Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Post 3: Create Your Own Adopter Categories

For this posting, come up with your own adopter categories. They can be two, three, or ten categories--as many as you deem necessary. Name each one of them and describe the characteristics of each group according to your own categorization. Don't forget to address the socio-economic and personality characteristics as well as the communication behavior of each group.

27 comments:

Jo Jackson said...

I am going to be very basic in my categories of adopters: those that sink and those that swim. Obviously, those that swim are the individuals in a social system willing to adopt an innovation, regardless of how long it thats them to do so. Those that sink I would classify as skeptical and unwilling to participate in change. Essentially, they are lost in the sea of new technology.

Melissa said...

It's actually kind of tough to make my own categories after learning about the actual categories, seeing how they work in tandem, and feeling as though they cover the entire range.

I guess my categories would be

1) Pioneers. Same as innovators; adventurous, exploratory, have nothing to lose, etc.

2) Developers. After pioneers, these are the folks who use the innovation extensively, would most likely find any flaws in the innovation, and report back to change agents, etc.

3) Insiders. Functions as early and late majorities combined. General group of persons who consume or use the product, goods or service.

4) Procrastinators. Function as laggards.

5) Apathetics. There's always a group out there that doesn't necessarily care.

tammy said...

Hello!
My name is Tammy Enz. Yesterday was my first day in 574 and I am very excited about the class and about meeting all of you. This is my first semester as a graduate student in the journalism school. My husband, two children, and I moved to Ames this summer so my husband could work on his PhD in civil engineering. Civil engineering was my area of study for my undergraduate work, as well; however after several years working in that field, my career has taken some turns. I currently work as the executive director of a small rural environmental/watershed organization in southwest Wisconsin. My civil engineering background is helpful in understanding some of the issues in the watershed, but I find the social and communication aspects of my position most interesting and challenging. I am so excited about the program here at Iowa State and hope to immediately apply the things I am learning to my job.
My spare time is spent in getting my children to the various activities they are involved in. I enjoy reading, taking walks, biking, canoeing, and fishing with my children and husband.

tammy said...

As I catch up on material from the past couple weeks, I am responding to post#2 concerning the attributes of an innovation. My innovation is the Internet. I was attending college in the early nineties when the Internet first came of age on our university campus. A friend of the family was the director of the university library at the time and pulled me aside to show me how it worked. I was less than impressed and remember commenting to a friend that it was doomed to fail. I fall quite nicely into the Late Majority category on this particular innovation.

Relative Advantage: The Internet has many relative advantages over the systems it competes within the communication, entertainment, and research fields. Although as I was first exposed to it, it was geared more toward academic research and seemed unlikely to be of great benefit to the average person, as I did not envision it being available in each person’s home. I believed it would be just as easy to go to the library and check out a book on a subject, as to go to the library and read about it on a computer.

Compatibility: the Internet doesn’t show any strong incompatibilities with our U.S. sociocultural values. Once it had shown the number of uses for people, it was readily adoptable, especially given its adoption coincided nicely with the popularity of the PC.

Complexity: The innovation was not so complex as the computer systems which could handle the internet. As the PC became more accessible and user-friendly, the Internet was shown to be quite simple.

Trialability: The Internet had excellent trialability as it was first used widely on campuses, in schools, workplaces, and public libraries. People could easily use the innovation without any investment. I had an email account and used the Internet in public places for many years before bringing it into my home.

Observability: At first, it was not terribly observable but as more and more businesses and people relied on it for communication, it was quite obvious to those who didn’t have the technology that they were at a disadvantage.

Since the Internet scored high in all these categories, it was adopted very quickly. I think the most important category was its relative advantages over existing systems and the breadth of its influence.

tammy said...

Me again…
I just watched the 60 Minutes video. It does seem a bit ridiculous to get laptops to these children living in such impoverished conditions, but I see information as very important in empowering people, while not necessarily causing them to lose their cultural references.

