The SEO Review

5 Spheres of Social Media, Guest Post

Posted on: October 14, 2008

Since I have met Jason, I have found his opinions of the web very interesting.  This is a perfect example of why you should follow him on twitter.  Great vision of what is to become mainstream in years to come.

Clearly defining segments of something as complex as the Social Web is a bit like trying to explain how men and women think; half of all people will most likely disagree with you. But will that stop us? Never.

The 5 Spheres is a way to illustrate the diversity of opportunities that exists for businesses on the Social Web. Internet marketing campaigns should always seek to explore which spheres will work best for their brand. The research behind the spheres helps them decide where to invest their resources within social media.

5 Spheres of Social Media by the Stratius Group

Networking

Social Networking of the 5 Spheres of Social Media

Broad social networking is what most people think of when they think “social media”. Myspace has captured the attention of the world with its widespread adoption by young online users and could be credited with much of the rampant growth the social web enjoys today.

The Social Networking Sphere includes all sites that are mainly geared around people meeting one another in a broad sense. These sites allow people to connect for various reasons, such as friendship, dating, resources, and careers. Most sites within this sphere will touch multiple other spheres as they try to provide as many valuable social media tools as possible to their users.

Examples:Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Meetup

Publishing

Social Publishing of the 5 Spheres of Social MediaPublishing, sharing and the promotion of various media is the focus within the Social Publishing Sphere. This includes the large subcategory of blogging, specific media sites for sharing video or photos, and reference sites featuring community generated knowledge.

Subcategories: Blogging, Micro Blogging, Music, Photography, Reference, Video

Examples: Youtube, Flickr, Last.fm, Wikipedia, Squidoo, WordPress, Twitter

Linking

Social Linking of the 5 Spheres of Social MediaSharing links to articles and other content, very often for promotion, is the priority of sites within the Social Linking Sphere. Many of these sites are referred to as “social book marking” sites, but this term looses accuracy since most of these sites are now geared towards sharing links, or the promotion of content to other users, as opposed to just saving them for later recall.

Even a somewhat pure book marking site like Delicious.com is commonly used to promote links to others. Many of these sites utilize some type of accumulated voting value to promote the “most viewed” or “most liked” content for others to see.

Subcategories: Link Sharing, News Sharing

Examples: Mixx, Reddit, Stumble, HubDub, Newsvine

Interactive

Social Interactive of the 5 Spheres of Social MediaVirtual, gaming, and crowdsourcing networks fill the Social Interactive Sphere. The focus of these networks is on dynamic interaction with others. The interactive portion can be a virtual 3D world that mimics our own, large gaming environments, or communities where users work together to solve problems and create goods and services.

Subcategories: Crowdsourcing, Social Gaming, Virtual Communities

Examples: Second Life, NameThis, Webkinz, Mosio, Threadless

Niche

Social Niche of the 5 Spheres of Social MediaMicro-focused networks that can really fall within or across many of the 5 spheres. Niche networks will begin to create much more valuable hyper-local online community content. But geography is just one section of niche. Sites form around very unique interests, from TV shows to sports and beyond.

Examples: Kirtsy, Ning, My Church, Passport Stamp

Jason Keath is Social Media Consultant in Charlotte, NC experienced in internet marketing strategy, advertising, design, and blogging. Network with Jason on Twitter at @jakrose.

5 Spheres of Social Media | © Copyright the Stratius Group

By the way.  Comments are allowed for this one!!

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25 Responses to "5 Spheres of Social Media, Guest Post"

First guest post for the blog. Happy that Jason was so easy to work with.

Very cool, very simple, easy to follow. I dig it. I can see these changing so it is great that they are described as “evolving”.

A good summary of social media. This is definitely a valid way to draw lines in what is otherwise a messy arena.

I noticed that you didn’t stick twitter into your list of examples. I would say that it crosses a few of these spheres. You can definitely place it in networking, as that seems to be a primary focus for many on there.

Of course we should forget that it is often dubbed “Microblogging” which would place it in the publishing sphere – I’d also say that WordPress.com should be mentioned as a prominent example there.

However, with the proliferation of links on twitter (and url shorteners like http://idek.net) it can easily be viewed as a linking platform.

So I would say that from an investment point of view, these groupings are helpful. You need to be putting money in all of these buckets. However, from a question of which site to invest said bucketed resources you need to think a bit outside of the sphere.

@covati on twitter

Adam,

Thanks for the comment. Great thoughts here. I like “think outside of the spheres” especially since these are just an initial guiding force, a focusing framework, that hopefully will encourage bigger ideas that overlap.

The examples you mentioned are key. Many of these examples can overlap, we try to pay attention to the MAIN initial purpose when listing the examples, but even that can be a blurry line.

We list many more examples here, on the main site as a directory organized into the spheres and sub-categories. But you are right, Twitter and WordPress are good to list in this article as well. I have added them to Publishing for Dan.

I like the niche bubble, I actually have never heard of those!

This is an excellent summary of the different applications in Web 2.0 world. As a beginner, I didn’t appreciate the differences between bookmarking and true social networks. The rise in niches is interesting to see, too.

Seeing as that there are now so many social networks catering to such a wide range of niches, my biggest problem is finding ones relevant to me and related to my specific interests or product niches. Google seems to be inefficient and returns alot of irrelevant results. A cool site that I use is this huge index of social networking sites.

[...] SEO Review identify 5 spheres of social media. I’m surprised he left off the sixth sphere, which one could argue is the most important one [...]

[...] SEO Review identify 5 spheres of social media. I’m surprised he left off the sixth sphere, which one could argue is the most important one [...]

excellent post! I agree that it is not exhaustive but it provides a very deep insight into the various applications of social media + it is very clever the way you have done the groupings. It defintely helps anyone moving into the area of social media marketing. You have my technorati vote

Your distinctions made between Social Media spheres is clear and logical. Because I am engaged in brainstorming and creativity, Social Media is very important to me for many reasons even as you have outlined. These communities are fundamentally positioned for “group insights” and “group knowledge”. Therefore, thank you for your simple definitions.
Brainstorming and Creativity

[...] SEO Review identify 5 spheres of social media. I’m surprised he left off the sixth sphere, which one could argue is the most important one [...]

This has helped a lot as I’ve recently started using social media as a networking tool to gain clients :D

Wow, so much feedback, its great.

[...] SEO Review identify 5 spheres of social media. I’m surprised he left off the sixth sphere, which one could argue is the most important one [...]

[...] SEO Review identify 5 spheres of social media. I’m surprised he left off the sixth sphere, which one could argue is the most important one [...]

[...] SEO Review identify 5 spheres of social media. I’m surprised he left off the sixth sphere, which one could argue is the most important one [...]

[...] SEO Review identify 5 spheres of social media. I’m surprised he left off the sixth sphere, which one could argue is the most important one [...]

[...] SEO Review identify 5 spheres of social media. I’m surprised he left off the sixth sphere, which one could argue is the most important one [...]

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[...] SEO Review identify 5 spheres of social media. I’m surprised he left off the sixth sphere, which one could argue is the most important one [...]

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