It is all about People - which one are you?

By Hanns Kohler-Kruner posted 06-03-2010 03:44


I am a big fan of Seth Godin and a regular reader of his blog. His insights and comments every day are fun and thought provoking… and make great presentation quotes  J

This week his “Is this Noise inside my head bothering you” was a good one.  He comes up with 8 stereotypes of people that are inside your own head and I thought it was a good a start as any and a lot better than some I have seen to talk about dealing with your user community. 

Seth Godin mentions

  • The Ego
  • The Lizard
  • The Artist
  • The Boxer
  • The Zombie
  • The Philanthropist
  • The evangelist
  • The Hunter

If we look at these from a Social Media /E2.0 perspective we find exactly the same types of people right there.

The Ego – seeking applause and recognition. They seem to be all over the Social Media Scene. While they may have been less visible in the past, allowing tem access to the tools can lead to a lot of selfserving entries into the systems. They are an interesting one to deal with. They provide content, loads of it… and each one of them starts with something about themselves or how great they are doing.  If they are knowledgeable about a subject they are a help, if not they are a hindrance – and some of them are not hindered in their contributions with any reality at all.

The Lizard – seeking safety. They are the ones that click the like and dislike buttons, but may never actually post anything themselves. They are the silent majority of consumers of data. Giving them the right tools so they can participate while coaching them to become more active with small comments or a simple “why do you like this” may draw them over the line, in a modest way. I feel that the majority of users fall into this category.

The artist – flamboyant, creative, they are the innovators of the group, inventing uses that were never intended. They may not be the biggest contributors, but they certainly find new ways. Giving them the freedom to try new things may give you the kind of impact that your Social Media Initiative needs to go in directions not previously perceived.

The boxer – a fighter who, like the Hunter, has a goal in mind and just keep hitting away at it. It may be a single idea, a single pet peeve but he keeps single-mindedly going after this target until he has achieved satisfaction. He needs coaching and someone to point him in the right direction, but in some situations he may be the ram needed to break down some of the walls.

The zombie – if this is the majority of your users, then good luck. They are the ones that that make no contribution to the new way of working – “we have always done it like this” is their standard answer and nothing you say will change this going forwards.

The philanthropist – the do-gooder in the organization, always helpful, always there if you need something but not seeking glory or rewards. He will post a lot of things in your Social Media websites, putting in best Practise, Shortcuts and everything else that he/she knows about. They are and make the best champions for your change management. Usually trusted, working below the radar, they are the good soul of any organization. Everyone has them, everyone knows who they are, and they usually do not sit at the top of the pile either !

The Evangelist – although caught by an idea and wanting to spread this, he/she is far more vocal than the Philanthropist, always in the forefront. There needs to be a little bit of Ego involved in there, the willingness to stand up front. All this person needs is an idea, a good idea and the conviction that it is a great idea. In the best case they are an asset in spreading the word, worst case they are a real nuisance, bordering on the Ego personality from above.

And finally the hunter, just like the boxer, a target in mind going after this with single-minded determination, blind to all other targets of opportunity. He is a bit like an unguided missile, once released. He may need some careful guiding along the way to make sure he keeps the right current target in mind.

All of these are stereotypes of the kind of people you are likely to have in an organization and some of them are crucial to the success of your Social Media initiative. You heard from Oscar Berg that it is not about technology, but about people. Well, here are just a few of the people that you might run across. Am I missing any types? How would you deal with some of the seemingly less useful ones like the Ego? I am looking forwards to you suggestions.