I am by no means a religious scholar, but the protestant reformation in the 1400’s comes to mind as a time where information was kept from the common people as a means of control and repression from the Catholic church. The bible was only printed in Latin which did not give the commoners access to its messages. The church was able to repress many people by “scaring” them with falsehood from the sacred text. When the bible was made accessible to all, people were able to respond to the realities of the religion without leaving their culture and beliefs, in fact it does not seem to have hurt the Catholic church either, as it remains a strong religious force.

Another case is the Amish community in the U.S. They are surrounded by all types of technology and consumerism, but choose to remain in their “simple” lifestyle of no electricity and using simple hand tools. The information available to them has not made them feel forced to leave behind the things which are culturally significant. But I imagine they are much happier and successful within their community knowing they have the power to move on and embrace the broader culture but have chosen not to. I don’t think the fact that the information is available to them means they have to embrace values contrary to their belief system.

For the price of a single textbook in the U.S., these kids can be exposed to volumes of information about history, geography, literature…ideas that they otherwise could never know existed.

Melissa said...

welcome, tammy!

Daniela Dimitrova said...

And here comes the new iPod:

Video from the Washington Post

Melissa said...

the fac that they're going to integrate the interface on all apple products is a really big deal. it shows convenience and the ease of use.

tammy said...

As I considered this third post, I tried to come up with an analogy to help better understand the characteristics of each group of adopters. The titles may not be as suitable for descriptions of innovation adoption, but rather a picture of how information is processed in a typical classroom setting as an analogy.

Over-achievers (Earliest adopters): These students are ready for new information. They do their research before class, are on the edge of their seats ready to accept any information disseminated by the instructor. They are ready to extra assignments and readings purely for the sake of mastering the subject.

A-Students (Early adopters): They are ready to learn, but mostly concerned with making a positive impression on the instructor. May not fully comprehend the subject matter, but have their pencils ready to write anything that the instructor might say in order to perform well later on the test. They accept the new information to make themselves appear smarter.

Average Joes (Post-critical mass): These students (the majority) are in the class to get through. Not particularly interested in mastery of the material, not particularly interested in impressing the instructor or other students, but interested in doing only enough to keep their heads above water. They accept the information as a means to a positive end.

Slackers (Late adopters): They really have no idea how they ended up in the class. Not sure of the subject matter and not sure they care. They are not particularly interested in passing the class, but assume the curve will carry them through.

Andrea said...

I liked Tammy's mention of the two religious examples regarding the adoption of innovations. I imagine the Amish do know full well they can adopt any current technological innovations at anytime, but simply choose not to. Depending on the future of the lifestyle, their choice to adopt - if it were to ever happen - would no doubt be a well thougt out one and would certainly have great reason and need behind it.

While I still do not agree with Negropante's $100 laptops being sold to the underdeveloped countries and do think imperialism is an important concept to keep in mind in the situation, the country's decision to adopt is there's and there's alone and likely had great thought and reason behind it as well. Although I can't respect Negropante's anger toward being beaten to the sale by the competing laptop, I can respect the country's decision to adopt and their belief that the electronic education will be successful for them.

Andrea said...

Rogers' five types of adopters are pretty clearly defined in terms of the time process of an innovation and who adopts quickly and who adopts slowly. While his five make sense, I think that four categories can accomplish the same type of explanation by combining the two majority categories.

I've labeled the new categories in terms of the amount of mass media and interpersonal exposure they have since these factors truly determine their likelihood of adopting.

It's also worth mentioning that while there is concern today about the term "laggards" sounding disrespectful, I'm disregarding any worry of offending people with these new titles. I'm not judging the character or value of life of the individuals I categorize with these titles. I'm simply focusing on their use of media and each other to decide to adopt and their likelihood of adoption, which are objective evaluations.


