Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff have released a new report on "Social Technographics." They offer a new model for determining where a company should start their social media strategy through understanding a type of ladder0-of-engagement and the propensity for customers to participate at different levels.
I am not sure that this model really suggests where you should start so much as that you need to account for different levels of participation in order to pay attention to what users are willing to do within a certain context. It serves as more of a checklist that you would want to consider and fulfill on within every social media initiative.
Here's how they describe it:
"Forrester categorizes social computing behaviors into a ladder with six levels of participation; we use the term "Social Technographics" to describe analyzing a population according to its participation in these levels. Brands, Web sites, and any other company pursuing social technologies should analyze their customers' Social Technographics first, and then create a social strategy based on that profile."
Here's the ladder graphic they use to describe it visually:
The graphic is a bit misleading but Charlene does acknowledge that each of us sit on many rungs of that ladder, again, depending on the context of the sites, subject matter and activities we engage with online.
Still, my first impression (hoping I can get a copy of the full report), is that I would continue to design social media strategy with specific considerations for many, if not all, types of users along this ladder.
ZeFrank Knows Audiences
This reminds me of ZeFrank's description of his experience creating The Show. He noticed that when he added comments to The Show, people started doing the "I'm first," "I'm second," - type postings. Rather than get annoyed at the "misuse" of the post section (meant for "real" comments and conversation, right?), he realized that some users just wanted a little bit of interaction, something small they could do that helped them participate and be social. Ultimately he added other small features like this to offer more at their own level of the ladder so-to-speak.