Innovation. Ideas. Insight.

The Periodic Table of the Social Media Elements

In Innovation on February 23, 2009 at 9:53 am

Social Media really is a lot like chemistry. There is a huge pool of elements you can choose from and an infinite variety of combinations you can create.  Twitter + sharing + commenting will give you a different result than blogging + LinkedIn + Flickr. Then of course there are the active ingredients – the people. A dash of Chris Brogan plus a big helping of David Armano and the whole thing changes again.

Well, this got me to thinking. It would be handy to have a Periodic Table of the Social Media Elements. So, I created one:


Social Media: Art? Or Science?

Social Media: Art? Or Science?

You can grab this from Flickr here. Please feel free to download and share.

Now, if I’m being honest there is nothing particularly scientific about the table. In fact, your table could be very different from my table. You have favorite applications, people and habits. That’s cool. The magic comes with using them all and putting them together in different combinations. According to Wikipedia (so it must be true), the Periodic Table is not a static thing:

“The layout of the table has been refined and extended over time, as new elements have been discovered, and new theoretical models have been developed to explain chemical behavior.”

So maybe in six months or a year I’ll revise this and add some new people, take out others, and mix things up a bit. I think it’s also a cool way to brainstorm – coming up with different ways to connect different elements of Social Media.

A lot of this is going to be old news to Social Media practitioners, but if you have friends, colleagues, parents, students or bosses who are having trouble keeping all the elements of Social Media straight, you may want to download/print this chart out for them.

I know what you’re thinking now (assuming you’ve been kind enough to read this far): Cool idea Rick, but what do all the abbreviations stand for?

Here’s the key:


Social Media Behaviours: (These are the positive things you choose to do)

Sh = Share

Mt = Monitor

Fr = Friend

Cv = Converse

Cu = Customize

Li = Listen

En = Engage

Di = Dialogue

Social Media All-Rounders: (These are the people you can find all over the Social Media landscape)

Mc = Mack Collier (The Viral Garden)

To = Todd Defren (PR Squared)

Lo = Lee Odden (Online Marketing Blog)

Dr = Darren Rowse (ProBlogger)

Mj = Mitch Joel (Six Pixels of Separation)

Ds = David Meerman Scott (Web Ink Now)

Pe = Peter Kim (Being Peter Kim)

Bs = Brian Solis (PR 2.0)

Sz = Shel Holtz (A Shel of my Former Self)

Rb = Rohit Bhargava (Influential Markeitng Blog)

Gl = Geoff Livingston (The Buzz Bin)

As = Andy Sernovitz (Damn! I Wish I’d Thought of That!)

An = Andy Beal Marketing Pilgrim

Ad = Andy Beard (Niche Marketing)

Al = Alan Wolk (The Toad Stool)

Cc = C.C. Chapman (The Advance Guard)

Nb = Noah Brier (Noah Brier)

Cr = Connie Reece (Every Dot Connects)

Kp = Katja Presnal (Skimbaco Lifestyle)

Da = David Armano (Logic + Emotion)

Jc = Joel Comm (Joel Comm)

Ls = Liz Strauss (Successful Blog)

Jh = Jackie Huba (Church of the Customer)

Vm = Valeria Maltoni (Conversation Agent)

Cg = Chris Garrett (Chrisg)

Ah = Ann Handley (Annarchy & Marketing Profs)

Jj = Joseph Jaffe (Jaffe Juice)

Ju = Joe Pulizzi (Junta42)

Ng = Nigel Hollis (Straight Talk)

Nh = Neville Hobson (Neville Hobson)

Bl = B.L. Ochman (What’s Next)

Si = Shel Israel (Global Neighbourhoods)

Ni = Nick Burcher (Nick Burcher)

Social Media Tools: (These are the applications and tools essential to Social Media)

De = Delicious

Su = StumbleUpon

Td = TweetDeck

Fe = FeedBurner

Dp = Dopplr

Tu = TinyURL

Tb = Tumblr

Fb = Facebook

Lk = LinkedIn

Te = Technorati

Fk = Flickr

Ms = MySpace

Go = Google

Dg = Digg

Social Media Practices: (Do these to maximize your Social Media experience)

