This blog was created as a forum for class discussion for JLMC/TSC 574, Communication Technology & Social Change offered at the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication.
For this posting, come up with your own adopter categories. Name each one of them and describe the characteristics of each group.
For these new categories I am following classic High School Stereotypes, putting emphasis on the social status of adopters; Nerds (Innovators): They are not afraid to try new things, are closely interacting with people of the same frame of mind; they are pushing the envelope on new innovation. These are the ones who have a clear focus - a field of interest they spend most of their time thinking and possibly also improving on. They are the first ones to know about, and know the potential value of, new innovations. Leaders (Early adopters/early majority): The people who are responsible for ensuring that the Followers reap the benefits of the Nerds’ groundwork. They have a larger social reach and status than Nerds, and are therefore the ones who ensure success of a new product. People listen to them, or if they are intimidated by their leadership, they look up to them and observe what new things they have or are doing. Followers (Late majority/Laggards): As the name suggests, these people have below average social status, and are dependent on more strong leadership types to truly observe the emergence of innovations. They are out of the social loop, and unlike the Nerds they don’t have a specific interest or hobby that drives them. Unlike leaders, Followers have little or no opinion leadership, and are generally more skeptical of innovations.
This is slightly off topic, but I was watching TV tonight and a commercial for Starburst came on. It fit in so well with what we were talking about in class today that I had to find it on YouTube and watch it again (and then I felt compelled to share!): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtVkI8ddLCg“You’re not weird, you’re an innovator!” Funny.
1. Ground breakers- Are the first to use and adopt technology. These individuals likely have inner connections to the development of technology and are the first to use and test out products. Ground breakers are adventuresome and enjoy experimentation with new products.2. Initial pioneers- Are some of the first people to use the technology or product in their everyday lives. Initial pioneers have a higher tolerance for new technology and are aware that the product is not “perfect” quite yet. These pioneers typically have higher education levels and socioeconomic statuses than later groups. The initial pioneers may be touting the benefits of the product to family and friends, thus spreading the word and encouraging others to adopt.3. Mass adopters-The product is now being used by many more individuals known as mass adopters. Mass adopters have likely seen the benefits of the product and are willing to give the product a try. The product has been around for some time now, therefore making the decision to try the product less risky for this group of people.4. Belated adopters- Adopters in this category are typically quite cautious. However, since many people they know likely use the product or technology in their everyday lives, belated adopters feel more comfortable using the product. Belated adopters want to make sure the new technology or product will fit their lives and are less likely to take a risk early on with the product.5. Stragglers- Stragglers are the last group of people to adopt the product or technology. Stragglers enjoy sameness and are not eager to engage in a change simply due to a technological innovation. Therefore, stragglers want to make sure the product has withstood the test of time and have a network of people they know who successfully use the product or technological device.
Anniken, I like how your categories were created out of high school stereotypes. This is a really unique way to look at adopter categories. I definitely think your categories play a part into how teens adopt new products. Social status seems to play such a vital role.
1.Innovators:Innovators are individuals who invent an innovation and try to promote it. They are the source of the diffusion process of an innovation. They are generally are most creative and highly educated people among all the adopters. 2.Risk-takers:Risk-takers are individuals who immediately pick up an innovation after the innovators’ promotion. They are willing to take risks to try new products with unknown consequences. They are active and social in terms of continuing promote the innovation to more people. Youngsters, especially college students, easily fall into this category.3.Early Adopters:Early adopters are individuals who might hear about an innovation from their risk-taking acquaintances and adopt it soon. These people are more cautious about buying an innovation because they want to spend their money wisely, even though money is never a problem to them. They have high social status, solid financial base, and advanced education. Most of them are successful people who have certain social influence.4.General Majority:General majority are individuals who wait to adopt an innovation until certain amount of people already adopted it. Comparing to early adopters, they have less financial lucidity, so they need to wait and see the results and experience of adopting an innovation before they actually buy it. Most of them are middle class. 5.Late Adopters：Late adopters are individuals who decide to adopt an innovation one or more years later because the price goes down a lot as new innovations coming up. These people are more from lower class and to them money is the most important criteria to adopt an innovation. 6.Nonadopters:Nonadopters are individuals who never adopt an innovation. Some of them just personally don’t like an innovation, and some of them cannot handle the innovation because it’s too difficult to them. This group people tend to be older in age and lower in social status than other adopter categories.
Experimenters: This would be the equivalent to innovators. They are the ones that like to try new things that no one else has ever thought of and aren't afraid to make mistakes. Every once in a while, they come across an innovation that will successfully advance to the next adopter group. (1-2% of society)Niche Minority: When an innovation with potential is developed by the experimenters, that small group of people that either work directly in the benefitting field or take a special interest in that field would be the next ones in line to adopt it. While the mainstream society doesn't pay close enough attention to these little niches of society to even notice, those that find themselves in that niche are the first to find out about new innovations. (3-4% of society)Mainstream Trailblazers: Those that don't necessarily fall into that niche, but happen to catch wind of a new innovation through them could be a mainstream trailblazer. They tend to fall into the mainstream category of society, but they just might hear about new innovations from paying close attention to one of the niche groups or by just stumbling across it. (5-10% of society)Mainstream media flock: This is the vast majority of the population. Once an innovation breaks through the mainstream trailblazers, it starts to get picked up by the mainstream media, and as a result the mainstream media flock hear all about it. Diffusion increases exponentially in this stage. You could divide this group into the earlier and later perhaps, but I'm inclined to lump them all into one group, since they're all discovering the innovation through the same means, just maybe at different times. (50-75% of society)Late adopters: This would be the group of people that don't adopt the innovation during its rush period. While the vast majority is adopting like crazy, they either wait it out because they're skeptical, lazy, poor, reluctant to change, etc. But eventually, these people will all adopt the innovation in their own time. (10-20% of society)Non-Adopters: These people will never adopt the innovation. Either for stubbornness or lack of means, they have learned about the innovation, but they simply go through life not having adopted it. (1-10% of society)
Anniken:I thought it was interesting how you associate the adopter groups with high school stereotypes, but one thing I was wondering is: in a high school setting, how many of the leaders (i.e. popular kids) would ever borrow an idea from the nerds? I think if the world as a whole fit perfectly into that analogy, then a lot of good innovations would never get off the ground, because the popular kids would be too prideful to acknowledge the nerds had a good idea. That being said, I also found it interesting how you limited it to three groups. I was wondering if anyone would stray very far from the typical 5-6 groups. I think you did a good job presenting the case for 3 groups though.
