I recently stumbled upon a post by Italian digital strategist Vincenzo Cosenza via his Tumblr blog. The post showed an infographic that resembled a bell curve so I decided to read the original post on this blog. Cosenza applied the Innovation Adoption Cycle to various social media platforms which included Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
According to Everett Rogers' Diffusion of Innovation, any individual who engages with a particular innovation fits into one of its five categories. It's really a great idea to apply such to social media platforms because it's a no-brainer that every social platform is a product of innovation. And with innovation comes the notion that no social network is perfect. But before we dwell with that, let me give you a short description of each category. Here they are:
Innovators (2.5%) – Brave people, pulling change. Innovators are very important communication. (Google+, Foursqure)
Early Adopters (12.5%) – Respectable people, opinion leades, try out new ideas, but in a careful way. (LinkedIn, Orkut)
Early Majority (34%) – Thoughtful people, careful but accepting change more quickly than the average. (Twitter, MySpace)
Late Majority (34%) – Skeptic people, will use new ideas or products only when the majority is using it. (China's QZone)
Laggards (16%) – Traditional people, caring for the old ways, are cirtical towards new ideas and will only accept it if the new idea has become mainstream. (Facebook)
Via Vincenzo Cosenza
If you'll notice each category accounts for a share of adoption in the cycle, it shows that every category has a given set of psychographic characteristics which determines whether people will be more or less likely to adopt a given technology at a specific time. The relative speed in which members of a social system adopt an innovation equals to the rate of adoption. In this case, the length of time is a requisite for a certain percentage of users within a social system to adopt and embrace an innovation.
The most notable figures are within the Innovators, Early Adopters, and Laggards. Google+'s rampage saw Google's social network rake 20 million users in 3 weeks, it has the potential to be the social network to dash through the adoption lifecycle. After reaching Early Majority, MySpace's users plummeted from 225 million users to 125 million, while Facebook's userbase was gradually increasing. On the Laggards stage, will we see Facebook hit a billion users? And what comes after that? With Google+ on the rise, will Facebook lose some of its users? Let's wait and see.