The participation life cycle

Found a pointer at Steve Rubel’s blog to new research by Forrester about what they call Social Technographics:

“At the heart of Social Technographics is consumer data that looks at how consumers approach social technologies – not just the adoption of individual technologies. We group consumers into six different categories of participation – and participation at one level may or may not overlap with participation at other levels.” 

This is their resulting “participation ladder” model:


I think this is a very valuable framework that can really improve discussions for setting a marketing and communication strategy because it identifies the different levels of participation found out on the Net. But it really got me thinking when I was checking Li’s post and she described her online participation level and pattern. It exactly resembled my profile. It made me wonder if it could it be the case that the participation life cycle, if you will, has a number of preferred permutations when people become a spectator:

  1. Joiner & Critic; and
  2. Collector & Creator? 

The first route in my view has a more ad-hoc character and the second one a more structural. It wouldn’t surprise me if this turned out to be true. Maybe they already covered it in their research, otherwise this mightbe an interesting hypothesis for future research.


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