Risk taker: the very first people who invented the new things and eagerly to promote them in a society. They like risks and innovation. Pioneer: pioneers are generally leaders in a community and willing to try out new innovations or new products. They are well respected by the community and usually with high social status and have the ability to persuade and influence other people. They want to bring changes in their community. Mass adopter: mass adopters follow the lead of pioneers. They are average members of a community. They are cautious in adopting a new innovation and they don’t want to be too avant-garde nor too left behind. Late adopter: they are often forced to adopt new innovation by social pressure because most of the people in society have already adopted it. Also they want to sure the innovations really have benefits in their lives. Some of them adopted the innovation may only because it is now affordable to them. Individuals in this category don’t have high incomes. The diehard: those people are very reluctant to change, rejected innovations that introduced to them. They are stodgy with old-fashioned habits and attitudes, traditional and conservative, usually relatively low in terms of income, education and social status.
my categoriesTechnocrats: scientists and high-ranking employees in firms that design and market new products. Usually corporate-backed, or with very deep pockets, money and resources are not an issue.Vanguard: those identified by technocrats as appropriate vessels for spreading the innovation. Highly-valued for their ability to affect opinion leaders.The Joneses: the people that the majority is trying to keep up with, feel need to be seen at forefront of innovation. Usually upper or upper middle class with disposable income, pathologically driven to be seen as innovators.Bandwagoneers: trying to keep up with the Joneses. Don't accept new ideas as valid until the fashionable class has first vetted them, voracious consumers of "reality" television.The Reticent: adopt new innovation only out of fear of being seen as "behind the times" only integrate which aspects of new technology are absolutely necessary.The Ludites: those who refuse under all circumstances to change from what they know works best.Hipsters: go backwards with their technology even sometimes to impractical extremes, form jug bands and move from nice homes to dives, obsessed with "vintage," the opposite of bandwagoneers.
Melinda, I like your comment about the high tolerance of initial pioneers for product flaws. I have noticed this everytime a new product is given widely publicized release (Apple products) and is immediately sricken with design bugs. It seems that there is never a shortage of those willing to explain away problems or perhaps see past temporary obstacles.
Melinda and Ryan,Thank you for your comments! I don't think that the cool kids would ever think to show gratitude toward the nerds, or even acknowledge their contributions as far as moving their technological lives forward are concerned, but as long as an OL (opinion leader) gets word that there's a new, cool gadget in town... the others should be soon to follow (as long as it is in fact an innovation good enough to adopt - which is probably is considering the OL has found herself/himself worthy enough to adopt it). If we take it even further I don’t think Bill Gates or Steve Jobs/Wozniak were particularly cool in high school (though I could be wrong!), but how likely are you to be a socially successful high school student today without at least one of their technical innovations (and perhaps particularly an Apple product today)?
Bill,I like the transition from The Joneses to the ones trying to keep up with the Joneses! It's fascinating how our social status is a product of what new things we can afford, or; what we choose to afford, or in the case of the Bandwagoners; what we can't really afford, but yet find important enough to charge to our credit cards at an 18% interest rate.Also, I wonder if your categories can be looked as a cycle. Hipsters appear to me to be trendsetters, whether they like it or not, thereby being an influence to innovators/are in fact innovators themselves?
Yuwei,It's interesting to see that we both choose risk taker as one of the categories. However, I personally think risk taker and pioneer are similar concepts. I'm not sure if this is the best way to categorize the early adopters. Just my personal opinion:)
Sorry for the late posting.1. Forerunner. They have the closest connection with new technologies, they are willing to take risks, and enjoy doing it~ They are probably scientists, or those who love science and new ideas.2. Opinion leaders. They have lots of exposures to media. They know the innovations right after the innovation is tried out by the forerunners. They are also close to other members of their community, and their ideas and behaviors are influential to them. They speed up the acceptance of an innovation.3. Great majority. Those people are willing to know the innovation, if the innovation information is available for them. Before actual adoption, they need interpersonal communication to make sure it's a good and practical thing of this innovation adoption. They are probably middle class, less able to try everything out for economic reasons.4. Conformist. They don't like to change, probably for cultural and societal reason. They are very comfortable with their own lives, so they don't change unless they have to. It's likely that those people are living in a remote area, under-educated, and low SES. 5. Positive rejecter. These people can also be forerunners in other area. They know what this innovation is, and how this innovation can do to them. They consider the innovation at first, and reject the innovation for rational reasons.
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