Social Technographics Profile

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The Social Technographics Profile is a categorization of the different groups of Internet/ Social Media users. This article contains the definition of the Social Technographics Profile and a practical explanation. Enjoy reading!

What is the Social Technographics Profile?

Authors Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff explain this model in their book Groundswell, in which the results of Social Media research in different countries are described and analysed.

It derives from research executed by the well-known Forrester Research company.

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Social technographics ladder model - toolshero

Figure 1 – Social Technographics Ladder


The creators are the most active participants on the Internet. They are constantly creating blog(post)s, websites, videos, audio and / or other content.


Conversationalists were added to the model after the publication of Groundswell.

This group is also creating, but only to facilitate communication and dialogues.

They want to express themselves through status updates. This relates to recognition or trying to start a conversation or discussion regarding a chosen topic.


The critics are the opposite of the conversationalists.

This group responds to status updates, blogs, websites, news, forums, products and services.

For creators and conversationalists, this group is an essential one to maintain online interaction. However, there is a significant overlap in these three segments (creators, critics and conversationalist).


The collectors use online resources to absorb lots of information, or to express their preferences without responding matter-related, as critics do. RSS feeds, Twitter aggregators and other tools are important tools for this group of Social Media users.


The joiners are present at Social Media websites to maintain their own profile and their relationship circle.

They also absorb information to upgrade their own knowledge, but to a lesser extent than the collectors do.


The spectators are just viewing from a distance.

They are getting information, but are using it only for increasing knowledge about topics, friends, celebrities, etc. There is no active participation.

This group has no need to get actively involved in creating or conversing.


The inactives are not present on Social Media. Or they may be present but aren’t doing anything at all.

In order to determine where to find and to best listen to your target audience, the authors developed an online tool. Forrester Research has developed this tool and translated into the Social Technographics Profile. The tools can be found here:

  • B2C tool
  • B2B tool

The business-to-business tool is U.S.-based. The business-to-consumer tool has also focus on other countries.

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More information

  1. Li, C. & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell, Expanded and Revised Edition: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies. Harvard Business Review Press.

Original publication date: 03/14/2014 | Last update:04/30/2024

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Bart van der Kooi
Article by:

Bart van der Kooi

Bart van der Kooi is a Digital Marketing Strategist at online marketing agency StormMC. His specialities are Social Media ROI, Social Media Models and Innovation. Bart gives workshops, presentations and keynotes. He is the creator of the website Social Media Models and author of the Dutch book 'Het Social Media Modellenboek'.


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