We are bringing the Social Technographics ladder into 2010 with a new rung called "Conversationalists" to represent the very active communication style that has arisen recently within social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

Many months ago, several of us at Forrester started monitoring these emerging behaviors and mulling over how to represent them appropriately. We toyed with adding tweets and status updates to the "Creator" activities, but that would overshadow the more measured content contributions of bloggers and viral video creators. We thought of adding themto "Joiner" behavior, but that masked the fact that this wasn't about being part of a social graph, but rather communicating within the graph in a new and important way.

The beauty of the ladder is in its simplicity: the bottom represents the most passive social media participation, and types of participation increase as you go up, with "Creators" at the top. Now we will place "Conversationalists" between Creators and Critics. Deciding to change it wasn't easy; It's proven to be so valuable at showing growth in various social behaviors that we haven't needed to change it, until now. Today, we have a new ladder that keeps the best of the original, but adds to it new important behaviors for Interactive Marketers to learn about.

There are three key reasons for Interactive Marketers to care about Conversationalists:

  • 33 % of adults are Conversationalists. In other words, they represent one third of your online target audience.
  • By following Conversationalists, you get free consumer insights. Conversationalists are your customers and they are talking about you. Listen to them!
  • By communicating with Conversationalists, you embrace change. Interacting with your customers in an ongoing way, in a conversation, creates lasting learning on both sides.

The purpose of the ladder is to provide consumer behavior insight to Interactive Marketers, so we reserve the right to alter it to fulfill this purpose. If you have thoughts about the new rung, or other behaviors emerging on the social landscape, let us know!

To see the entire ladder, and get more insight, check out the report here.