One handy way to dissect activities within social media (and therefore audience needs) is into three categories: dialogue, content and functionality (for ease: "D,C &F"). This comes from research more about which can be read via Ryan*MacMillan's blog here. We have attempted to split major social media activities into channels by starting with these D,c & F headers and placing those activities under each header with a value for how prominent D, C & F is within that activity; with 3 being very prominent and 0 being no or negligible prominence.
The values we have applied are somewhat arbitrary and contentious but this is not supposed to be a definitive and quantitative model, it is more of a thought exercise to set us moving. The ultimate outcome would be a quantitative resource for placing social media campaigns within channels and comparing their outcomes against each other. For potential clients, this resource could be used to find the most productive marketing channels for their needs.
CAN'T WORK OUT HOW TO EMBED "<i frame>" OF THE TABLE SO, FOR THE TIME-BEING, HERE IS A LINK TO IT
- "Virtual Worlds" is in brackets because this medium is essentially a platform unto itself, within which all actions could take place.
- All table entries are true only in relation to realistic marketing campaigns. For instance, to state that there is no dialogue in wikis is not strictly true but it is not likely that a campaign would be structured that way.
- Variables affecting the position of any of the above items could include the following:
- Evolution of a media channel will move it through the table, eg. Flickr was primarily photos but it serves now as a social networking, commenting platform and functionality platform as well.
- Different media are used in varying ways by different audiences, according to geography, culture, technological expertise and so on.
- One channel can feed into many more. A piece of social media might spread and evolve throughout the channels in complex ways. This introduces the relevance of distribution and sharing methodologies.
- Hopefully the shameless plug in the first paragraph is not offensive as it should offer some useful background information!
To help make sense of the table above
Comments - Blog commenting
Microblogs - Twitter
Forums - Aplle developer forum
Instant messages - MSN Messenger
Social networks - Facebook
Blogs - Huffington Post
Games - World of Warcraft (??)
(Virtual worlds) - Second Life
Photos - Flickr
Videos - YouTube
Narrowcasts - Podcasts, vodcasts
Wikis - Wikipedia
Feeds - RSS
- Add more social media activities, and shuffle the existing ones about, into the best places in the table for them
- Map some real campaign examples against the table to test its usefulness