Studying the impact of innovation on business and society

Please help us update The Conversation Prism v4.0

Even though there are a few imposters out there, The Conversation Prism is still the original and IMHO the most thoughtful visualization of the social media landscape. JESS3 and I introduced The Conversation Prism at SXSW in 2008. Since then, it has undergone three iterations with the last being v3.0.

I’ve good news to share. We’re working on v4.0, but we need your help to finish it. We’ve removed and added some categories as well as introduced and deleted many social networks and tools. This is where you come in. Please tell us what we’re missing, what branches we should consider, or what we should remove altogether in the comments below. You can see a detailed view here.

1.     Comment and Reputation
a.     Disqus
b.     Intensedebate
c.     Echo
d.     MySocialMediaReputation

2.     Wisdom of the Crowds
a.     Newsvine
b.     Digg
c.     Mahalo
d.     Reddit
e.     NowPublic
f.      BuzzfFeed

3.     Questions & Answers
a.     Yahoo! Answers
b.     Mahalo Answers
c.     AllExperts
e.     LinkedIn
f.      Wikianswers
g.     Quora

4.     Collaboration
a.     37 Signals
b.     Podio
c.     Zoho
d.     Google Docs
e.     Mindtouch
f.      Basecamp
g.     Socialtext
h.     Microsoft Office 365
i.      Mindjet
j.      Box
k.     PBWorks

5.     Social Commerce
a.     ThisNext
b.     BazaarVoice
c.     LivingSocial
d.     Shop Igniter
e.     Milo
f.      Groupon
g.     Kaboodle
h.     Shopkick
i.      Svpply
j.      Lockerz
k.     Zaarly
l.      Zappli

6.     Blog Platforms
a.     Blogger
b.     TypePad
c.     Movable Type
d.     Tumblr
e.     WordPress
f.      Posterous
g.     squarespace

7.     Blogs/Conversations
a.     Google Blogsearch
b.     Technorati

8.     Social Curation
a.     Pinterest
d.     Flipboard
e.     Zite
f.      Pearltrees

9.     Streams
a.     Twitter
b.     Plurk
e.     AOL
f.      Friendfeed
h.     Socialspring Streams

10.  Nicheworking
a.     Path
b.     Pair
c.     Diaspora
d.      Foodspotting

11.  Co-Creation
a.     Crowdspring
b.     Conenza
c.     Designcrowd
d.     Chirply
e.     Quirky

12.  Enterprise Social Networks
a.     Socialcast
b.     Communote
c.     Chatter Collaboration Cloud
d.     Yammer
e.     NewsGator
f.      Telligent

13.  DIY + Custom Social Networks
a.     Socialgo
b.     Mobileroadie
c.     Leveragesoftware
d.     Jive
e.     Crowdvine
f.      Ning
g.     Kit Digital

14.  Discussion Boards and Forums
a.     Tangler
b.     Google Groups
c.     Lefora
d.     4chan
f.      Gaia
g.     Big Boards
h.     Namesake
i.      Linqia

15.  Social Networks
a.     Perfspot
b.     Facebook
c.     Bebo
d.     MySpace
e.     Orkut
f.      Hi5
g.     Google+
h.     Tagged

16.  Listening, Intelligence & Targeting
a.     Alterian
b.     Citizennet
c.     Socialmention
d.     Collectiveintellect
e.     Radian6
f.      Whos talkin
g.     Spiral16
h.     Trendrr
i.      Crimson hexagon
j.      Netbase
k.     Visible Technologies
l.      Linkfluence
m.   Converseon
n.     PeopleBrowser Playground

17.  Business Networking
a.     LinkedIn
b.     Plaxo
c.     Identified
d.     Ryze
e.     Xing

18.  Reviews and Ratings
a.     Yelp
b.     Amazon
c.     Epinions
d.     Angie’s List
e.     Planetfeedback
f.      My3cents
g.     Viewpoints

19.  Location
a.     Dopplr
b.     Fire eagle
c.     Tripit
d.     Foursquare
e.     Loopt
f.      Highlight
g.     Sonar
h.     Banjo
i.      Glancee
j.      Intro
k.     Kismet

20.  Video
a.     Viddler
b.     Metacafe
c.     YouTube
e.     Hulu
f.      Vimeo
g.     Socialcam
h.     Dailymotion
j.      Vevo
k.     Brightcove
l.      TED
m.   Big Think
n.     Funny or Die
o.     5 Min

21.  sCRM
b.     GetSatisfaction
c.     Uservoice
d.     Salesforce
e.     Toucan
f.     Gigya
g.     Nimble

22.  Documents/Content
a.     Thinkfree
b.     .docstoc
c.     Scribd
d.     Empressr
e.     Edocr
f.      Slideshare
g.     Prezi

