What is a "Social Media Conversation Prism," and Why Should You Care?

February 28, 2024

Years ago, when social media appeared for the first time, it caught on like wildfire. It continues to shape the world to this day. It changed how people share, discover, and connect. 

Furthermore, it's still evolving, spreading, and becoming increasingly pervasive in our lives. To capture the state of the social landscape, Brian Solis partnered up with JESS3 in 2008. Then, they created the Conversation Prism.

Put simply, the Prism is a graphic chart of conversations between people on online networks.

Every few years, Solis and JESS3 update the Prism. It's because the changes in the social media landscape are significant. Conversation Prism 5.0 which was created in 2017 was the first update in four years. The 4.0 version was established in 2013. 5.0 is available as a free download.

It’s 2021; are people still interested in the Social Media Conversation Prism? The answer is overwhelming YES. We are eagerly awaiting the next update.

The History of Conversation Prism

In 2008, Solis and JESS3 published the first iteration of the Prism. It was the year when social media was exploding and would change everything about how we learn and communicate.

Seeing that, they created version 1.0 as a visual map of relevant networks. It was a vital exploration in digital ethnography. Then, they documented all the established and emerging social networks.

Next, they organized it according to how people used each one of them in everyday life. Fast forward to 2017, and we have the Conversation Prism 5.0. Now we are moving through 2021 and since 2020, social media giants aside, there is much to consider.

Breaking Down the “Prism”

The Conversation Prism is a visualization of a cycle of renewal. Comprised of four concentric circles (halos), each one of them builds upon the other.

The Prism is designed to help marketers understand and appreciate the state of social media and how it's 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.


First, the center of the Conversation Prism is the user, or "You." It reminds us that people and their online experiences are at the center of the social landscape. 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 shows how to add value to social networks and the online experiences of other people. We do this by listening, learning, engaging, and co-creating.

Halo 2

The second ring helps us understand how to think about the impact of meaningful engagement. It's measured by the Reach, Relevance, and Resonance (the 3Rs). It also includes Social Capital, Popularity, and Influence.

Halo 3

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

Facts About Conversation Prism

The Prism is one of the first social media infographics 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 social networks.

There are significant changes between versions 4.0 and 5.0. The creators removed 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 is the Messaging functionality. It's now a behavior permeated through generations.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube are big conversation channels. 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. Also, it's been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times.

Different Ways You Can Use the Conversation Prism

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Perhaps unsurprisingly, the halos are designed to work together. It can help marketers improve their social media strategy and achieve their business goals, all with the aim to develop:

Also, you can use it:

  • To brainstorm new ways to benefit from social media.
  • For creating online conversations.
  • To study the social media landscape when planning your social media strategies.
  • As a tool for content creation.
  • To show your expertise.

Who are the decision-makers in our new economy and what are they doing? Also, how are they actively participating in online conversations? These are the questions that you need to analyze.

The Prism can help you get out of an archaic cycle of generating new business.


By analyzing the Conversation Prism, you'll be able to understand social media better. And with the right social media management tools, you can improve your results.

eclincher can provide information to become more visible, gain followers, and become relevant. Furthermore, eclincher comes equipped with features such as:

Plus, users can integrate the eclincher platform with all major networks. This will save you time and money. Specifically, you’ll create serious VOI or Value on Investment. Start a free 14-Day trial today or grab a personal demo.

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