Social Technographics

Charlene Li of Forrester recently posted an interesting article on her blog about the results of an online consumer study over in the US, based on a paper she has authored.  Needless to say I took her up on the offer of a copy of the paper and read with interest thinking about how this data would translate into enterprises as adoption of web 2.0 technology grows.  The data comes from two studies of data gathered via online surveys, one specifically targeting the youth audience (or as I prefer to think of this group the graduates of 2007 to 2010, the middle managers and senior information workers of 2015 to 2020).

My poor graphic compared to Charlene’s shows the % of online users in each category.  Interestingly most online consumers do not play an active role in terms of interaction with content and 85% are no more tan spectators or inactives.  Do these figures surprise me, well no, will these figures be the same in 5 years time, I doubt it very much.  Why?  because more of the business applications we use today both for collaboration and focused line of business applications will become more social in nature.  Also the demographics support increased movement up the ladder from inactive to creator.  The report also highlights that over 33% of 12 to 17 year olds are in the creator category.  So with changes in business processes, tools and technology in our electronic workplace becoming more social in nature, demographics driving both user expectation, and more likely user innovation (which Graham covered recently here).

Interestingly the report states

“don’t write off older generations – many are participating, especially as spectators.  The problem has been the lack of relevant content”

This gives me great encouragement as I work with customers to help them with the implementation of technology which includes social tools.  In fact if we look at the demographics from the report for those creating content we see that the tail of creation on the public social content begins at around 25 years.

This public study leaves me with a number of thoughts when considering the enterprise:

  • What are my demographics
  • How to people work today and how will the technology affect their work tomorrow
  • How do we encourage adoption
  • How do we make content relevant

Ross Mayfield also reviewed this here.


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