23.  Events
a.     Eventbrite
b.     Upcoming
c.     Zvents
d.     Socializr
e.     Acteva
f.      Meetup

24.  Music
a.     Music Finder
d.     Pandora
e.     Ping
f.      Shazam
g.     Spotify
i.      Moodagent
j.      Songza
k.     Grooveshark
l.      Jango
m.   Rhapsody
n.     Rdio
o.     MOG
p.     Slacker
q.     SoundCloud
r.      Bandcamp
s.     Google Music
t.      Amazon Cloud Player
u.     Musicovery
v.     Hype Machine

25.  Wiki
a.     Plime
b.     TWiki
c.     Wikispaces
d.     Wikia

26.  Virtual Worlds
a.     Second Life
b.     Habbo
c.     Entropia Universe
d.     Poptropica
e.     World of Warcraft
f.      Neopets
g.     Club Penguin
h.     Farmville

27.  Livecasting
b.     Ustream tv
c.     Flixwagon
d.     Stickam
e.     Blogtv
f.      Qik
g.     Chatroulette
h.     Blogtalkradio
i.      Livestream
j.      Vokle
k.     socialcam
l.      KIT Digital

28.  Pictures
a.     Flickr
b.     Smugmug
c.     Photobucket
d.     Zooomr
e.     Picasa
f.      Fotopedia
g.     Facebook Camera
h.     Dailybooth
i.      Picplz
k.     Instagram
l.      Hipstamatic

29.  Social Bookmarks
a.     Diigo
b.     Evernote
c.     Mister Wong
d.     Fotopedia
e.     StumbleUpon
f.      Delicious

30.  Social Marketing Management
a.     Hootsuite
b.     Media Funnel
c.     Cotweet
d.     Tweetdeck
e.     Seesmic
f.      Twelvefold Media
g.     Buddy Media
h.     Vitrue
i.      Context Optional
j.      Syncapse
k.     Involver
l.      Shoutlet
m.   Wildfire
n.     Spredfast
o.     Engage21
p.     MutualMind
q.     Sprinklr
r.      Expion
s.     Scroon
t.      Postling
u.     Argyle Social
v.     Awareness

31.  Influence
a.     Klout
b.     Appinions
c.     eCairn
d.     Empire Avenue
e.     Kred
f.      mPACT
g.     PeerIndex
h.     PROskore
i.      Traackr
j.      TweetLevel
k.     TweetReach
l.      Twitalyzer
m.   TwitterGrade

32.  Bio-Social
a.     Nike+
b.     FitBit
c.     Jawbone Up
d.     RunKeeper
e.     Lose It!
f.      Sleep Cycle

The Story of The Conversation Prism 1.0

In the original post introducing Version 3.0 of the Conversation Prism someone had asked, “Why is it called the Conversation Prism when it looks like a color wheel? If it has nothing to do with a prism, why is it called that?”

Believe it or not, that’s the first time I had been asked this question. So, I decided to address it because there actually is a reason. It was originally a prism because of the way a prism works—it is a refraction of light. The Conversation Prism was a play on “light” and “enlightenment”. Instead of taking the conversations that are happening on the social web and looking at them as one stream from an audience, run it through a prism; it bends the light so that you can see the light refract, and therefore see all of its separate conversations taking place. That was the premise of the Conversation Prism. We eventually had to put it into a circular format because after the first round of research, there were too many players to fit in the design of the original prism. If you can envision what Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album looks like, which was basically a prism, that was the original concept for how the original Conversation Prism would look and work: one light bending into the prism that was tiered from top to bottom. There are just too many solutions out there, so it had to become circular in order for it to make sense.

The Inspiration for The Conversation Prism

The Conversation Prism attempted to succinctly visualize the social media universe. In 2007 and 2008, attempts at presenting the sheer size of rapidly expanding social media landscape were beginning to take shape. Often, they would begin as a PowerPoint slide intended to demonstrate the opportunities and challenges facing today’s businesses. This might seem counter intuitive or even absurd now, but back then, experts called for companies to maintain a presence in every network.

Then and now, I still believe that the landscape of social media is unique to your business. With the Conversation Prism 1.0, I attempted to bring a bit more structure to the understanding of the social web. The idea was to organize the most prominent networks of the time by how people used them not necessarily how they were designed or marketed.

What very few people know is that the original Prism predated many of the listening tools that we now have today. It was designed with both form and function, intended to not only visualize the social media sphere, but also offer a click path to the search boxes of each network. This went directly against against those who said you needed a presence in every network.  Basic now, but at the time, it encouraged strategists to use the search box in each network to figure out whether or not that community was active for you and your market.

The Conversation Prism was and is a template for developing a social media strategy. Of course its design and purpose evolved over the years. But what continues today is that it is a social map where you plot your course to engage customers and influencers in the networks of relevance. It also serves as a reminder that businesses must continually listen to conversations and put a structure around it to stay relevant now and over time. Many listening vendors today will tell you that they used the original Conversation Prism as their framework for developing their platforms.

Thank you for your help!

