The Social Technographics Ladder is a very convenient little tool to study behavior on the Internet. With a widget that allows to sort social network users by age, country and gender, we get a quite accurate idea of who uses what on the web.
The highest estimation of the number of mushroom species is around 5 million. An interesting number but not really related to our topic. Unless you really have a very bad opinion of your fellows on social networks.
Because it’s them that we are going to talk about.
Or more precisely, their classification according to the ladder of social media user profiles.
Intended for businesses that want to identify the behaviour of their users or customers, this ladder was created by the strategy and development firm Forrester, in 2010.
Let’s climb together this digital “food chain”.
At the bottom are the Inactives. As their name says, they don’t feel really concerned with the online presence of your product.
A kind of mushroom. So the intro wasn’t that irrelevant.
Then come the Spectators. They consume what the other users above them create.They download podcasts, they watch videos and read the reviews.
Comparing them to a dung beetle would be too easy and not really nice. So we won’t do that.
The Joiners are also known under the name “Lurkers”. They join the group, but that’s all. They create a profile on the site and visit it once in a while.
They stick their head in, like a tick, but without all the diseases. As I feel we are drifting, let’s stop right now the comparisons with the animal kingdom.
When you see what a lurker looks like in Starcraft, the comparison with a tick was almost nice, actually.
Above them are the Collectors. They use RSS feeds, vote for online websites and participate in content creation via tags or pictures.
They at least allow you to know if your content is of any interest.
The Critics give their opinions on the content created by the other users. They comment on posts, take part in discussions and edit wiki articles.
Very useful to find out how your product is perceived, they also connect to the other groups by maintaining interaction.
The Conversationalists go a bit further since they create content by launching a discussion via a status update, for example.
With their wish for recognition they bear a resemblance to Bartle’s Achievers.
Finally, the Creators are the most active users. They post blog articles, create videos or share yours, and publish on your site.
This is the dream user for any social site/product. The king of the digital jungle.
How to identify them
Forrester created a useful tool to know who’s who. Using “hundreds of brands, consumer attitudes, and behaviors globally”, they categorized those types according to the age, country and gender of users.
We can observe, for example, that in the US, UK and many other western countries, male users slightly predominate among the Critics (too bad for the cliché!).
South Koreans are probably the most active, in opposition to Germans who are mainly Inactive or Spectators.
And you can see for yourself that the share of the Inactives is far smaller among the 18-24 age group than in the 55+.
If you want to have a look yourself, here it is: