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. Brett Petersel says:

    Comment and Repuration:
    – Livefyre

  2. in social curation, what about” The tweeted time” , i’m using it everyday 🙂
    Tanks for your work !

  3. I- for Influence- I don’t see SOCIAL-IQ!!

  4. Ben Donahower says:

    Blog- Weebly
    Documents- Google Drive

  5. Miguel Higa says:

    Social Curation: and . Social Bookmarks: Pinterest 🙂

  6. Stuart Bruce says:

    Social curation – Storify
    Professional networks – Viadeo
    Events – Plancast
    Livestreaming – Audioboo
    Social Market Management – MarketMeSuite

  7. Shari Ilsen says:

    What about social good platforms, like Care2, and social fundraising networks like Give2gether, Crowdrise, etc.?

  8. Can we add Content Marketing Intelligence ?   @infinigraph ?    Content Marketing SaaS companies are a fundamental driver and a new category.    

  9. Patrick says:

    Comment and Reputation: Talkwheel
    Social Curation: Twitwheel

  10. WD says:

    Social Networking: BlackBerry Messenger 

  11. Dorothea Bozicolona-Volpe says:

    Hey Brian – I am in SF in August and hooking up with Jeremiah O – will you be around?

    Here is my short-list (there is more but this is what I could come up with in my current ‘hang-over’ state:

    IBM Connections




    Cisco’s Webex Social

    Google+ for the Enterprise

    Wisdom of the Crowds:



    Intelligence & Targeting:


    IBM Cognos Consumer Insight


    Business Networking:




    Nearby This



    For Listening &

    IBM Cognos Consumer Insight


    Social Commerce:

    Half-Off Depot


    Gilt City

    YP deals

    Deal Chicken




    Social Curation:


    Virtual Worlds:


    Social Media
    Marketing Management:

    Sprout Social




  12. Vernon Niven says:

    Listening & Targeting:  NeedTagger (mine conversations for commercial intent)

    sCRM:  NeedTagger (identify/connect with prospects)

  13. Few things. Regarding Bazaarvoice: Old BV logo should be replaced with our new one (attached). I’d also add us to the Q&A and reviews categories, naturally. 

    On Social Curation, I’d add Storify, Pearl Trees, Daily Brew, Percolate, Longreads…there are a lot more. 

    On comment and reputation, I’d add LiveFyre. 

    On pictures, I’d add Instagram. 

    On music, I’d add spotify. 

    Events, I’d add G+. 

    Hope that helps. 

  14. On social curation, you can add Dialogfeed (, working now with top brands to republish own social on site

  15. Jose Fernandez says:

    What about Buffer ( that seems to start strong as sharing service agregator on mobile app? 30. Social marketing service

  16. Waze is a crowdsourcing traffic app. 

  17. Peter says:

    Here are my suggestions, some overlaps with others:

     – Livefyre

     – Extragram

    Listening, Intelligence & Targeting
     – Unmetric
     – Google Analytics
     – Compete
     – Alexa

    Document Sharing
     – Zoho

  18. briansolis says:

    LivingSocial and Kickstarter

  19. Terence Chan says:

    While serving as an excellent checklist, I’m guessing that the conversation prism will get progressively harder to slice and dice as companies expand their engagement competencies and popular culture postures over time. As often said, we are now “at the end of the beginning of the digital revolution”.

    It would be intereresting to see how the conversation prism will look (from a company-centric perspective) if it were segmented in just 5 cuts;
    1. Social sharing platforms 
    2. Aggregator platforms
    3. Utility plaforms
    4. Networking platforms
    5. Self-expression platforms

    or 4 cuts from the lenses of the consumer/customer;
    1. The need to belong
    2. The need to discover and explore
    3. The need to achieve
    4. The need for fun and enjoyment

    As marketers migrate towards the customer experience holy grail, I’m wondering Brian, how this prism will look from those lenses.

  20. Joel Selzer says:

    Here are my additions for Enterprise Social Networks:

    Cisco WebEx Social
    IBM Connections
    Igloo Software

  21. John Borst says:

    Virtual Worlds – Webkinz World although it is no longer number one in the children’s world it was much larger than Club Penguin which you do have. Ganz has also just released in Beta a new world called Amazing World which you may want to include.

  22. Search is missing as a category, Dropbox is missing from collaboration and Google Docs is named Google Drive nowadays. Google Hangout should be in Livecasting, I think? How about WeTransfer & SlideRocket for Documents/Content?

  23. Jenny Raybould says:

    Kickstarter feels like co-creation or wisdom of crowd even though the conversation takes place through funding, not commenting. Sorry, I just saw you added this, but I’ll keep it in as a vote.

    Wikipedia is a dialog—though not completely open.Also I notice that regular shopping sites, notably Amazon, are bothering a lot less about product descriptions and leaving it all to customer comments. Actually very frustrating if you want plain vanilla list  of product details—I find myself having to seek out manufacturers’ sites to get them. Don’t know where/how this belongs on prism.

  24. William Seagrave says:

    Consider:  Rocket21 for Social Network;  Arktan for Comment Reputation
    Consider adding a Social Cause/Microfunding Blade – there are a good 20+ companies supporting that segment

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