The 5 Segments of Your Social Network

It strikes me that, when looking at your social network, a surprising reality emerges: a very small minority of people in the network are responsible for the network’s overall success and value.  This is clearly a case of “more is not necessarily better.”  Below are five (four of which are actually part of your social network) segments making up your network, and my own estimates of the percentage of your social network in that segment.  Do you see the same patterns in your network?

1. Disengaged Majority

Yes, they do exist still: people who are completely disconnected for social content and social networks.  Whether for personal or technological reasons, this audience .  According to Statistica, at the time of this writing, roughly two billion of earth’s seven billion people are engaged with social media.  While this number has doubled over the past five years, it’s still a far cry from an absolute majority.

2. Consumers (~75% of social networks)

Consumers are the silent majority of social network users  A Consumer is where content ends up because, alas, they don’t do much beyond consumption: they don’t interact with the content, nor do they further disseminate it.  This silent majority is nearly invisible showing up only in the number of views content accrues.  Most of us started our social media exploration here; while some of us move up to Communicators, the vast majority remains here.

3. Communicators (~20% of social networks)

Communicators certainly consume content, but, more importantly, they actively comment on, respond to, and/or like the content they consume and, in doing so, interact not just with the posters of the content but with other Communicators.  Communicators are visible and known to you in your network.  Communicators are much more valued as a target audience because, alas, they act on the content.

4. Curators (~4% of social networks)

Perhaps the most highly-valued of target audiences, Curators consume and communicate but serve the critical role of selecting the most relevant of content (from their perspective) and sharing it with their networks.  In that regard, Curators are truly the fabric of social media networks.  Curators frequently annotate their shared content with personal perspective and insight (e.g., an annotated retweet) which adds to its value.

5. Creators (~1% of social networks)

Clearly the minority, Creators are the backbone of social media: they devise and create the content all others consume, communicate, and curate.  Aside from being at the “pinnacle of maturity” from a social network perspective, Creators are themselves avid curators and communicators of other Creators’ content.  It’s quite remarkable how small a percentage of social network users are actually creating the content for everyone else.

4 thoughts on “The 5 Segments of Your Social Network

  1. The four “C”s! The relative paucity of social “Creators” is a strong sign that professional content creators haven’t been completely decimated by the Internet. For me, the “Curators” have added the most value to my social media experience. Prior to social media, the filters of paywalls – and the limitations of my own sources of information – served to filter out more alternative or unorthodox news and opinions. In other words, because I was used to reading certain newspapers, magazines and columnists, I ended up gravitating to those voices naturally. In some ways, the gatekeepers of content didn’t change initially when I made the shift from analog to digital. Now, however, the gates of diverse content have burst open by those in my social network. In some ways, this has been accidental. I didn’t originally set out to curate the makeup of my network to reflect wildly divergent views, but such is the case when friending old or long-lost friends and acquaintances. And, while its tempting to un-friend those in my network whose beliefs run counter to my own, its often their posts that open me to content I wouldn’t otherwise have found. Thanks for the post, Bassam!

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