Fl = Follow

Ht = Hashtag

Po = Post

St = Status Update

Sp = Spread

Se = Search

Hp = Hat tip

Fd = Feed

Rt = Retweet

Ud = Update

Cm = Comment

Jn = Join

Up = Upload

Tg = Tag

Tc = Tag clouds

Dm = Direct Message

Rx = Remix

Ln = Link

Mu = Mashup

Sb = Subscribe

Rf = Refer

Sr = Stream

Re = Reply

Rc = Recommend

Sn = Syndicate

Pk = Poke

Pm = Promote

Ib = Imbed

Social Media Live: (Bringing the Social Media experience to the real world)

 Pf = Piers Fawkes (Likemind)

Rd = Russell Davies (Interesting)

Cb = Chris Brogan (PodCamp)

Sg = Seth Godin (Seth Live)

Ha = Peter Shankman (Help a Reporter Out)

Facebook People: (Power users of the Social Media Networking platform)

 Jp = Jeff Pulver

Zf = Ze Frank

Twitter People: (Masters of leveraging microblogging)

Gk = Guy Kawasaki @guykawasaki

Wl = Gary Vaynerchuk @garyvee

Aa = Aloha Arleen @AlohaArleen

Sm = Scott Monty @scottmonty

Jo = Jeremiah Owyang @jowyang

Sa = Sarah Evans @PRSarahEvans

Sc = Robert Scoble @scobleizer

Zp = Zappos @zappos

Sq = The Real Shaq @THE_REAL_SHAQ

Bo=  Barack Obama @barackobama

Pc = Laura Fitton @pistachio

Tm = Warren Sukernek @warrenss

YouTube People: (Pioneers in developing content for social media video)

Ij = iJustine

Jl = Judson Laipply

Blog People: (Consistently intellingent, thought-provoking & educational)

Sy = Shoe Money

Ar = Ad Rants

Mp = Micro Persuasion

Aw = Ads of the World

Sj = Search Engine Journal

Cf = Common Craft

Cp = CopyBlogger

Ba = Brand Autopsy

Sd = Search Engine Land

Dd = Dosh Dosh

Gv = Gaping Void

Ma = Mashable

  1. I never was that great at chemistry in school so I’m sure I won’t be able to memorize this, but what is fun is that unlike Chemistry this is more of a snapshot of today and will evolve and change over time which I like.

    Interesting concept and thanks for the inclusion. I found a couple of people I did not know about so I’m off to find out more about them.

  2. Neon – I love it! Naturally, I’d claim to be part of a big “OPEN” sign.

  3. Hey Rick, that’s a cool idea, although I’m surprised there’s no Stephen Fry in Twitter People 🙂

  4. C.C. Glad you liked it. As you note, this is certainly something that can evolve over time.

    Peter – Thanks for the feedback.

    GHSEO – Great call, S. Fry would be a good add. I’ll file that away for the next edition!

  5. Great concept, thanks for including me. Figures that Peter Kim gets to be one of the “noble gases”. The beauty of the table is that you can add more people or groups as the social media elements get discovered and evolve over time.

  6. every once in a while someone really hits the mark, congrats on a job well done, super thought line and overall strategy. You=genius 🙂

  7. Warren – The term ‘noble gases’ borders on oxymoronic in my mind.

    Jeff – thanks very much, I’ll hope you’ll continue to visit the site and contribute comments (favourable or otherwise).

  8. Thanks for including me in the landscape. It’s a fascinating idea. Fun to look at, but a total mystery to me. :>)

  9. Social media does have chemistry at its base. Kudos for thinking about the format and for putting so much work into the execution.

    I’ll need to dig deeper into the definitions to enjoy it to its fullest. Thank you for the inclusion.

  10. This makes science fun. It even draws-in the ‘newbies’ like myself.

    I enjoyed reading this one…


  11. Rick…

    To be accurate, the right-most column in the periodic table contains the “Noble Gases,” the Inert Elements that do not interact with any other.

    Since this is in Twitter territory, I request that you replace elements 2, 10, 18, 36, 54, and 86 with Twitter “celebs” who do not engage with others.

    Don’t mean to bump any individuals out of those slots, but you have a chance to make a GREAT statement here. (Kick some of the others out to make room.)

    Oh… and save #86 for the dumbest of the Inert Celebrities, as Radon is the densest of the Noble Gases.

  12. This is AWESOME! Concise, yet complicated. I’ll be using this in the college class I’m teaching on social media & social networking in May. This will fit right in to that environment.

    Thanks for the resource.

  13. This kind of creativity is refreshing, nice job Rick.

  14. B.L. & Valeria- You’re welcome, thanks for the comments.

    fg – glad you liked it.