86 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Please help us update The Conversation Prism v4.0”

  1. Mars Negrette says:

    Hi Brian, to Listening, Intelligence & Targeting: I hope you find it useful. 

    kisses, @marstte:twitter 

  2. briansolis says:

    Posting for Scott Plocharczyk…

    16. Listening, Intelligence and Targeting:  Attensity, Networked Insights, Tracx, ScoutLabs, and Bluefin
    30. Social Marketing Management:  Tracx, Hearsay, Sprout Social, and North Social
    31. Influence (would consider changing to Influencer Relationship Management or Social Brand Management):  Digital Signal, Tracx, SocialChorus, SocialVibe, mylikes, and 140 Proof.

    • Matthew Conlan says:


      Thanks for including tracx in v4.0.  Especially appreciate your recognition of tracx as a management solution; existing across multiple categories.

  3. Under virtual worlds, I’m surprised you don’t have Mine Craft. It’s loved enough by adults and children alike that Lego has just special released a Mine Craft set.

    There’s also It’s kinda like a cross between YouTube and Twitter. Not sure which category is best.

  4. Danny Crane Dc says:

    If you want to monitor The Conversation Prism, news, blogs, twitter, facebook, google+, youtube or any website you can use There’s an open search engine on website.

  5. briansolis says:

    Adding for Mark Morin,

    and perhaps storify

  6. briansolis says:

    Is mahalo pivoting?

  7. guy stephens says:

    Might be a bit too niche, but you’ve got social customer care – Conversocial.

  8. Lee says:

    Gaga’s Little monsters in social networks / Poptropica seems more heavily game than network?

  9. briansolis says:

    Add Venntive to sCRM

  10. Excellent idea, Brian, and thank you for letting us help. Here you are a couple of recommendations:
    3. Questions & Answers: Focus

    7. Blogs/Conversations: Alltop
    16. Listening, Intelligence & Targeting or 30: Social Marketing Management: Social Bakers

    25. Wiki: WetpaintCheers,

    • Just correcting:
      3. Questions & Answers: Focus
      7. Blogs/Conversations: Alltop
      16. Listening, Intelligence & Targeting or 30: Social Marketing Management: Social Bakers
      25. Wiki: Wetpaint


  11. Hi Brian – It’s a good list, but very US-focused and missing lots of non-US players – e.g.  

    Listening and Intelligence
    Brandwatch (UK, US, Germany)
    Brandtology (Singapore, US, China)
    Sentiment Metrics (UK, Australia)
    Synthesio (France, US)
    Integrasco (Norway)
    Spotter (France)

    Social Marketing Management

    Engage Sciences (UK, US)
    MarketMeSuite (UK, US)
    Agorapulse (France)

    • briansolis says:

       Hello Luke. I’ll take a look at these other solutions. We have developed country specific version of the Prism. Of the list above, how many include US/English speaking countries as primary markets?

    • I would say Brandwatch, Sentiment Metrics, Synthesio, Engage Sciences and MarketMeSuite – for sure. Agorapulse have a lot of French clients, but are making headway in the UK/US too (their CEO spoke at AllFacebook’s event in San Francisco a week ago). I’d be happy to pitch in on the location-specific versions. Just ping me if you want some lists 🙂

    • briansolis says:

       Would love the help… 🙂

    • Alrighty then. Are you interested in any specific regions/locations? I’ll email you some lists.

  12. Great post, appreciate the time to develop and feedback.

    15. Social Networks: Plinky (daily writing prompts), Goodreads (book reviews),, Wattpad

    8. Social Curration: Trove, Wavii,

    31. Influence/Management: TwitterCounter, FollowerWonk, Wahooly, 

    30. Social Marketing Management: BufferApp (noted by others), Qwitter, Manage Flitter, ContentScorer

  13. Brian says:

    MangoApps by MangoSpring

  14. Gawed says:

    I would say that UberVu, Viralheat and TrackUr are missing from Listening platforms 

  15. Sheena says:

    Unbucket, bizspark,

  16. Apologies for any repetition but may I add
    Bambuser (Livecasting)
    Storify, Scoop-it, Trove, Twylah  (Social Curation)
    Echo Research (Comment and Reputation)
    Y-frog (Pictures)
    Dropbox (Documents)
    Audioboo, Soundcloud

  17. Brian,

    More to consider.

    Tweet chats:

    Social Marketing Management
    socialbro plugin

    And many more!

  18. Peñalba says:

    would love to see a version of the ‘Prism meets Pink Floyd’s art. 

    • briansolis says:

      Actually…me too. Against a black background. 

      Hey Zak, I know as you’re helping me here. Please keep note of this one. We’ll issue a separate infographic…

  19. ebclosmore says:

    Sprinklr is missing from the following areas:
    Listening, Intelligence & Targeting

  20. Maria Sipka says:

    Hi Brian! Great list and awesome to see you’re updating it. Thanks for including Linqia in the list. We wouldn’t categorize Linqia in Discussion Boards and Forums (as we help brands be matched to influential community leaders through our platform) but rather a new category – influencer activation (or influencer outreach) with the following companies operating in this space: linqia, say media,, social spark, ebuzzing, blogdash.  Thanks! Maria

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