Social Media Categories

I've been playing around with a list I've compiled of over 3,500 social media applications, tools and utilities ... This has prompted me to ask whether or not there is a standardized industry list of social media categories - or a well thought out manner of categorizing the proliferating social media landscape. Thought I'd put it out for discussion.

Few up-front notes on my goals/questions related to this exercise:
  • Keep it broad enough to be meaningful.
  • Focus on the "main focus" of the site/tool/app with recognition that there may be some overlap between categories
  • Consider "features" such as profiling, rankings, purchasing, etc... as attributes of brands within each category - rather than categories themselves.
  • Also keep topics, such as "events" or "teens" as a separate attribute of a brand within a specific category.
  • Software/hosting providers aren't the major focus here - perhaps put these in as another category?
  • Services only for corporate use (e.g. Yammer) might warrant a new category
So - here are the categories I have so far. Please weigh in!

Aggregators
– Any site that takes (refeeds) content from a bunch of sites and lumps it together in one site. Content may include news, profiles, blog posts, etc. These sites allow/encourage community rankings of site content, and repost content based on popularity.

Wikis – Sites that offer user-driven or collaboratively created information. These can be encyclopaedic, like Wikipedia.

Mobile – Any site or tool that is focused on mobile use or marrying web with mobile

General Networks – Large, general communities that offer a wide array of services, including profiles, messaging, “friending”, social utilities, media sharing…

Niche Networks - Communities of any size that offer a wide array of services, including profiles, messaging, “friending”, social utilities, media, which are focused on a narrow topic or area of interest. For example: pet lovers, artists, politicos.

Media Sharing - Sites or utilities that primarily focus on sharing media of various types, including:
  • Books
  • Audio (includes music, radio, podcast)
  • Video
  • Television
  • Film
  • Animation
  • Multimedia
  • Slideshows
  • Presentations
  • Live Casting
Blogging - Sites or utilities focused on full-scale blogging. These can include companies that host blogging platforms, utilities for bloggers, blog aggregators, etc.
Microblogging – Sites or utilities focused on micro-blogging, or the 140 character or less quick status updates offered by Twitter, Friend Feed and many others

Bookmarking / Link Sharing
 – Ablity to memorize URL and share it…de.licio.us and other sites apply)

Utilities – Downloadable (e.g. Desktop application) or embeddable (e.g. You Tube Video or MyBloglog reader list) tools that can be used for a number of purposes. These include but are not limited to:
  • Search (finding anything!)
  • Desktop (e.g. downloadable desktop tool like Twirhl – twitter app
  • Productivity (to-do lists, etc.)
  • Contact Management (manage your contacts across outlook/email accounts)
  • Profile Management (e.g. manage your profile across Social Media sites)
  • Calendar/Events Management (create your own, create an integrated calendar with friends)
  • Messaging (messaging others via mobile, SMS, other)
  • Status/Lifestreaming (Manage/view status across social media sites e.g. hellotxt, ping.fm)
  • Listening/Measurement (Enable users to measure social media usage)
  • Blogging (some are just for bloggers)

Real World Connections – Sites that connect users online to real-world events in their local communities.
Experience Reporting – Any site with emphasis on having users report their experiences (life experiences, customer experiences) related to any event. This may include a life event, shopping event or transaction, attendance at a conference, etc.
Location-Based Services – Sites that allow users to interact with other users or view data based on geography. E.g. Yelp (local reviews of local business)

Virtual Worlds – Sites that literally allow users to create avatars and interact within a 3D virtual environment such as Second Life

I'd appreciate your input on these categories! Is there anything you'd add or adjust? For example, where do you think Squidoo and Google Knol might fit?

5 comments:

LivePath said...

I referenced and very much appreciate Brian Solis' conversation prism diagram. Outstanding. Check it out:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/briansolis/2735401175/

Alan Wolk said...

That about covers it Leigh.

My only (small) quibble would be the term "microblogging" for Twitter et al. which I feel is something of a misnomer. "Lifestreaming" seems more accurate.

Dawn Gilpin said...

I think that it's useful to allow multiple classifications for platforms that fall into more than one category--for example, Twine, which combines link sharing, blogging, and other functions. Nowadays, more and more tools are trying to serve multiple purposes, so although I also enjoyed the Conversation Prim (and have used it in class), I think it suffers some of the same problems as any other classification scheme.

LivePath said...

Thanks Alan. I may call it "both"...

Dawn - I do believe there's strong overlap between categories. Yelp, for example is experience reporting and geo-locational in nature. :-)

This is the challenge of categorizing any data...and I do want to take a bit of an object-based approach. ;-)

Best,
Leigh

Chi-chi Ekweozor said...

That’s a pretty comprehensive list, bookmarked and Twittered.

You may want to consider adding a specific category for mobile-specific social networks.

Still early days I know but I’ve heard of at least one, Wubud.

Received funding a few weeks ago from Bebo co-founder Paul Birch.

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LEIGH DURST

LEIGH DURST
I’m Leigh Durst, a 20 year veteran in business, operations, customer strategy, ecommerce, digital & social media and marketing. Simply put, I’m a strategist that helps companies (start-up to blue chip) achieve business shift, create more compelling online and offline experiences. I also write, speak and teach about experience design and next-generation business. I’m a futurist, visionary, strategist, doer and connector with a passion for people and helping others. When I’m not on the road, you’ll find me in the San Francisco bay area, working, beaching it and hanging out with my family and dog.

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