    Ike – Ok, you’ve clearly got science knowledge that exceeds by Jr. high school level. But you’ve inspired me to make the second edition even better.

    DVDH & Lee – Thanks so much

  15. You must have put so much work into this chart – it is outstanding, one of the most original things on social media I’ve ever seen. Very, very cool!

  16. With a ‘minor in Freshman Chemistry’ (which I finally came to understand was just the +/- laws of attraction), I have mixed feelings about returning to the hard math and science of soft ‘social things’. I tend to be a mechanical minimalist, 4 questions, simple formulas-exponential impacts ( But like it or not, there it is – and VERY well done – KUDOS!

  17. Very creative approach! Thanks.

  18. Pretty interesting and creative. I shared it on Twitter and mentioned that the full size version needs the key designed into it somehow. But nice.

  19. Rick –

    This is EXTREMELY creative, nice work! I look forward to watching it evolve over time, as no doubt you will get LOTS of suggestions (such as that from Ike above – very clever).

    I’ll perform some social media chemistry on this post such as Tweeting and blogging. 🙂

  20. An original and great piece of work, thanks for putting it together.

    @Ike – loved your comment, and so very very true.

  21. Holy Cow, this is so cool. I believe that it means that the old Periodic Table that I had stored erroneously for ages can be replaced finally with something relevant. Formulaic and freekin fun.

    Thanks for making me think/laugh.


  22. This makes me like the blasted periodic table again…. thanks for your creativity here, Rick!

  23. Very clever not only as a fun concept but also as a way to get people talking… David

  24. Well Chemistry was never really one of my strong points in school but this was pretty cool, fun and creative!

  25. Love it…really. Engaging and fun at the same time. Appreciate the work you put in on this Rick!

  26. Now, this is a periodic table that I CAN follow! And it goes nicely next to one of my colleague’s Periodic Table of Desserts.

  27. This is definitely in third best Social Media Periodic Table followed by New Zealand pop/folk duos that I have seen.

  28. Very clever way to represent social media. Ike’s comment about “noble gases” is amusing.

    I am surprised you don’t have FriendFeed ( which is a favorite (among many) of Scoble (Sc).

  29. 99% gaseous. 100% inert.

  30. The chem major in me cringes when I see this — but it’s interesting nonetheless. 🙂

    I doubt you’d be able to incorporate this abstractly into it, but part of the strength of the PT is that it shows both periodicity [trends ACROSS rows] and grouping [similarities in the elements found in the columns]

    I don’t mean to poo-poo on the party, I’m just not sure if the periodic table is really the best intuitive representation of the data; you had to make a lot of concessions about grouping/orientation in order to make it fit the original periodic table model.

    Why not design your own structure? Chemical elements are restricted to that particular layout because of their own nature — but there’s nothing to say you couldn’t establish the relationships between the datasets and come up with some sort of table-esque visual display, with its own periodicity and grouping. In other words: if you remove the restriction that it has to look like the *CHEMICAL* PT, then you can make the display more intuitive. 🙂

    I do think that the *IDEA* of visually representing the social media concepts and people into combinatorial sets is one worth expanding on, however. *dons flame-retardant suit*

  31. Aaron,

    Thanks for your thoughts. I really like what you’re saying here. Everyone’s feedback has me really excited and motivated to make a second edition, or at least a revision.

    I really appreciate the feedback and ideas, keep them coming!

  32. Great piece i love the interesting ange you took here. also great links to all kinds of good people and places. Thanks

  33. Thanks for the inspiration. I was looking for something to push me back to my blog. I have been estranged due to life, the universe and everything. This is simply creative genius. Thanks!

  34. […] bookmarks tagged layout The Periodic Table of the Social Media Elements saved by 3 others     narut0247 bookmarked on 02/23/09 | […]

  35. […] back to routine research on blogs, ethics and all that goes with it. I found Rick’s post “The Periodic Table of the Social Media Elements” and it gave me the inspiration I needed. Thanks […]

  36. very cool! especially since our software has elements nicknames. we love!

  37. Very creative – but what’s the criteria? Just personal choice? Hm. So we could all make our own…

    Nicely done. (except for the part where you forgot me! ;))

  38. […] have to be a REALLY serious student of social media to drill into it like Rick Liebling has done here, but the creativity and time that went into this makes it worth sharing. The more […]

  39. The problem with jokes like this is that someone will tag it “visualization”, then someone else will put it into “30 social media visualizations that will change your life”, next it’ll be a “trend”, and finally a cited source in a paper. And all the while it’s utter bullcrap. And not even the good one, just another guy making a list. Oh boy.

