on their social graphs for information and direction to make qualified decisions. They are also active in championing polls and surveys to truly learn about the thoughts and opinions of those connected to them.
Conversationalists — Participation in conversations through proactive updates seeking responses or direct responses to other content, conversationalists fuel threads within and across networks.
Curators — In the context of behaviorgraphics, curators carry a different role. This group works diligently to find and only share what captivates them as filtered by what they believe will interest their followers.
Producers — Among the more elite group of online participants, their stature is earned by the amount of content they generate within multiple networks.
Broadcasters — Social media is proving to be both an effective broadcast and conversational platform. Broadcasters are mostly one-way communicators who either intentionally or unintentionally push information to followers without injecting conversational aspects into the mix.
Marketers — Profiles dedicated to marketing ideas, products, or services and may or may not include content outside of their portfolio, unless the account is focused on funneling beneficial and value-added solutions to specific audiences regardless of origin.
Socialites — Individuals who have earned varying levels of weblebrity, these new internet famous personae earn recognition and attention in online networks which is increasingly spilling over in real world fame.
Self-promoters — Unlike broadcasters and marketers, self-promoters are unconcealed in their intentions through constant updating of activities, events, and accomplishments.
Egocasters — Contribute to the “ego” in the egosystem and represent the evolution of self-promoters. Through constant promotion and the activities and responses that ensue, promoters graduate to a position of perceived prominence and collective unawareness. What they think and say is what they believe to be the reality for one and for all. They lose touch with perspective as listening gives way to telling…
Observers — Often referred to as inactives, lurkers, or simply consumers, Observers represent the majority of the social Web today, defined by those who read and also share information in the backchannel, including email, and also in the real world.
Social Climbers — Social capital is not only something that is earned in social networking, it is something that is proactively pursued by those whose sole mission is to rise to the top. These individuals intentionally climb ladders on the avatars, profiles, and social capital of others most often misrepresenting their purpose and stature to earn an audience based on disingenuous intentions.
TMI — The things some share in social media continue to blur the line between what’s relegated to inner monologue versus that for sharing with others in public. The state of sharing “Too much information” is dictated by those on the receiving end of the update, not those who publish it.
Spammers — Those accounts and profiles that are created to push messages blindly and without regard for those with whom they come into contact. Often times they’re tied to current events (using trending keywords or hashtags) or targeting influential voices to lure them into clicking through to their desired goal.
Leachers –Not included in the graph, but an important category to recognize as leachers take the good work of others and channel it into their own accounts almost exclusively for the sake of promoting their cause.
Complainers — When we love something, we tell a few people; when something bothers us, we tell everyone. Complainers are often sharing their discontent as a primary ingredient in their social stream. And, as customer service takes to the social web, these complainers are only encouraged to share their experiences to achieve satisfaction and earn recognition for their role as the new social customer.
Reprinted from BrianSolis.com
Brian Solis is the author of Engage and is one of most provocative thought leaders and published authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis’s research and ideas have influenced the effects of emerging media on the convergence of marketing, communications, and publishing. Follow him on Twitter @BrianSolis, YouTube, or at BrianSolis.com.