Through a tortured path, I came to July 2008 Gartner analysis of future trends, specifically on the future of work and "Generation Virtual." Gartner Says Enterprises Must Create Separate Marketing Strategies for Generation Virtual.
Gartner has identified four levels of engagement within Generation V, addressing both the extent to which customers will engage with other customers, as well as the level of engagement needed from businesses to enable the community. The four levels of engagement include: creators, contributors, opportunists, and lurkers.
Anyone who has been following communities knows this set of terms or variations, such as the 1% Rule of participation.
This report seems to be an extension of that to the "generation" of people who prefer to operate online and virtually, regardless of age (and gender, geography, demographic). I wonder if the research is suggesting that the numbers are beginning to tilt towards the Creators and Contributors. A quick glance at the numbers doesn't look like anything particularly new in that regard. Although I do note a useful distinction between the (regular) contributors and those who contribute more opportunistically.
I particularly like this graphic that Marketing Charts has pulled from the report in connection with their link to the article. While the 2x2 format may not completely fit, I like the additional suggestions on what it means to be a Creator, Contributor, Opportunist or Lurker:
Creator: "I want to own this."
- Establish a community
- Create blog / podcast
- Upload video content
Contributor: "I want to be part of this."
- Review a product
- Answer a question
- Contribute to the community
Opportunist: "Since I'm here..."
- Provide purchase feedback
- Ask a question
- Forward to others
Lurker: "I'll reap the rewards."
- Click, transact
- Read product reviews
- Read blog / message boards