Welcome, "Conversationalists"

IStock_000010090171XSmallForrester Research’s Social Technographics Ladder — which I wrote about in one of my bestest posts ever, in early ‘08 — has just been updated.  There’s a new rung on that ladder, classified as “Conversationalists,” and thus a new wrinkle for marketers to consider (though it’s been fairly well sussed-out in the marketplace already).

Paraphrasing analyst Emily Riley:

Many months ago, several of us at Forrester started monitoring emerging behaviors (represented by the very active communication style on Twitter and Facebook) … 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.

An interesting stat from Forrester’s new report: “33 % of adults are Conversationalists. In other words, they represent one third of your online target audience.”

Think about that for a sec.  One-third of ALL adults in the U.S. are engaged in a “very active communication style” online.  That’s a lot of people.  Talking to each other. A lot.

It’s only getting bigger, gang: according to a summertime survey by H&K, “Younger generations are predominantly influenced by social media channels: 27 percent of Gen Y and 19 percent of Gen X are influenced by an ‘online community or blog.’”

Next time a corporate marketer asks you whether they should be considering an approach that incorporates socnets like Twitter or Facebook or blogs (and yes, Virginia, the question does still come up), be sure to remember and cite these statistics.

Posted on: January 20, 2010 at 11:54 am By Todd Defren
23 Responses to “Welcome, "Conversationalists"”


  • Jessica Sturges says:

    As a college student, I see first hand on my Facebook news feed how active a dialogue there is between individuals in my university network. Everything from current events and new products to personal crises are discussed through status updates and comments. Those numbers are undoubtedly growing and I believe it is all-important for marketers to focus on these communication channels.

  • The problem is not that corporate marketers don’t realise they need to be on Twitter, Facebook, etc – they do. They just don’t know why.

    They all realise Twitter and Facebook are talk of the time right now and with 350m members it is likely your target audience is active on there – but the activity on a platform should always be driven by a strategy, not the other way around.

    And whilst I like the term ‘conversationalists’, I’m not entirely sure it needs it own rung and definitely should not be listed ahead of critics.

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