  40. ak – Hmm, not sure what I can do to regulate how other people use this idea. If you think the concept can be improved, and I’m sure that it can, I’d be happy to hear you out.

  41. Rick, I guess maybe you’re just too brilliant for your own good, aren’t ya?!

    Love it!

    Thanks for sharing.

    I will definitely be studying this article and table in the wee hours of the morning when I can focus in better and absorb it all.

  42. BTW…

    The reason I love this is because I am highly visual when it comes to conceptualizing…just mere words/symantics are just not enough for me.

    I love to create word pictures for things, and you’ve not only pleased my eye with this colorful chart, you’ve inspired me to begin to visualize the way that I use social media, as well.

    To me, this is a bit more than just another list.

  43. […] The Periodic Table of the Social Media Elements […]

  44. @Rick
    As Aaron pointed out, you are using a form of visualization that carries a meaning – at least in its original form. It’s not just funny boxes with letters, their order and position mean something.
    With the missing legend it is mostly an inside joke anyway, but nonetheless.. as soon as I saw categories and entities being filled in interchangeably, it was pretty clear there was no actual information here.

    You should use such a visualization in two cases, and two cases only:

    – if you want to visualize information that lends itself to the same sense of order as the original, something that can be visualized in this form while keeping the established meaning/conventions, but adding insight existing displays of the data/information lack: go for it.

    – if you are insanely funny and make an obvious parody of a visualization. Yet these usually elevate the visualization to a new level, usually by either strictly adhering to the visual conventions (dry humor, often language-driven) or making a caricature of the conventions themselves (the more playful, obviously “funny” stuff). Note that you have to master both the funny and the wise to pull any of this off.

    So… are you insanely funny, Rick?

    I’m way overreacting here, but people are confronted with “facts” made just so by misleading or plain wrong viusalizations everyday – leading to (mis)understanding, the very stuff mental models are based on.

    So while I, after writing this, must still really insist on the seriousness of my complaint (flooding the net with wrong visualizations), I probably have to say you are insanely funny – at least by proxy, because this guy already mistook it for sth “real”:

    Laughing, crying, it’s probably all the same..
    All in all, a good read: caught my attention, caused outrage, made me chuckle 🙂

  45. PS: A regular mind-map would probably fit your needs much better (although the small set of data becomes obvious really quick). Sth along those lines:

    If you come up with dimensions of the data, you could also map those out – multi-dimensional mappings take a bit more effort, but are actually very powerful.

    Possible axes might be number of subscribers, hits, posts; relationships between topics, authors, posts, readers, etc. Also the social behaviours and practices would be worth investigating, but for that you have to relate them to the authors, the readers, or whatever.

    A few pointers:

    From the looks of it, you’re looking for a more personal, opinionated form – my guess is a (possibly hand-drawn) mind-map would have the most impact and make the most sense for what it is you’re trying to do.

  46. Our teacher made us memorize the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements.. It was hard as diamond and now this Periodic Table of Social Media.. This is information overload..

  47. no friendfeed? no alltop?

  48. Great chart! I’ll be going over this for a while. I love all the thought and interaction that’s built into it.
    Kudos to you!

  49. […] of Eyecube, find the original post here, that includes the […]

  50. […] liste compléte et l’explication détaillée est donnée sur le blog EyeCub N’oubliez pas de suivre les posts via les flux RSS ou via eMail ou via Twitter Partager et […]

  51. Something else to trivialize science whoopy doo.

    This may be informative but in a way not intended. The Enlightenment gave us the means to do the science, to come up with things like the periodic table.

    Social Networking has given us ummm, let me think now.

    I social network but my fear is that it is ultimately empty, used for nothing more than self or business promotion just with varying amounts of disguise. (I am guilty of playing the game)

    I suspect that the Periodic Table will be around long after Linkedfacetwitfeed have bitten the dust and the venture capitalists have moved on.

    A diagram would have been fine but using the PT makes no sense to me.

  52. I agree @rick and @ak. Upon first glance the analogy seems a bit off… from a scientific point of view. But let’s remind ourselves this is a creative, light-hearted take on the social-media-verse. And, personally, I love visualisation of data and think it’s great!

