When the social media landscape was formed, the classification of the audience who took part in it was done on the basis of their characteristics and levels of participation. They were classified as Crowd, Connectors, Customisers, Commentators and Creators. With time though, a new breed began to take shape, one that could not be ignored. And thus emerged what are categorized as ‘Social Collectors’.
Keeping all of these in mind we have formulated the Windchimes 6C Social Evolution Principle.
6C’s of social media in order of decreasing numbers and increasing influence:
In the initial stages, an individual is wary of the media and engages in it more as an observer or crowd. This stage allows him to understand the space and the manner in which it functions. Once comfortable with it, he moves on to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter where he first starts interacting with others, or connecting, by making his/her profile. The use is restricted to sharing pictures, videos and links.
The comfort level with this media shoots up phenomenally after this stage, leading to the next level of becoming a customiser. Here he creates a presence on several social media platforms beyond the basics. Also, he starts using advanced features and applications on his profile. Giving a new look to their profiles, adding features that show their personality becomes a part of the profile.
Every user becomes a collector at some point of time. Collectors are those who use social media platforms for aggregating things that they like on social media and the World Wide Web. They essentially gather things for themselves and also, at some level, invite connectors to appreciate their work. We love collecting things. As kids, we collected coins and stamps. As adults, we collect things that vary in size and cost. Right from pens, sunglasses and watches to cars, antiques and even alcohol. Users collect things with the hope that their collection will grow. In social media space, a collecting site is a place where people would like to gather together all the articles, images and things they discover in the course of time. Just like in real life, the desire to return to the trove, in order to see it grow is a huge part of online world. This is the idea that powers sites like Pinterest.
The fifth layer, commentators, is the intermittent one – a layer which most users cross quickly. The user has moved on to a more active one now and considers himself worthy of critiquing and commenting on what he reads online. The participation levels increase with the comments and votes that he leaves behind on platforms. A sense of belonging that comes with the participation compels him to spend more time on these platforms.
The last stage in this hierarchy is that of a creator where the user really starts contributing to the social media space. He now blogs his views and develops content that will add value online. From here on, the user, if he is consistent with this work, can become an expert in his chosen field. His writing will have followers and very soon, he will move on to becoming an influencer. Becoming an influencer is not included as a stage because we believe it is more about a part of life – it is more attitudinal. It is no more a part of functional learning but it has more to do with discipline. Discipline to write consistently, always creating value, reading the feedback – all attributes that make a successful influencer. Get to know more about top 10 social media writers who are key influencers in our new edition of Social Media e-book.
Tell us which category of social ecosystem do you classify yourself in?
Are you a collector or a creator? Share your work with us. We would love to see it and feature some of the best stuff on our blog.