So What is a “Social Media Conversation Prism”..and Why Should You Care?

When social media appeared for the first time, it caught on like wildfire, and it continues to reshape the world to this day. It changed how people share, discover, and connect, and is evolving, spreading, and becoming increasingly pervasive in our lives. To visually capture the state of social media, Brian Solis partnered up with JESS3 in 2008 (for the first time.) Then, they created the Conversation Prism.

Conversation Prism is a graphic chart of conversations between people who populate online networks and communities connected by different social media applications and mediums. Every few years, Solis and JESS3 partner up to update the Prism every few years. It’s because the changes in the social media landscape are significant over time. Conversation Prism 5.0 is the first update in four years (the 4.0 version established in 2013) and is available as a free download.

The History of Conversation Prism

In 2008, Solis and JESS3 published the first iteration of Conversation Prism. It was the year when social media was exploding and would change everything about the ways we share, learn, and communicate. Seeing that, they created version 1.0 as a visual map of relevant conversational networks and was a vital exploration in digital ethnography. Then, they documented all the established and emerging social networks which organized according to how people used each one of them in everyday life. Fast forward to 2017, and we obtain the Conversation Prism 5.0.

Breaking Down the “Prism”

The Conversation Prism is a visualization of a continuous cycle of renewal. Comprised of four concentric circles (halos), each one of them builds upon the other to advance intentions and strategies as we learn, experiment, and improve. The Prism is designed to help us understand and appreciate the state of social media and how it is evolving. Therefore, knowledge can help them understand how social media plays a defining and productive role in shaping how people, educational organizations, businesses, and governments build mutually-beneficial communities and engage.

  • Center

The center of the Conversations Prism is the user or “You.” It reminds us that people and their experiences are at the center of social media. We are the ones who shape our online lessons as well as the experiences of others. Social media is more than just a series of online networks.

  • Halo 1

The first halo or ring shows how to add value to social networks and the experiences of other people by listening, learning, engaging, and co-creating.

  • Halo 2

The second ring helps us understand how to think about the impact of online engagement measured by the Reach, Relevance, and Resonance (the 3Rs), as well as Social Capital, Popularity, and Influence.

  • Halo 3

The third halo is the manifestation of your engagement. How you engage and what others take away is what becomes your persona, brand, and the basis for your community.

Facts about Conversation Prism

The Prism is of the first social media infographics ever to be created. It has inspired many early versions of social media categorization platforms and management software. It represents an ongoing study in digital ethnography that keeps track of promising and dominant social networks. The Prism organizes them by how people use them in their everyday lives.

There are significant changes between versions 4.0 and 5.0. The creators removed a total of 84 companies and added 141 apps and networks. Also, they added four new categories – Messaging, Crowdfunding, Travel and Hospitality, and Connecting IRL. The most significant addition to the 5.0 update is the Messaging functionality because it is now a behavior permeated through generations.

Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are all big players with stakes in multiple categories. Younger generations see their visual social networks (Instagram and Snapchat) as their social network. As for the older generations, they still define Facebook as their primary network.

The Conversation Prism has been featured in thousands of presentations, books, and classrooms and downloaded hundreds of thousands of times over the years.

Different Ways You Can Use the Conversation Prism

The halos are designed to work together. It can help you improve your social media strategies and results, all with the aim to develop:

You can also use it to:

  • Brainstorm new ways and channels to benefit from social media
  • Create conversations about social networks and explain that it goes beyond them
  • Study the social media landscape when planning your social media strategies
  • As a tool for content creation
  • Show your expertise

Advertising, marketing, PR, business development, product development, sales, or customer service are all revenue-producing departments. They are essential to analyze and interpret the activities and changes in our modern economy. Who are the decision makers in our new economy and what are they doing? How are they actively participating in online conversations? What are they sharing? These are the questions that you need to analyze and implement to thrive. The Conversation Prism can help you get out of an archaic cycle of generating new business that you may be stuck in.


By analyzing and interpreting the Conversation Prism, you’ll be able to understand social media better. And with the right social media management tools, you can manage your campaigns and improve your results drastically. Tools like eClincher can provide a great deal of information you can use to become more visible, gain more followers, build a community, become relevant in your industry landscape, and eventually grow your business. Furthermore, eClincher comes equipped with relevant features, such as:

Users can integrate the eClincher platform with all major social networks. One unified dashboard for all your social accounts will save much of your time and money on social media management.

The Conversation Prism is there to help you understand how you need to address this space. Moreover, eClincher is a tool for social media activities, but mainly for listening. There can be no conversation without listening, don’t you agree?