1. (Innovators) JUNKIES - These individuals consume an incredible amount of mass media exposure regarding new innovations. For example, Sheng in the Reading Room listens to online podcasts of new Apple products that will soon his stores. In the podcasts, iPod/Phone/computer experts perform basically an hour-long ad campaign to a live audience in order to get them informed and hyped up about the newly arriving product. This activity of listening to podcast ads is unlikely done by the majority of a social system.

2. (Early Adopters) BACKERS - These individuals are considered fairly innovative by their peers and colleagues around them. The backers support or back the innovations that the Junkies have so radically introduced. They support and encourage others to follow and adopt as well.

3. (Early/Late Majority) CONFORMISTS - These individuals follow behind the actions of others, and therefore, adopt because others have adopted. This term comes from its use in Thoreau's Walden in which he grows tired and annoyed by conformists or followers who determine their actions by what their peers do. This describes those who adopt an iPhone just because everyone else has and it is now the thing to have by all.

4. (Laggards) SOLITARIES - These individuals have little contact with others who are unlike them and likely have little mass media contact. There term also comes from Thoreau in which an individual seeks space from others and technology, and wishes to keep living simple with what they already know and own.

Melissa said...

I like Andrea's categories, but it kind of reminded me of drugs (the word "junkies." It made me laugh out loud in the middle of my job. :)

But while I agree that four categories can accommodate the adopters, I still feel there should be a category to include the non-adopters....people like me, who have great connections to the media and plenty of friends who have the innovation, but no desire to have one.

Then again, I suppose it might count as "non-movement" and really might not have a place as a categories, especially since Rogers' categories are to show movement.

any ideaS?

Erin O'Gara said...

After reading Tammy's comments comparing the $100 computers to the protestant reformation and Andrea's Amish example, I really agree with Melissa that there should be a separate category for people who chose to be completely apathetic and set themselves apart from technoligical innovations, no matter how beneficial they may be.

Interesting points!

Erin O'Gara said...

I agree with Andrea that four categories can adequately cover each of the adopter categories, I think Melissa had a great point in that a separate category of non-adopters, or apathetic should be included. My groups are:

TREND-SETTERS (Innovators): These are people on the cutting-edge of technology with far more detailed and extensive knowledge than the average person, (experts in their field).

LEADERS (Early Adopters): This group is very similar to what Rogers describes as the individuals who are highly respected, cosmopolite and have strong social networks in which they are able to influence others. By chosing to adopt an innovation, they lead by example and influence others to follow.

FOLLOWERS (Early Majority): This group consists of the people who are directly influenced by the Leaders. They may belong to a social network including a leader, or may just be influenced by what they feel a larger mass is doing. Their decision may be only in small part becuase of their own opinion, and more largely connected to following what they feel society is telling them to do.

INDEPENDENTS (Late Majority): This group may be skeptical of new innovations and hesitant to adopt, even when others around them are doing so. Caring less about fitting in with a majority, they take more time to convince and need to see the impact of the innovation from the outside before adopting.

APATHETIC: This group, (such as the Amish commmunity, for example) has no interest in adopting the innovation either for personal, religious, social or other reasons. Although they may be aware of the benefits of the innovation, they either make a concious decision to reject it without trying, or they simply lack the necessary interest to begin with.

Xiaomin Qian said...

In my own adopter actegories, there are four kinds of people.

Adventurers(innovators): They are bold, open in mind, and always ready to taste water. They born to explore and often ignore conservatives' brickbats. Their actions sometimes are thought to be weird in the society. Mass media are their main channel to get information.

Early birds(early adopters): These people have greater empathy, higher education. They explore innovations through mass media, and will analysis externally, compare the innovation's advanteges and disadvantages to reduce their uncertainty then adopt it. Because of their higher social status, they are the model in the system, and have great influence.

Followers(early majority & late majority): They are discretion and don't want to take risk. When an innovation comes out, they often watch, waiting for peers' adoption. Most people in the society are followers.

Conservatives(laggards): These people are almost isolated with outside world. They seldom touch mass media. Their interpersonal communication channel is narrow. They resist new products, ideas, life style. They just want to keep what they already have.

