Over the past few days, I had the pleasure of rubbing elbows with some of new medias top early adopters and content creators at the New Media Expo in Las Vegas. The town was abuzz with technology lovers and social butterflies who convene at these annual conferences to talk shop, network, and get caught up on the latest and greatest in the world of tech. Being surrounded by thought leaders, groupies, lookie-lous and disruptors in Vegas was something I highly recommend you do at least once in your life if you are a new media content creator or curator. You will come home with more ideas than you know what to do with!
After listening to Guy Kawasaki‘s awesome keynote discussion and having a very cool conversation with him on Monday morning, it was clear that Guy is not just a popular social media personality or thought leader, he is an innovator (artisanal publishing is pure genius).
What exactly is the difference between early adopters and innovators?
Do you remember studying something in high school called the Diffusion of Innovations theory that defines innovation as “an idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new by an individual or other unit of adoption”? Me neither. But, for the purpose of this post, it is a good spring board on this topic…
I am going to go out on a limb here and say that the difference between innovators and early adopters is that innovators have an original message or mission to deliver to the masses that will somehow change the status quo. Early adopters then come into the picture as willing participants who are open to trying or experiencing the innovators creation. From there, the innovative concept trickles down until the masses begin adopting it.
The participants and speakers who attend New Media Expo and CES are mostly early adopters, but after a few years of riding the new media wave, many transform into innovators. They become confident in their use of new media and sharing fresh ideas with audiences as they pave the way for others to develop innovations. So, I guess what I am saying is that early adopters are almost like innovation trainees. As an example, Jessica Northey (pictured above with Guy Kawasaki and myself) is combining social platforms to create an experience that she has designed for her audience called a Twangout.
With a background in radio, Jessica was an early adopter in social media. She utilized Twitter for online chats using the hashtag #CMchat to generate tens of millions of impressions each week that reached millions of people. The music industry noticed as the community grew and it wasn’t long before Jessica became known as THE country music gal on Twitter. When Google released the Hangout feature on the Google+ network, Jessica saw an opportunity to provide a new and exciting experience where her audience could not only tweet with their music and television idols, but they could also participate in a video conversation with them. Brilliant! The combination of Twitter and the Google Hangout naturally resulted in what is now known as the #CMchat Twangout.
There are plenty more innovators who filled the rooms at New Media Expo and CES this year, but the exciting part is watching what comes of it as the early adopters become the next generation of innovators on new and social media. Have you witnessed a friend, content creator or personality make the leap from early adopter to innovator? Do you think your next idea is going to make a splash of innovation? Let’s discuss in the comments!