Only 3pc of virtual generation will be content creators

16 Jul 2008

Despite the proliferation of blogs and video sites like YouTube, and the creativity they will potentially unleash, only 3pc of the virtual generation – or Generation V – will be deemed content creators, new analysis claims.

A new report from Gartner on Generation V – a generation not defined by age, gender or social demographic but by accomplishment in harnessing the new digital age – says businesses will be able to target this fast generation using socialisation tools.

Gartner has identified four levels of engagement within Generation V that addresses the extent customers of companies will engage with other customers, as well as the level of engagement businesses will need to attain to derive revenue and enable the community.

The four levels are creators, contributors, opportunists and lurkers.

Up to 3pc of individuals will be creators who provide original content and who can be advocates that will promote a company’s products and services.

Between 3pc and 10pc will be contributors – such as followers on Twitter – who add to the conversation but don’t necessarily initiate it. But such individuals can be a powerful force in advocating or recommending products or services to potential customers considering buying a product or service.

Between 10pc and 20pc of individuals will be opportunists who can further contributions to a debate and ‘add value’ to the conversation taking place.

But the overwhelming mass will be lurkers, essentially spectators who glean information as observers rather than contributing to the conversation. However, they can add value by indirectly reporting to the rest of the community.

Gartner recommends businesses aim to address all four segments of this community. When it comes to investing in technology, firms should have a plan for deriving return on investment.

It warns many businesses are connecting to communities online without clear goals as to the value they provide to the customer or company.

The danger for such firms is that what began as a branding exercise could end up damaging that brand.

“Companies should plan to segment all four levels in the community – each has significant business value,” said Adam Sarner, principal research analyst at Gartner.

“Differentiation exists between sectors and industries. Marketers with strong brands attract more creators. Certain industries, such as insurance, draw more lurkers.”

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years