Representing social media

Ross Dawson shows four representations of the social media tool landscape, with the most recent and colourful Conversation Prism by Brian Solis and Jesse Thomas:

Two of these visualizations have Conversation at the centre and this one includes, “The art of listening, learning and sharing”. Ross Dawson’s own example from last year puts social media along two axes, one being from “Sharing Content” to “Recommending/Filtering”. One the one end,  content is made and shared by everyone and anyone, such as with YouTube videos or millions of blog posts. There are many tools to facilitate this process, as shown in these charts. Now that we too much stuff to easily make sense of, and it keeps on expanding, we need to find patterns.  That is what the other tools at the other end of Dawson’s axis help us do.

These visualizations can be used as a basis for teaching about social media. The prism may be complicated for first use, so I would start with Dawson’s X axis (Sharing to Filtering).  You could begin by looking at the content that is out there and start to filter it, trying different tools. This might be a good approach for people who are not overly comfortable on the Web and are not ready to create their own content. The Prism can be used later to show the variety of tools and categories of tools and then look at content creation.

From listening to sharing, while learning on the way, may be a good first path into the web of social media. It’s something I will consider as I guide more learners and clients.

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