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Behaviorgraphics: Discovering The “Me” In Social Media

 Brian Solis /  February 25, 2011 /  in Business - Marketing, Social Media

Social media is a deeply personal ecosystem that I lovingly refer to as the EGOsystem. As such, there is a “me” in social media for a
reason. It is quite literally a world in which we are at the center of our online experiences, a place where everything and everyone
revolves around us. 

Placing ourselves in the role of this emerging social consumer for a moment, brands, businesses, and media aren’t sure how to see or
reach us directly yet. We’re lured through creative attempts to follow them on Twitter or “Like” them on Facebook. But for the most 
part in social media, we are faceless consumers brought only to life through avatars, bios and a history of our online activities and

Sometimes we’re part of demographic studies where we’re grouped by age, income, gender, education, etc.. Sometimes, we’re part of
psychographic studies where we’re grouped by commonalities, shared interests and passions, and themes. And often, we’re lumped
together through keyword mentions or online in uence scores. But the real question is, who are we online and what makes us
connect, share, and live online? Finding these answers is revealing and hopefully, inspiring.

If ignorance is bliss, awareness is enlightening…

Last year, I teamed up with my good friends at the JESS3 creative agency run by Jesse Thomas and Leslie Bradshaw to capture the
essence of how and why people were “living in public.” The characteristics of online behavior were diverse to say the least. However, I
documented recurring traits and organized them into 18 categories.

I’m happy to share that Behaviorgraphics is now available as a free high resdownload and also as a 22 x 28 poster.

Click below for various sizes(free):

1. Presentation/Slide

2. High Resolution

3. Poster

Which one/s are you?

At the center is Benevolence – The unsel sh and kindhearted behavior that engenders and promotes recognition and reciprocity, and
in doing so, earns the goodwill of those around them. This is the hub of social networking with a purpose, mission, and a genuine
intent to grow communities based on trust, vision, and collaboration.

Problem Solvers – One of the most common sources of conversations and updates in social media are questions…people seeking 
information in the hopes that commenters will respond with resolution or direction.

Commenters – Providing thoughts, opinions, observations, experiences, and sometimes, un ltered reactions to the information
shared online. They are less likely to produce original content, but are compelled to share their views based on the introduction of
content by others in and around their social graph.

Researchers – Peer to peer in uence is prominent in social networks and researchers rely on their social graphs for information and
direction to make quali ed decisions. They are also active in championing polls and surveys to truly learn about the thoughts and
opinions of those connected to them.

Conversationalists – Participation in conversations through proactive updates seeking responses or direct responses to other
content, conversationalists fuel threads within and across networks.

Curators – In the context of behaviorgraphics, curators carry a di erent role. This group works diligently to nd and only share what
captivates them as ltered by what they believe will interest their followers.
Connectors – Individuals who literally put the networking in social networking. Connectors represent the most resilient and obliging
roles in new media today, constantly investing in the quality and caliber of their networks and the nicheworks of those important to

Producers – Among the more elite group of online participants, their stature is earned by the amount of content they generate within
multiple networks.

Broadcasters – Social media is proving to be both an e ective broadcast and conversational platform. Broadcasters are mostly one-
way communicators who either intentionally or unintentionally push information to followers without injecting conversational aspects
into the mix.

Marketers – Pro les dedicated to marketing ideas, products, or services and may or may not include content outside of their portfolio,
unless the account is focused on funneling bene cial and value-added solutions to speci c audiences regardless of origin.

Socialites – Individuals who have earned varying levels of weblebrity, these new internet famous personae earn recognition and
attention in online networks which is increasingly spilling over in real world fame.

Self-promoters – Unlike broadcasters and marketers, self-promoters are unconcealed in their intentions through constant updating of
activities, events, and accomplishments.

Egocasters – Contribute to the “ego” in the egosystem and represent the evolution of self-promoters. Through constant promotion

and the activities and responses that ensue, promoters graduate to a position of perceived prominence and collective unawareness. 
What they think and say is what they believe to be the reality for one and for all. They lose touch with perspective as listening gives way 
to telling…

Observers – Often referred to as inactives, lurkers, or simply consumers, Observers represent the majority of the social Web today,
de ned by those who read and also share information in the backchannel, including email, and also in the real world.

Social Climbers – Social capital is not only something that is earned in social networking, it is something that is proactively pursued by
those whose sole mission is to rise to the top. These individuals intentionally climb ladders on the avatars, pro les, and social capital of
others most often misrepresenting their purpose and stature to earn an audience based on disingenuous intentions.

TMI – The things some share in social media continue to blur the line between what’s relegated to inner monologue versus that for
sharing with others in public. The state of sharing “Too much information” is dictated by those on the receiving end of the update, not
those who publish it.
BOOKS – Those accounts and pro les thatAPPEARANCES
RESEARCH are created to push messages
PRESS blindly and
ABOUT without regard for those with whom they
come into contact. Often times they’re tied to current events (using trending keywords or hashtags) or targeting in uential voices to
lure them into clicking through to their desired goal.

Leachers –Not included in the graph, but an important category to recognize as leachers take the good work of others and channel it
into their own accounts almost exclusively for the sake of promoting their cause.

Complainers – When we love something, we tell a few people; when something bothers us, we tell everyone.  Complainers are often
sharing their discontent as a primary ingredient in their social stream. And, as customer service takes to the social web, these
complainers are only encouraged to share their experiences to achieve satisfaction and earn recognition for their role as the new
social customer.

