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Using Social

TM* Technographics

Profiling to Assist in a Journals Social Strategy

Margot Puerta, MS, MBA; Veronica J Brown, BA; Michael J Cericola, BS; Christopher J Czura, PhD Molecular Medicine, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research at North Shore-LIJ Health System, 350 Community Drive, Manhasset, NY, 11030, USA Corresponding Author: Margot Puerta, margot@molmed.org
Social technologies such as blogs, social networks, wikis, rating and reviews, tags, really simple syndication feeds and others are being explored as communication tools for businesses large and small. While communication technologies present opportunities to enhance communication, create brand awareness, foster direct connections with clients and customers, manage brand image, and provide a new platform for testing and distribution or products1, caution should be taken to ensure the applied technologies meet the needs of consumers. Social Technographics profiles may be a useful tool in helping to identify these needs. Social refers to the community and people-to-people aspect of these activities and Technographics refer to the technological behaviors of people (akin to demographics)2. The main feature of the Social Technographics profile is assignment of people into categories based upon their affinities for various social media. There are six categories: Inactives no participation in social technologies; Spectators read and listen to content; Joiners social network participants; Collectors categorizers and aggregators of content; Critics content reactors; or Creators content publishers1. These categories are not exclusive; an individual may fit within more than one category.

Use Social Technographics profiling to assist in determining what types of social technologies may be appropriate for a journals biomedical audience.

The Social Technographics Ladder

Each step on the ladder represents a group of consumers more involved in social technologies than the previous steps. To join the category on the a step, a consumer need only participate in one of the listed activities at least monthly. The categories are not exclusive. An individual may be classified into more than one category. Reprinted with permission from Forrester Research, based on Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies, by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff.

The journal users scored highest in the category of Spectator. This indicates that with respect to social media technologies, much of this audience is interested (at a minimum) in reading, listening to, and absorbing what others are offering. This result is not surprising and may be reflective of the notion that scientific discoveries of today are built upon the prior research of others. The journal users scored lowest in the category of Inactives. While unsurprising from this highly educated sample, this result is encouraging and indicates there is room for a social media business strategy for this audience. The journal audience scored similarly in the categories of Joiners (44%), Collectors (37%), Critics (40%), and about 10% lower in the category of Creator (30%). These results indicate that while there are individuals interested in the types of social media reflected by these categories, less than 50% of those sampled registered as such. When the journal profile is compared with the average U.S. adult (data available at www.forrester.com), one can make several interesting observations. First, journal users and the U.S. adult score equally in the Inactives category. Second, journal users score higher in all other categories except for Joiner. Third, journal users score almost double in the category of Collector. This was an interesting finding and indicates the scientific audience may be more open and responsive to social technologies that collect.

A survey was distributed to authors and reviewers drawn from the web-based manuscript submission system of a biomedical journal. Fully completed surveys were included in the analysis, n=246. In addition to demographic data users were asked how often they used various social technologies. Response options included: several times a day, daily, weekly, monthly, rarely, dont know, and never. Responses of monthly or more frequently were classified as using the technology. Individual surveys were reviewed and classified into one or more of the Social Technographics categories in order to create a profile.

Journal Social Technographics Profile

The Social Technographics profile for this audience indicates that the platforms to pursue should include technologies that encourage rating, review, organization, categorization, access, and consumption of information. This translates into technologies such as forums, rating systems, polls, and tagging, which encourage reactions from end users. Reviewing the strengths and weaknesses in this profile has assisted the journal in developing a social strategy. The information generated from this survey allowed editorial staff to approach the management team with data-backed suggestions for website improvements.

Profiles for the biomedical journal audience were: Inactives 18% (45/246), Spectators 76% (187/246), Joiners 45% (110/246), Collectors 37% (92/246), Critics 41% (100/246), Creators 30% (73/246). Individuals may be included in more than one profile resulting in a total over 100%.

Classifications based on the Social Technographics profile, developed by Forrester Research.
1. eConverse Social Media Consulting [Internet] Kitchner (Ontario): copyright 2010 [cited 2011 June 28] Available from: http://econversemedia.com/why-social-media/ 2. Li C and Bernoff J. Groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press; 2008. pp. 41, 9.

*Technographics is a registered trademark of Forrester Research, Inc. The Social Technographics Profile is intellectual property that belongs to Forrester Research. While these survey methods attempt to duplicate the methods used by Forrester Research, they have not been licensed or endorsed by the company, and the results are not strictly comparable with results published by Forrester Research. Forrester Research does not endorse or support the results in this work. Forresters Social Technographics has been updated to include additional categories and the company has published new statistics for 2010 and 2011; the comparisons in this work refer to the earlier published material. www.forrester.com