Sunday, November 22, 2009

Connection Generation: A Review by Bob Crawshaw

I liked this review by Bob Crawshaw's because Iggy Pintado's book and his categorization of how people behave when it comes to technology is informative for Nonprofits. I think we always have to be considering where our membership or constituents are in regard to technology. That can be somewhat easier said than done. Take for instance the case of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology; it's probably a good bet that their membership leans more toward being Active or Super Connectors, and that fact drives how the Anita Borg Institute develops their programming. However, let's say your target constituents are low-income or rural (without access to solid broadband), you are going to have to employ more low tech strategies to reach them and that will impact your programming. It might be worthwhile to conduct an online (or mail in the case of the low tech constituents) survey to find out what your members or constituents technology capabilities may be and what their attitudes are toward technology.

I recently conducted a mail survey for a rural county and we discovered what we had suspected, that a majority of households have only dial-up and beyond simple email cannot download any photos, videos or rich text. This poses quite a challenge to Nonprofits trying to serve that area. On a final note, isn't that little kid and his t-shirt just adorable? Bunnie

Connection Generation: A Review by Bob Crawshaw, Maine Street Marketing

I have just finished reading the recently published book Connection Generation.

Iggy Pintado, a former IBM and Telstra heavyweight, looks at how Australians are taking to new communication technologies and their impact on our personal and professional lives. The book is a clear, simple read and valuable for those after fresh insights into how people are using social media.Pintado starts by identifying a number of "connector profiles". These are drawn from his own extensive marketing experience plus personal research he undertook for the book. He claims Australians - and this probably applies to those elsewhere - fall into one of five categories when it comes to using new media:

Basic Connectors are people with low levels of technological take-up. They can be any age but are united by their disdain or fear of technology. They need to be thoroughly convinced that new communication platforms can improve things and it often takes a tech-minded family member or friend to guide and encourage them to venture into online media.

Passive Connectors have a basic understanding of the new technologies but choose not to make it a priority in their lives. When it comes to online action they observe rather than participate. This is hardly surprising because many people in this category have traditionally consumed passive media such as print, radio and television. In marketing terminology they could be classed as the "late adopters" in the digital era.

Selective Connectors understand new communications technologies and use it to share experiences and maintain their family, friendship and business networks. However they stop short of expanding the range of their connections which limits their ability to take advantage of business and other online opportunities.

Active Connectors appreciate and use the new technologies to develop and maintain contacts, assertively share their thoughts and routinely use platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Linked-in for commercial and personal benefit. They are the marketing equivalent of "early adopters", people willing to try new things and take on fresh thoughts.

And finally there are the Super Connectors. These folks are digitally light years ahead of the rest of us and on the bleeding edge of technology. For them an online life is as fundamental as using running water or electricity.

These categories may define groups but they do not necessarily limit people. It is possible for individuals to move from one group to another as their circumstances and interests change.

Perhaps Basic Connectors are the most digitally vulnerable because the trend is for Australians to increasingly go online to connect their lives and that sea change is unlikely to reverse anytime soon. And what exciting times we live in when initiatives such as the Australian Government's National Broadband Program, the schools laptop program and first stirrings about Government2.0 have the potential to transform us into Australia's first connection generation.


  1. Bunnie, thanks for the kind words!

    Cheers, Iggy

  2. Bunnie, you're on target in terms of knowing your constituents so you can reach them. It means using different technologies with the same message. Sometimes it means finding a way to provide technology for clients.

    Low-income communities (& certainly those in rural areas) often need a center where they can access the Internet and get training in how to use today's technology. That's what the Cyber Cafe @ Malden Square is all about and is why its 5 partner organizations continue to fund it. We're not rurual yet we constantly have new people coming in who do not have a computer or, if they have one, don't have the high-speed access they need or don't even know how to use the computer.

    The Digital Divide is not conquered and includes access, training, and help with discerning content of value from the junk that's out there.

    By understanding your client base (as well as your other stakeholders), you can provide information in several formats and help people find the right media for to fit their needs. We need more tech-savvy people in our nonprofits to help us do just that.

  3. "Everyone has their favorite way of using the internet. Many of us search to find what we want, click in to a specific website, read what’s available and click out. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because it’s efficient. We learn to tune out things we don’t need and go straight for what’s essential."

  4. If I were to wager a guess at why, I’d say that users don’t “browse” forms. The interaction style users engage in with forms is different, and requires its own study and design best practices.
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