Social Technographics

Forrester just released a new research report titled “Social Technographics” that talks about how consumers approach social technologies. “Social Technographics” is the term Forrester has given to what they are outlining as “six levels of participation” pertaining to the users of social networking sites. Charlene Li, one of the authors, has posted some overview info on her blog.

Here’s the breakdown of the participation types.

What I find interesting is that with all this social network craze going on lately, there is still 52% of online users that are inactive on the social space (see image). Furthermore, this group of “inactives” tend to be older women in the baby boomer generation. So, half of the online population isn’t even using social network sites… I smell some serious potential.

Now, I wrote previously about how eNeighbors should be focused on the boomer generation due to the fact that they are the primary homeowners in the neighborhoods we are trying to get online using our service. Let’s think about your average middle-class household in surburban America. Who is the “socialite” in the house? Which parent is running kids back and forth to all their activities most of the time? Who plans the parties and neighborhood events? The term “soccer mom” is not an accident. Additionally, our experience with our current customers shows that it is most often a woman who steps up to proactively get people involved with the neighborhood website and the communications that go along with it. Think about it, our tool is all about talking to people. It’s a pefect match.

If eNeighbors can target this demographic of inactive users (i.e., middle-aged women), an entirely new type of social network will emerge that will have soccer moms conversing online, texting, organizing parties and generally contributing vast amounts of user-generated content. And finally, we all know who really controls the pocketbook in the house too. What if these newly socialized group of women (who already shop online with Target and GAP) start to get comfortable with things like user reviews, ranking content and tagging sites? Watch out guys, the ladies might just knock you off the high-tech pedestal you’ve grown fat and lazy sitting on all these years.

Baby Boomers vs. The Internet

Fact #1:

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000, the majority of homeowners are between the ages of 35 and 55.

Fact #2:

eNeighbors sells an online communication service that serves as private social network and communication tool for managed communities and neighborhoods.


This would lead one to believe that the primary audience for the eNeighbors web service is the baby boomers since they make up the majority of the residents living in most neighborhoods.

Now we all know that this particular generation has a varied mix of tech savviness. For example, my parents couldn’t tell you what a social network is let alone why they would want one. On the other hand, most of the top tech companies where founded and are now operated by this same generation.

So, how do you market to this audience? Great question.

The answer is: We don’t know.

Seth Godin touches on this dilemma on his blog today. His summation is essentially that psychographics are more important than demographics when it comes to this audience. I would agree. Just because they are older doesn’t mean they don’t get it. eNeighbors is banking on this fact.

So far, all I can tell you is that people love being social (even the old ones). As broadband penetration keeps growing and the older generation gets more comfortable with technology, they’ll want to stay in touch. Especially within their local offline community.

That’s when eNeighbors will be there for them.