When Brian Solis introduced the first Conversation Prism in 2008, the world was a seemingly simpler place. There were 22 social media categories, each of which had just a handful of brands. ("Video agreggation" had only one brand: Magnify.)
Flash forward to 2013, and the latest Conversation Prism (click here for the high-res downloadable version) has four additional categories with at least six brands in each. Like other Conversation Prisms, the data visualization attempts to illustrate the array of social media choices available to marketers. Various channels are classified by their function to the end user (i.e. "photos," "music" and "social curation."
The net effect: While the 2008 chart looked like a flower, the latest one resembles a kaleidoscope. Solis, principal analyst at Altimeter Group and a prominent social media marketing expert, says redoing the chart this time around has been instructive. "Things are changing so fast," he says. "We don't even realize [the landscape] is shifting."
The chart also points out that, for many, membership in the social media ecosystem is fleeting. While some brands like Xanga, Kyte and Utterz have disappeared, others that weren't around five years ago — like Path and Banjo — are now among category leaders.