Xiaomin Qian said...

I have a question about the Amish case that Temmy mentioned before. Amish refuse modern technologies and tend to persist their old life style. They punish the person who disobeys the rules. I guess maybe some youths can accept changes and even want to have a try. But they felt pressure from the system and were forbidden to do what they'd like. How to classify these youths? I think we can't say they are conservatives or apathetic individuals.

Melissa said...

Here is a link talking about the new iPod Touch and its storage space issues.

http://www.wired.com/software/softwarereviews/news/2007/09/shrinkmytunes

Melissa said...

Also this one about a 100 dollar rebate to early iPhone adopters.

http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2007/09/steve-jobs-eats.html

titun said...

For my adopter category I decided to do fashion as a trend and its influence on people as adopters.

Whenever we talk about fashion, a superbly hot looking lady starts reverberating in our mind. The reason behind this is, fashion is a replica of beauty, makeup and style, that is best seen in women

Trendsetters: They are a step above the traditional, who like to be noticed. They are bold, sexy and often successful in their endeavor. They may keep up with the latest fashion, but will take it to the next level. They may even seem eccentric at times as they are wearing what is hot, but add their personality to the outfit with all kinds of accessories. These people feel more socially secure and are more interested in fashion than other people.

Fashion leaders: These are high profile women who follow the latest trends and make it look extremely easy to be on top of fashion. They influence people within their own social world, and adopt modified versions of a style or look after innovators have received attention from others. They must have what is new and hot, as soon as it hits the runway. This is a good thing because it allows people to see the latest fashion trends and personalize it to themselves.

Fashion followers: People who stay in the background and not make a huge statement that follow, as they do not like to spend too much money on clothing. A trend follower has it easy; all they do is conform to what is being publicized. One has to want to look good but does not take it to the point of owning the outfit they are wearing, which means, they wear the clothes, but do not command the clothing.

Etse Sikanku said...

I like the way Titun has managed to slip in fashion with the categories. It kind of brings to mind some similarities between fashion and innovation in terms of adoptation. I was also wondering if perhaps there has been a study to find out whether people's technological adoptations are similar to their adoption of different fashion trends. There could be something in there and could reveal more about personality and rate of adoption

Etse Sikanku said...

My adopter categories are:

Upper caucus-The starters. They are the very rich in society and constitute the top elite in society. They are the first to adopt technology and in terms of personality do not mix often with the other mass of society. The Communication system in this group is very limited within themselves and they are the first to adopt new technology

Middle Clique-They are the critical type. By critical, that is people who take time to examine products to adopt it. This is where a large majority of people in society belong. They come after the Upper caucus. The socio economic demography among these people consitute the average person in society but with some major leaders. There is more face to face interaction and influence among members of this group. The communication system among this group is mostly done through mass media.

The lower gang. They are called slow motion folks. This last category is made up of people who usually adopt technology very very late. They are also normally the poorest people in society. However a group of them are lazy traditionalists steeped in the old conservative ways and determined to protect 'the usual way of doing things'. They are extremely careful of innovations and take a long time to make a decision. Sometimes they don't at all

_ said...

(Samuel) My adopter categories are based on the advocacy style rather than the rate of adoption:

"Come on, you guys..."
These people are the popular ones with all the ideas. All the savvy of change agents with all the connections of Generation Facebook, these opinion leaders are always advocating things they think would be fun for everyone.

"Yeah, that sounds okay..."
These people are the popular kids, but not because of their ideas. Known for their excellence in other fields like sport, these kids are some of the first on the cool-bandwagon.

"...whatever."
These people are the semi-popular, "everyman" folks who go along with what everybody else does. When everyone likes something, they like it too. When everyone else shuns an idea, they don't like it either. Devoid of most ideas themselves, they stay in the good graces of poplar people by knowing when to agree and disagree. It's analogous to the early-late majority categories in the Rogers book.

