The hierarchy of social media needs

24 02 2009

Twenty years ago, the computer was the sacred totem that inhabitate the hermetic and frozen sanctuary of technology. Mouse was captured on mouse traps, graphical interface …. what? Computers was complex, just tech-savvy guys could do something on that incredible machines. This tech-savvy guys was perceived as freak guys, that communicate with strange dialect, was the opposite of a popular concept of cool guy, they where known as nerds or geeks. So there was some differences on that tribes.

Nowadays, the computer goes juice, turned ubiquitous. The new geek are sociables and connected, compulsive users of gadgets, in special the ones the allow connectivity. Scott McNealy, Sun’s Chairman says: “Information era was the concept of the XX century, now we are at Participation Age“. The new geek always seeks for good reasons and ways to be social. Barcamps, presentations, events and social events, some kind of beer and some kind of conversations that where microblogged, shared and streamead to the world. Privacy is irrelevant, texts, pictures, videos were shared a lot, share is very important, to share is to participate. At Brazil, the new geeks interacts on and offline, and some times goes to other state just to take a place in a good confraternization and /or event. Real time covered by the participants, this events come to the web, and allow virtual participants do interact with real ones, that’s a connected world.

The geeks continue to appear freak, but now they are sociable freaks, and this is the great difference, what happened? Where is the antisocial geeks from the past? What happened? Changes were done, technological evolutions was continuous absorbed and transformed into social tools.

The majority of digital visionaries of the last century was from technology area, today the social characteristics are  related to technology, the digital visionary of the XXI century is certainly related to human area. Since the technology was absorbed by social media tools, the Internet goes social, and the majority of their users are persons like you, me, and someone else.

The hierarchy of social media needs

There are some theories that have wide range of applications, such as the Pareto principle, the Gaussian distribution and others, but I think the Maslow’s hierachy of needs is perfect to my explanation:
Maslow and Social Media

Now the hierarchy of social media needs!
The first two steps represent decisive steps to entering the social media, and today are quickly covered:
  • Tech skills – Today, with more intuitive interfaces, the tech skills is a relevant step, easily implemented by anyone who has a bit of knowledge.
  • Connectivity, access – With the advent of digital inclusion, falling prices of broadband access, the connection and access is easy for many people.
  • Interaction, participation – At this step, the user starts to interact in social media such as social networks, forums, discussion groups, instant mensagers and even commenting and / or creating blogs. It is time that some users leave for physical interaction, the events geeks. That’s the exactly moment when the consumer turn into prossumer. Their ties on social media are strong.
  • Esteem, respect – Now the user wants recognition, writes regularly on his/her blog, create a community in social networks, or even becomes a highly participatory in user forums and mailing lists. The user seeks recognition and invest heavily in this.
  • Self realization – His presence in cyberspace is guaranteed, he was recognized and became a celebrity. He’s a full prosumer, a member of one or more social nucleus. He is compulsive for mashups and social networks, has on profile in each new social network, and believe or not, he  seems to keep everything updated. Now he has more weak ties than strong ones on social media. At this moment he transit between the step below, up and down, that’s therefore remain at the top is infinitely more difficult than getting there.

That’s my theory, what do you feel?

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One response

25 02 2009
Thiago Rosa

Basically, we are living the same as occurred in the past with other social movements, like Renaissance related with arts or Socialism on the politics area. These years are being related with Information area, and based on the same thoughts on this post, Social Media should be the way how people will connect with others to socialize and create events. Of course, there will be many points who needs to be more clear, but I don’t have doubt about we are facing the same that happening on our history books behind Facebook, Linked In, twitter and others.

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