While I was sitting quietly on the metro last week, I overheard a conversation that piqued my interest. A young couple was discussing how Twitter is quickly falling off the radar, and there is data from earlier this year to support the theory. Luckily, the couple got off the train before I could dive into technographics.
I remember reading a study last January that explored the number of inactive Twitter users despite the continuing increase in total users. What at first seemed tragic to an avid Twitter user like myself quickly changed as I grew to understand Forrester’s Social Technographics Ladder.
According to Forrester, there are six different types of users in social media: Creators, Conversationalists, Critics, Collectors, Joiners, Spectators and Inactives. At the top of this ladder, Creators are actively creating, writing, publishing and uploading new content, while Critics are commenting on content created by others. Collectors vote on sites and follow RSS feeds, Joiners maintain their personal profiles on sites and Spectators read blogs and watch videos. As you probably guessed, Inactives are inactive and therefore contribute nothing.
The recent data from Forrester shows that 68% of users are Spectators, meaning they are reading tweets, blog posts and articles on Digg recommended by other users. One thing they aren’t doing is commenting, whether in the form of retweeting or sharing on another social media outlet.
This may seem simple to understand. However, for whatever reason, some people have a tough time understanding the application of technographics to Twitter. Yes, only 17% of users may be active on Twitter. Have you ever thought that this is because only a small percentage of users are creating content and retweeting people?
It is time to rethink social media in terms of Forrester’s Social Technographics Ladder. There are people out there listening to your messages, reading them and even sharing them in conversation with others. The problem is that you cannot accurately measure how many Joiners and Spectators have actually absorbed each tweet. This is okay – and it is important to continue engaging on Twitter with an understanding that there are more people out there than your metrics might show.
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