Social Media Early Adopters: Pioneers, Settlers, and Colonists

I’ve seen the social media community run from tool to technology quicker than you can say “shiny object”. I’ve seen us run from blogs > Facebook > Twitter > Pownce > Jaiku > Justin TV > Ustream > Digg > Delicious > Upcoming > Flickr > YouTube > SecondLife > Widgets > Utterz > Zooomr > Friendfeed > Plurk > and who knows what’s next.

Go to Techcrunch to see lists and lists of more products, in our industry, the barriers to entry require just a few thousand (ask Guy Kawasaki) to build and launch an application. Sadly, only some of these tools we end up adopting for the long run, in most cases, we end up wasting our time.

The key to adopting the right social media tools is to first figure out which persona you are. Next, you need to identify which persona your friends are, lastly understand how you can best observe, and learn from others.


Obsessed and enamored with the technology, this individual is always adopting the latest social technologies. This individual is fickle with tools, won’t establish loyalty to websites, may move when they see colonists adopt the tool.

Example: Often experimenting with products in their beta stage, this person will quickly move on to the next tool as fast as adopting the second.

These second generation adopters look for key market or network indicators before adopting a new technology. This person is less enamored with the new technology, and more interested in the value that it provides.

Example: They may trial tools after seeing several people in their network mention or trial the tool, and may adopt after a beta or trial period is over.

Colonists are the mainstream adopters, they are often our parents, non-techies, and the everyday people we meet. They adopt these tools due not because of an internal desire to stay cutting edge, but often because several people around them make it an attractive destination and the they see the utility to the communication. They are not late adopters.

Joins Facebook because colleagues, family, and friends are using it.

You can tell who the early adopters are on this video, pioneers sit in line, settlers come talk, but will by that week, colonists wait a few weeks/months/

So in the comments, answer the following:

1) Identify which persona you are
2) Identify two or more of your peers are the other roles.

I’ll start, read my first comment:

(Written on a plane flying out to Cambridge from SF)