I have seen similar classifications many times before and despite the fact I remain sceptical (there are so many ways we live our lives!) I appreciate each attempt to pin down few leading ones. As with any other means of communication, the brand is growing wiser in mapping out the channels with their audiences, so let’s have it!;) Looking at the above categories I would argue that an influencer is also a good networker and communicator, for instance.
Euan has made a point about word ‘digital’ yesterday and inspired to re-think it a little bit. How do we use the word? Do we live a digital life? If so, what is it? Me, well, probably more than most of my dearest friends who simply love to sit down and read a book or go for a walk and enjoy the autumn’s changing colours. I live the fairy tale of perfect relationship where ‘the digital’ co-exists with the traditional rather well. But is it an overall trend? For me sometimes only objective studies help to understand where we are heading. So here is one. TNS has conducted a global study called ‘Digital Life’, which you can find on their site. What is really interesting in the results of their survey is the correlation of e-mail and social media usage. Look:
Taken from ‘Drivers of Online Behaviour’ here (pdf).
I am really happy to see those stats, as I am constantly asked why do I work and live to convince brands and organisations to join social media platforms (providing their work is actually valuable, of course;)). See, I have a feeling, and it looks like it is the reality of many of us too – that the social media channels become an integral part of our lives. Now, please note: integral does not mean: most important! On the contrary – it implies that the channels we are talking about are nicely embedded within the entire system of communication tools.
As for our ‘digital’ lifestyle – the study presents few interesting ideas
INFLUENCERS The internet is an integral part of my life. I’m young and a big mobile Internet user and generally access everywhere, all of the time. I’m a blogger, a passionate social networker with many social network friends. I’m also a big online shopper, even via my mobile. I want to make sure as many people as possible hear my online voice.
COMMUNICATORS I just love talking and expressing myself, whether that’s face to face, on a fixed line, mobile or on social networking sites, instant messaging or just emailing people. I really want to express myself in the online world in the way that I can’t in the offline one. I tend to be a smart phone user and I’m connecting online from my mobile, at home, at work or at college.
KNOWLEDGE-SEEKERS I use the internet to gain knowledge, information and to educate myself about the world. I’m not very interested in social networking but I do want to hear from like-minded people especially to help me make purchase decisions. I’m very interested in the latest thing.
NETWORKERS The internet is important for me to establish and maintain relationships. I have a busy life whether it’s my profession or managing the home. I use things like social networking to keep in touch with people I wouldn’t have time to otherwise. I’m a big home internet home user and I’m very open to talking to brands and looking for promotions. That said I’m not really the kind of person to voice my opinions online.
ASPIRERS I’m looking to create a personal space online. I’m very new to the Internet and I’m accessing via mobile and internet cafes but mostly from home. I’m not doing a great deal at the moment online but I’m desperate to do more of everything, especially from a mobile device.
FUNCTIONALS The internet is a functional tool, I don’t want to express myself online. I like emailing, checking the news, sport & weather but also online shopping. I’m really not interested in anything new (like social networking ) and I am worried about data privacy and security. I am older and have been using the internet for a long time.
It also flags up some major issues with the way big brads approach consumers. The add below is nice, as it appeals to our emotions, but is it enough to keep us happy when we call the customer service of the brand and come across many difficulties during one simple call? Or would we rather have a reliable, personal contact with the brand just on the other side of a Tweet? See, my ‘digital life’ is based on human interactions and reliability of my relationships. I am doing my best to practice what I preach. I take it seriously, so seriously I hate myself for occasional failing in that regard. So I guess I know the nature of my ‘digital’ life. I leave the virtual world behind when I feel the need for a walk and have no issues with so called ‘disconnecting’. I wonder if I match any of the ‘typical’ profiles…do you?