Defining the Social Media Space: The Conversation Prism

Posted on August 7, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Here’s an interesting and thought provoking diagram of the social web.  Created by Brian Solis and Jesse Thomas, The Conversation Prism summarizes the components of social media in a complex but appealing manner.  In setting up the context for the Prism, Brian’s blog says,

Social media is not governed by the media or technology that facilitate online interaction, contribution, or participation. It is defined by the people, the communities they join, and the parallel cultures and behavior that manifest. Technology and the networks that spawn through constant innovation will continually surface, merge, excel, or vanish. Human nature and the desire to connect, interact, and elevate is perpetual….Using the Conversation Prism , we can visualize and map the shifting landscape of social networks and micro communities to observe and conduct our initial fieldwork through digital anthropology. The process reveals everything, from measurement opportunities to participation strategies to the specific infrastructure changes necessitated by the new proactive and reactive process of engagement in the social Web.

The Conversation Prism by Brian Solis and Jesse Thomas

The Prism contains 24 categories of  tools used for social media.  In the center is the brand surrounded by the components of good brand management: observation, listening, identification, internalization, prioritization and routing.  Managing the brand is done by those responsible for product and sales, marketing and PR, corporate communications, crisis management, and support.  But today, brand is also managed by the community, through ongoing feedback and insight gained by participation in discussions through many different media, as depicted by the different colorful petals of the Prism.

I find this graphic to be a helpful visualization of many of the components of the social media space.  Is it all of the components? I can’t think of anything that is missing in today’s social web, but I’m sure there will be future categories that we can’t even imagine today.

This is the first time I’ve seen a comprehensive way to think about the entire space.  I want to pass it on to my readers.  Thank you to Brian and Jesse for bringing this together and furthering the discussion.


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