Content and Connection

I’m trying to find a meaningful way to classify the social networks. I consider that the fundamental axis in Rooted in content (you can clearly enjoy video sharing websites without interacting with anyone. Those sites are based on taxonomies/keywords and tags)/Rooted in connection (the experience is based on links you make/have with other people). The second axis I’m using is the classical Professional/casual.

Here’s a first draft:

My idea isn’t to make a mapping for the sake of it but look into the best way to communicate in social networks according to their position on the map.

It’s still work in progress and I post it hoping to gather feedback. Do you think such a typology makes any sense? Is casual/professional a good axis? Do you feel that there are specific strategies for each type of social network… Or is that kind of approach totally useless?


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6 Responses to “Content and Connection”

  1. Nick Burcher Says:

    I think it’s an interesting idea. One of the things that irritates me is the use of catch all phrases to group together vastly different assets. ‘Online’ only really took off after it was split out into Search, Affiliate Marketing, Online Display, Online video etc and at the moment I think ‘mobile advertising’ and ‘social media’ are 2 areas that definitely need more definition.

    ‘Mobile advertising’ is used to cover everything from Mobile Search to Mobile display to CRM to Bluetooth. I think ‘social media’ (or its previous incarnation of ‘Web 2.0’) suffers from the same thing.

    When people talk about ‘social media advertising’ do they mean blogger outreach / PR or display ads on Facebook or viral through YouTube or branded pages on MySpace? So I think the first step is defining the strategic objective and then working to a specific action.

    Once the action is defined you then need a specific approach and having a ‘social media strategy’ is too broad as they all work in different ways – Twitter vs Slideshare etc. I therefore like what you are trying to do and think the Connections vs Content idea is a good one.

    I’m not as sure about the professional vs casual axis though as I think it is too broad and doesn’t recognise the different uses for each channel – a professional photographer using Flickr vs a mummy blogging about her kids etc? I wonder if you actually need this axis and think it might dilute your point about content vs contacts. Alternatively maybe niche vs general might work better? Niche = (music), LinkedIn (business), Flickr (photography) vs general = Facebook, MySpace, Blogger?

    Think there will also be the opportunity to include a lot more niche sites too?

    Hope this helps, definitely an interesting idea!

  2. Philippe Says:

    Thanks for your feedback, Nick.

    I like the niche versus general axis idea. But it will be difficult to classify blog platforms in this model. I start to wonder if the double axis model is the most adapted one. Niche/general clearly influences the marketing strategy

    I have a few other criteria’s in mind that could influence the marketing strategy: taxonomies, existing marketing tools, community reactivity (I wouldn’t be able to figure out a strategy where you activate the linkedin community) or just total audience/reach.

  3. dh.theafter Says:

    It makes me think on the essential aspect of social networks… there are SOCIAL. therefore made of living beings (in this case humans I guess);

    So some kind of formula like this :
    Axe1(chaos vs. order) + Axe2(rational vs. emotion) + Axes3(inbound vs. outbound) + Axes4(a sensory dimension: one of the five senses) = Social Network DNA map (or a spicy recipe;-)).
    !!! this formula is highly in “beta” stage!!!

    Let’s take Delicious as an example:
    Axes1 = chaos value
    Axes2 = rational value
    Axes3 = inbound value + outbound value
    Axes4 = visual only value
    Delicious Social DNA Value = click to view on a multi-dimensional mapping

    So the question is : is a 2 dimensional mapping the right way to classify social networks? i am not sure.

    Good luck for the work!

  4. Jeroen Says:

    Let’s be honest, you will have to look at this from an advertiser perspective. Chances are they would most want to see a reach scale and either a gender scale or an age scale.

    I do wonder why Spaces isn’t in there though 😉

  5. nicholas gill Says:


    First of all, welcome back to the fold. My Google Reader is a better place with your thoughts back in it.

    Your post got me thinking…

    Can we really split professional and casual? Web 2.0, social demographic shifts and the increasing pressures and burdens at work and home mean that for most people, a clear delineation between work-life balance is impossible. Witness the amount of blackberry’s you now see on holiday and the always-on nature of society. Employers expect more and in return we swap me-time for work-time and vice-versa. It all blends.

    In a similar way, people don’t (and can’t) delineate their social networks into pure work/life. Do you have purely work related contacts on Linked In and only mates on Facebook? I know I don’t and most of my connections don’t either.

    And then I started thinking, isn’t everything just content? And we interact with and use content in different ways? And dependent on the type of content, we connect with like-minded souls based on our need, interest and interactions around that content? And I started thinking that content drives engagement and that engagement falls into three broad categories: inform, educate and entertain. And taking your examples, it could look like this.

    Inform: LinkedIn, Blogs, Twitter, Friendfeed, IM
    Educate: Slideshare, Blogs, Twitter, Friendfeed
    Entertain: Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Daily Motion, Flickr, MySpace, Bebo, Friendfeed, IM

    I’ve made a slightly more appealing visual version of this and posted on slideshare here:


  6. Philippe Says:

    Thanks guys for those great comments. I hate to say that but I agree with all of you 😉

    David: You’re right about the 2 dimension. It won’t fit + the sensory value is very interesting. I’m not sure to understand the inbound/outbound

    Jeroen: Yes, advertisers perspective is the most important. Besides reach and socio-demo, I also would look to the marketing possibilities (eg: the facebook polls on a plateform with rich socio-demographic data offer interesting marketing perspectives). I didn’t classified spaces since I see it a a feature of WL messenger and not as a stand alone product.

    Nicholas, nice to see you! I’m not sure that everything is just content (I’m thinking about IM that is also used in a professional environment) but for the content categories, I agree with the inform/educate/entertain typologie and I think that this should be used from the advertiser POV.

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