How many social media channels do you know?

If you’ve ever seen me present, chances are you will have heard me talk about The Conversation Prism by Brian Solis @briansolis. For the past few years I’ve constantly been asked ‘how can I keep up-to-date with knowing what’s being used for social media?

One of the resources that I consistently point internal communication pros to is The Conversation Prism. I first blogged about it in March 2009 and again last year and it was included in the presentation I gave to IC pros last week.

It’s a ‘visualisation of the social media landscape’ or as I like to view it, a way to see how up-to-date (or not!) you are with the various sites and communities that exist.

I appreciate it’s hard to see on this page so do check out the larger version, which is available to download for free – I like the fact there is a whole section for digital downloads now.

Version 4.0 has just been released and according to its website, can be used in a number of ways:

  1. Show your executive team that social media is not a fad and that it’s bigger than Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest
  2. Share with your team to motivate them on new ways to think about social media
  3. Celebrate that you’re on the map!
  4. Study the landscape as you plan your next social media strategy
  5. Show the world that you appreciate art
  6. Give as gifts to everyone you know who loves social media or who needs to learn to love it

I use it to demonstrate number one the most – that the landscape is vast, it’s constantly changing and new sites are being added all the time. Have you seen me share it before? Have you used the prism yourself with your team or stakeholders?

Do Tweet me @AllthingsIC or comment below to let me know what you think of it.

ConversationPrism_800x600Let’s look at the information behind it. Brian Solis is a well-known media strategist, keynote speaker and best selling author and the principal analyst at Altimeter Group

(I’ve blogged about Altimeter Group numerous times over the years including my recent articles on social business, which included the Six Stages of Social Business).

The Conversation Prism website states: “Brian Solis set out to organise the emerging social media landscape as a way of helping enthusiasts significance of the new media world. He also hoped to provide strategists with a visual tool to consider unforeseen opportunities through a holistic lens.

“To do so, Brian partnered with Jesse Thomas of JESS3, at the time, a hot new visual design agency known for its unique infographic style. JESS3 brought a unique perspective to the social media ecosystem. Jesse’s creative design and Brian’s thoughtful approach would help make The Conversation Prism the standard illustration for all things social media. Brian Solis and JESS3 debuted the original Conversation Prism (v 1.0) in August 2008. It was initially released in a digital-only format designed specifically for blogs, websites and presentations.

“Due to popular demand, The Conversation Prism was also designed as a printed poster. In March 2009, the poster was distributed by the thousands at SXSW Interactive in Austin. Since then, the image and the poster have been updated to cover significant changes in the landscape. As of 2013, there have been four renditions with version 4.0 marketing the most significant change since 2009.”

Overview of categories that have been added:

  1. Social Marketplace
  2. Enterprise Social Networks (shortened to “Enterprise” for formatting, companies included here were previously grouped under “Nicheworking”, which was redefined.)
  3. Influence
  4. Quantified Self
  5. Service Networking

Categories Review:

  1. Virtual Worlds
  2. Blogs/Conversations
  3. sCRM (Candidate for new Prism)
  4. Attention/Communication Dashboards (Candidate for new Prism)
  5. DIY + Custom Social Networks (Candidate for new Prism)
  6. Collaboration (Candidate for new Prism)

conversation prismIf you’re looking for information about enterprise social networks, I recently published an article with 220+ case studies – and growing – of who is using what for internal social media.

I’ve collated the overview videos to a YouTube playlist and can see that hundreds of people a day are accessing it. I’ve been adding to it every day since publishing as people have been sending me links to include. Thank you to everyone who has got in touch, do please keep them coming.

I’ve just booked a ticket today for an event next week with Brian as he’s over in London from the US. As someone who has read numerous articles and his latest book, What’s The Future of Business, I’m looking forward to hearing him in person.

What do you think of The Conversation Prism? Will you be using it? Does it scare you how many sites there are?!

As ever, you’re welcome to comment below or Tweet me @AllThingsIC. Thank you for stopping by, Rachel

Update: See my article on Brian’s presentation here

First published: November 2013.


  1. […] only will you drive yourself crazy if you try to create a Social Media presence on over 200 channels all at once but also the people you want to speak with, do business with or […]

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