After two-and-a-half years, we have revealed the fourth edition of The Conversation Prism, a visual map of the social media landscape. It’s an ongoing study in digital ethnography that tracks dominant and promising social networks and organizes them by how they’re used in everyday life. The Conversation Prism, in its various stages, captures a snapshot of important moments in the history and evolution of social media.
In 2008, I created The Conversation Prism to serve as a visual tool for brands to consider unforeseen opportunities through a holistic lens. With research beginning in 2007, years and four iterations later, it remains an ongoing study in digital ethnography — tracking dominant and promising social networks and organizing them by how they’re used in everyday life.
Why The Conversation Prism is More Than a Pretty Infographic
The Conversation Prism is important because it is the only research-driven map that explores the evolution of the social web dating back to the rise of social media.
It is a combination of research and digital ethnography. It groups networks by how people use them. It includes both leading and promising networks. It’s not intended to show every network, but instead show how the shape of the social web is changing and reveal the front runners that are pushing social media in new directions.
The Conversation Prism was designed to help strategists and small businesses see the bigger picture in the evolution of social media beyond the most popular and trendy sites. It can help your business in several ways and is meant to:
- Provide a form of validation to show executives that social media is not a fad and that it’s bigger than Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest.
- Motivate companies to find new ways to think about social media and explore new ways to improve experiences and relationships.
- Provide a top-level social media view to help strategists and companies study the social landscape as they plan their next social media strategy.
With all of the recent changes in social media, it would have been easier to expand the lens. Instead, we narrowed the view to focus on social media platforms that are on a path to mainstream understanding or acceptance.
Why is it Called a Conversation ‘Prism’?
In light of activity related to the NSA, the word ‘Prism’ has taken on an entirely new meaning. Additionally, The Conversation Prism is often referred to as a color wheel, but to do so, takes away from the beauty of its design and purpose.
Using a “prism” metaphor was intended figuratively and literally…
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