How do Accountants fit into the Social Technographics Profile?

In Chapter 3 of Groundswell: Winning in a World of Transformed by Social Technologies, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff mention their use of the Social Technographics Profile, a tool developed to distinguish the groups of users/consumers who are involved in the groundswell (p. 43); unfortunately they provide an outdated link to the tool on page 59 and readers are led to a 404 page.  Within that profile there are seven defined groups that consumers can be a part of:

  • Creators
  • Conversationalists
  • Critics
  • Collectors
  • Joiners
  • Spectators
  • Inactives

I am very lucky that I have had experience in each of the groups for many of my online endeavours, and will give a quick timeline of my experiences through each from the bottom-up.

Prior to my mom and dad each purchasing internet-capable computers and internet service (eep dial-up!) around 1999, I was in the Inactive group where I did not participate in any online social technologies.  Once they did make these purchases, I moved into the Spectator group, trying to absorb as much information as possible through the little telephone line at my mom’s and in the shortest time possible at my dad’s.

I joined Facebook on April 18, 2007; to some of my friends it was overdue, to others they still had not figured out how to turn on their computers.  I have never been a heavy Facebook user like others (e.g. FarmVille addicts), but I do generally check on my friends news feeds every week, and try to post a comment or like someone’s status.   On the most glorious day ever (March 19, 2009) I joined Twitter under my current name (@renita_olson), but did not start using the account until mid-2010; I had joined Twitter around January 2009 under my online pseudonym, and used that account exclusively until late 2010/early 2011.

I have been a Collector in multiple ways: as a fan of certain subjects, joining fanlistings and posting the links and images on my website; as a designer, collecting links to websites that feature free stock images.

As an administrator of multiple forums, multiple blogs/fansites, multiple Twitter accounts, Facebook page, and multiple domains,  I understand all of the final three groups: Critics, Conversationalists and Creators.  I know the amount of time and effort it requires to push out content and to read others content and offer feedback on it, and to keep the subject’s conversation alive.

I think that everyone is able to be a part of multiple groups at any one time depending on the subject, and accountants are no different.  Accountants can range from nearly any age (~25-80), might be male or female, they likely will make an above average amount of money depending on the type of work that they do; bookkeeping services lower than average, risk assessment and mitigation services higher than average, auditing and assurance on average for the industry.  But as a whole I would say that accountants fall into the Critics category, as we are generally expected to come into a situation after the fact, assess what is there and offer our recommendations on what should be done to remedy any issues; that is essentially the audit and assurance process.


Li, C., Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: Wining in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, MA, USA. Harvard Business Review Press.


3 thoughts on “How do Accountants fit into the Social Technographics Profile?

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