"Heck no..."
These people are the automatic contrarians. For one reason or another, they don't want to agree with the group. Going to Maple-Willow-Larch for dinner? They want to go to the Memorial Union. Watching a movie? They saw it last week. Want to go out? They'd rather watch a movie. Because they issue ceaseless contradiction, the contrarians eventually fall out of most social networks into isolation on the fringes.

Some contrarians will eventually go along with the rest of the group, but will grumble about how much the activity "sucks." The contrarian designation encompasses the Late Majority along with the Laggards.

_ said...

The fascinating thing with the people who are "compelled" to be laggards is considering either (1) what they consider to be innovation and (2) whether diffusion of some other kind of information follows a similar kind of model. Perhaps their social network is so close-knit that they simply don't perceive any of the modern technology to be much of an innovation - and if they found something that might be compatible enough with their values, traditional diffusion theory might still hold true.

Scott Schrage -- Program Assistant said...

My categories are as follows:

1) Trailblazers: Trailblazers constitute the first 25% of those who adopt an innovation before critical mass. They generally adopt an innovation not because they believe it will further their social status, but because they have a genuine interest in and knowledge of the relative advantage of an innovation. However, there are some among this group who adopt because they see early adoption as an opportunity to establish an identity, or as a sort of competition that they will not lose.

2) Ringleaders: Ringleaders constitute the remaining 75% of those who adopt before critical mass. They may be influenced by relative advantage, but are just as likely to adopt because they are familiar with the social value inherent in leading the acceptance of an innovation. Like trailblazers, they are generally upper-middle class (or among the wealthy), but may make financial sacrifices for the sake of maintaining social capital.

3) Mass-Adopters: The first 75% of those to adopt after critical mass fall into the Mass-Adopter category. Mass-Adopters prefer to observe and try out an innovation before they are willing to accept it, and are thus more reliant upon personal experience and interpersonal influence than those in the previous two categories. This is the group upon which opinion leaders (i.e., the Ringleaders) have the most influence.

4) Cautionaries: Cautionaries are the remaining 25% of those to adopt post-critical mass. They must be fully convinced that the relative advantage of an innovation not only exists, but that the gap between the new innovation and that it replaces is a wide one. In addition, they must have substantial hands-on time with the innovation; observability is not enough. Cautionaries are largely beyond the realm of opinion leaders, making the quality of the innovation doubly important.

Scott Schrage -- Program Assistant said...

I like the fact that Samuel took a bit of a different approach, emphasizing personality characteristics that play a large role in determining whether one will choose to adopt an innovation. As he noted in mentioning the "Heck no..." segment, some personalities simply cannot be convinced, regardless of the strength of an argument or even the personal gain they would earn by making a decision to adopt.

Eva said...

Well, it's so hard to create my new definition of adopter categories after learning that five categories. I may have five categories also, some are alike, but some are different: Innovation, early adopter(including the majority), late adopter, prospective adopter, persistent people.

Innovation is mostly like the definition in the book: venturesome.
Early adopter: positive. The masses who adopt early always handle some information, and be positive with the innovation. They may have some degree of economic support or social status. Just as iphone, not every one who want it can get one because of the high price etc..

Late adopter: scrupulous. Though the late adopter may get less information than the early adopter, the mainly difference is they are much more scrupulous than the early adopter. The late adopter are more patient to wait for others' result of trial of use, and then consider many other factors containing the economic situation, social status, peer affection and so on.

Prospective adopter: potential. This group of people can be determined by the change agent. Once the change agent find their needs and meet them, the possibility of the potential prospective adopter adopting the innovation is large.

Persistent people: very traditional. Some persistent people refuse to adopt the innovation and they are very traditional with lots of factors. It could be culture conflicts, limited knowledge, traditional customs, age gap, society affection etc..Most of them are too traditional to change, they don't like innovations even without try. And they don't care about whether it would be good or bad, they just keep their traditional things.

_ said...

Diffusion in Taiwan regarding electricity:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6987611.stm