For years I have been saying that there are only two kinds of people in this world: Creators (people who make things) and Consumers (people who… well… consume things. Creators are active, Consumers are passive. It was a nice little theory, with only one nagging inconsistency: what about me? I like to do both. What camp do I fall into?
Enter Forrester’s new report entitled Social Technographics. Don’t let the title intimidate you: Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff have taken a friendly and measured approach to the debate by dividing online behaviour into six different categories of participation: Inactives (52%), Spectators (33%), Joiners (19%), Collectors (15%), Critics (19%), and Creators (13%). Each one of these categories describes a higher level of interaction, hence the ladder metaphor as seen in the image below.
This has some interesting implications for advertising and marketing. Steve Rubel, from Micro Persuasion, has these thoughts:
For each program, assess where your audience sits on this continuum. Are they inactives, creators or somewhere in between? The key is to then devise the right kind of communication strategy depending on what you discover. Let’s put this into action.
For example, let’s say you have a start-up that has a new piece of blogging software that bloggers will love. Then you should execute a peer-to-peer program that primarily targets creators, collectors and critics while largely ignoring inactives.
“The value of Social Technographics,” blogs Charlene, “Comes when it’s used by companies to create their social strategies. For example, in the report we look at how Social Technographics profiles differ by primary life motivation, site usage, and even PC ownership. “
I will be thinking about these categories the next time I sit down to strategize the next online campaign. Here’s a recap of what I’ve learned from Forrester today:
There’s only SIX kinds of people in this world… And don’t ask the average American family to create content for you any time soon, unless they use an Apple computer.
This little piece of watercolour and crayon on canvas was drawn by my daughter today. I am a big, big fan of her work. She’s 4, a jr. K pre-schooler, and the other kids in her class often tell her that she just “scribbles”. I told her to tell them that she’s an artist, who comes from a long line of artists, and that she can create whatever she @#$%ing well pleases. Honestly, if an artist can survive public school they can survive anything.
When you are around a 4 year old as much as I am, poo is funny. And Pooh picking up what appear to be giant turds is even funnier. **sigh.** Madz left this book lying around the bathroom (no less), and every time I looked at the cover I burst out laughing. So I made this juvenile cover by shifting a few words.
I actually hate these kinds of books— you know, the ones that take fantastic old literature for kids and then boil them down, bleach them, edit them, re-write them, take out all the charm and wit, digest them and make what amounts to.. well… crap.
I spent the middle part of last week in New York City attending the OgilvyOne Digital Summit called Verge. Polly LaBarre (former senior editor of Fast Company) sums up the day wonderfully in her post Control is So 20th Century. After meeting her at the conference I went out and bought her book entitled Mavericks at Work. I also met Michael Tchao, GM of the Nike Techlab Group, and his partner, who were up from Portland. We discussed geeky things like the old Apple Newton and how to gut a Mac Classic and pop an LCD and Mac Mini inside. I talked briefly with Shawn Gold, former Publisher with Weblogs Inc. and now the SVP of Marketing and Content at myspace. I wish I could have stopped to chat with Chris Anderson or ZeFrank as well, but my entourage was heading to SoHo for dinner. Don’t feel too sorry for me.
This summit got me thinking. Not about the topics of video on the web, or blogging, or the long tail, but rather about creating and networking, creating and networking, creating and networking. Everyone I met, and just about everyone I saw, was churning out books, articles, speeches, performances, blogs, art, products, mashes, mergers, content. I agree that nobody calls a good song “content”, but it’s not a bad label for everything all together now. I always feel envious in situations like that, and I always have excuses for why I don’t have as much crap out there for other people to consume. Here are a few of my own personal (literally) favourites:
I have too much work to do.
I have kids. When they’re a bit older, I’ll have more free time.
I don’t have enough time in the day.
I don’t have enough energy because I never get any sleep.
Sensing a common theme? I just need to consume less and create more by using my time more efficiently. Make choices. It’s not hard, it just takes commitment: something I’ve always been so-so at. Just ask my fiancé of 10 years… It’s so easy to blame it on the kids, isn’t it? I kinda like the idea of being the crazy dad who’s always making things, writing things, doing things, meeting people, filled with stories and spark. Or I could be the dad who spends the entire day watching people hurt themselves on YouTube while eating a bowl of chips and spitting crumbs on the keyboard as I laugh at other idiots. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just that I don’t want to do it.
As I walked around Manhattan after the summit, listening to Death Cab for Cutie’s album Plans on my iPod Nano, I thought a lot about nothing. It felt so good to just wander and appreciate. Appreciate the architecture and the character of this amazing city that I had never visited before, but felt like I already knew. I felt like a comfortable alien. I got my shoes shined. I went into Trump Tower, and Tiffany’s, and Central Park, and the Empire State Building, and the Chrysler Building, and the New York Public Library, and Grand Central Station, and a few Starbucks along the way (consuming and creating liquids). It was so good for me. A giant three hour walking reboot of the old parameter random access memory (PRAM). Thank you New York City. I’ll be back, but next time with more to show you too.