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 behavior behaviorgraphics brand business marketing demographics jess3 psychographics

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Sergei Dolukhanov says:
February 25, 2011 at 5:01 PM 

You are like the webster’s dictionary of Social Media Terms. Great work, very comprehensive. Gives a good understanding of
popular terminology on the web.

Aladdin Abbas says:

February 25, 2011 at 6:14 PM

Amazing is an understatement … I am going to use those terms in the future for sure!
40deuce says:
February 25, 2011 at 6:21 PM

Super interesting stu Brian. You never disappoint.

However, I think I might be scared to start really thinking about which of these categories I t into. There’s a few categories that
struck close to home while I was reading, some I’d be happy to admit and some I would never admit to.

Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos

Diana says:
February 25, 2011 at 6:40 PM

Amazing…I could myself in so many of these categories! Thank you for the insight…got me thinking and sharing.

Diana says: 

February 25, 2011 at 6:40 PM

Amazing…I could myself in so many of these categories! Thank you for the insight…got me thinking and sharing.

Anonymous says:
February 25, 2011 at 7:33 PM

Bingo! Great insights and descriptions as to the types here. Some are very easy to identify from our own networks and an
interesting thing to create a graphic of would be to do this with pro le pics of those on our networks (for private only use of
course). I like it!
Ramon B. Nuez Jr. says:
February 25, 2011 at 7:42 PM


Are you suggesting that in order for brands, businesses and media to understand the social consumer — it is necessary for them
to rst understand the Behaviorgraphics? Since Benevolence is the core do brands simply focus on that behavior to leverage the
most out of social capital?

sfPaul says:
February 25, 2011 at 8:09 PM

It’s interesting that by placing Benevolence at the center of the Egosystem, you omit a lot of the Dark Side of motivations and

behaviors. I would add a couple of more categories of not-so-benevolent users:

* Trolls: people who make in ammatory or hostile contributions for the sake of provoking a reaction or disrupting debate

* Sock puppets: people or companies who use a false identity to conceal their personal stake in a debate, to secretly promote or
defend themselves or their agenda, or to attack a rival

Rachel Patterson says:

February 25, 2011 at 9:44 PM

Wow this is great work Brian! It is always easy to do quantitative analysis but to make Qualitative information numerical is
awesome so Kudos to you.
Rachel Patterson says:
February 25, 2011 at 9:44 PM

Wow this is great work Brian! It is always easy to do quantitative analysis but to make Qualitative information numerical is
awesome so Kudos to you.

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Segreto Paul says:

February 26, 2011 at 3:23 PM

IWorking with many franchise clients to integrate social media into their organizations, I know I wear many hats. With all the

descriptions you’ve provided in this post, it now makes it easier for me to see which hat I’m wearing at a certain time with a
speci c client. I believe it may make it easier to not only understand my role better, but to be able to communicate my thoughts
more e ectively. It’s kind of the not knowing where you’re going unless you know where you came from. Now, it’s clearer to me
where I’m coning from. As always, Brian, thanks for some really great insight!

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Rebecca Levey says:

February 26, 2011 at 11:31 PM
This is a great breakdown – though you certainly need Trolls in there. Now if you could create a Venn Diagram app that lets you
map which of these categories you fall into you’d really have something fun…

Kate Elphick says:

February 27, 2011 at 7:03 AM

I would add another category, the Entertainer who acts as the DJ of his life and entertains the audience with a mixture of
comedy and comments on life and regularly shares music and writing etc. Perhaps this falls under benevolence?

Kerrylange says:
February 28, 2011 at 8:12 PM

Totally agree Kate!

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Ali Handscomb says:

February 27, 2011 at 3:23 PM
I think that people ow from one type to another as well and therefore all areas are interconnected. Perhaps we need all these
types in order to socialise. I wonder though whether social media types are any di erent from real life types?

Agree with other comments that troll and entertainer are needed but I guess we can always add more. Really thought provoking
stu .

briansolis says:
February 27, 2011 at 4:27 PM

Ali, I’ve found that how we behave online is typically di erent than IRL…however, what we do virtually slowly starts to a ect our
o ine behavior.

Agreed, I’m adding troll and entertainer

Josh Bernoff says:
February 27, 2011 at 9:52 PM 

Very pretty and illuminating. But do you have numbers for any of these groups?

Karl Havard says:

February 28, 2011 at 11:59 AM

Brian, I’m also intrigued to understand your thought process of placing “benevolence” at the heart of the behaviorgraphics.
Naturally, it is a single founded emotion which will be formed from years of that individual’s own personal experiences i.e. it is
relative to how they have existed so far. But isn’t it a biased central point? Would it not be better to place”trust” at the centre? No
doubt you will have considered these options, hence it would be good to understand your thought process. Thanks
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Kerrylange says:
February 28, 2011 at 8:14 PM

@briansolis Fantastic breakdown, this will really help us segment our audience. I noticed there’s no description for Connectors
here, which I think are one of the most important groups. Oversight?

briansolis says:
February 28, 2011 at 9:36 PM

That’s one heck of an oversight! Thank you for catching it. The copy/paste from word to blog must’ve dropped it!

SophieH says:

March 1, 2011 at 10:34 AM

I love it ! I was thinking of trying to see how those types match the 16 pro les of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. Maybe an
introvert type IRL could become an extrovert in Social Media ?

briansolis says:
March 1, 2011 at 3:02 PM

Sophie, there’s more truth to that then you/we realize…

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