    Here are a couple of thoughts:
    For future revisions definitely don’t restrict the overall shape of the table. Let your data define the number of groups and periods.

    The main problem with the periodic table analogy is that in the original table, the *chemical* elements themselves are static. The properties that define an elements’ grouping and periodicity don’t really change! Ar (Argon) won’t spontaneously gain a proton. However, Sc (Scoble) will spontaneously gain a follower or two. Or release more Tweets. Or…

    So the “atomic number” of social elements won’t be static and therefore neither will the table. This leads me to the conclusion that this Periodic Table of the Social Media Elements should change in real time! I know that’s a technical challenge, but I feel this would best represent the temporal, live nature of social media!

  53. […] This chart obviously took some time to put together and is undoubtedly clever but I found it pretty depressing. […]

  54. Brilliant. The next step would break down the influencers amon fiels of experise, ie food, law, etc.m

  55. Aren’t we getting a little too protective of the Periodic Table? Rick’s piece is just a cool visual that helps organize some data and relationships. Nothing wrong with that. Or perhaps you’d like to take on the Periodic table of Cupcakes, or the Wine visual,

    Next up Avogadro’s Social Media number…

  56. Ugh… You’ve just proven that my Freshman Chemistry teacher was right. I can actually remember asking her, “When in our lives will we ever need to utilize this table if we are not planning on being a Chemist or a Chemistry Teacher.”

    That got our class out of having to completely memorize it, but she was of course adamant it was the overall idea that we needed to know. The Chemistry side of it. The elements of discovery, the predictions, the bond’s and similarities, Those were what she wanted me to see.

    Maybe this is a visual step in helping us all “Discover new elements” or make predictions, find similarities, patterns.

    A good step is igniting that fire of conversation and thought, kinda like how she did. Nicely done!

  57. That is awesome. I checked it out because I am a science teacher….not a really great social networker though, I think it looks really cool! You are right that the periodic table has changed over time, so I am sure this one will too!

  58. I never understood why chemistry teachers make you memorize the periodic table of elements.. that’s just silly. It’s like memorizing the dictionary for an english class. (well, I suppose it may be a little more like memorizing the alphabet…)

    Know your C,H,O,N,P,S, your alkali & earth metals, your noble gases, and your halides — the rest of it is just details that can be referred to later ;P

  59. Thanks again to everyone who took the time to share their thoughts. I’ll put up a post tomorrow trying to address some of your comments.

  60. Bravo Rick!

    To a novice, the world of Social Media often resembles a mass of spagetti twirled on a plate mixed with liver topped with chocolate chips.

    At first glance it contains appetizing compenents. Once diving in, many are left with a bad taste. Why? Wading through the many compenents can be frustrating and is not for the impatient personality.

    Yet, with a roadmap, even those with ADD, perhaps especially for those with short attention spans, Social Media is a safe haven, powerful resource, and enthusiastic playground.

    Your Period Table and Elements diagram the world of Social Media in a playful yet descriptive manner. Bravo for taking the complex and showing it in a most simplistic form.

    Arleen Anderson
    Yes, you can tweet me!

  61. […] Read more from the original source:  The Periodic Table of the Social Media Elements « eyecube […]

  62. // popular today…

    story has entered the popular today section on…

  63. Is it any coincidence that the ‘all-rounders’ occupy the spaces that – in the other periodic table – are held by the ‘noble’ gases? Is this the most noble group??

  64. Great another periodic table to memorize…!
    Amazing visualization, thanks.

  65. […] The Periodic Table of the Social Media Elements […]

  66. Tracking Friends the Google Way [The Mossberg Solution]

    For the past week, I’ve been stalking my sister, my boyfriend and my boss. They’ve also been stalking me, and we still like one other.

    All four of us have been using an application that, once downloaded onto a mobile device, uses location-based technology to track its users’ movements. The app then displays the user’s location on a map for friends to see, so they can know where the person is at all times.

  67. This is a great way to look at social media. Sometimes it’s easier to get your head around something when you look at it through a familiar frame of reference. This was also a great way to find out who’s – who in SM. Yes it will change, but then once social media becomes more mature, even to the point of actually having a history, wouldn’t it be interesting to look at previous snapshots of this table and see where things have gone.

  68. […] Asylum has found the blog of a true genius. The periodic table of social media elements is so cool and it even gives you links to social media movers and shakers like Guy Kawasaki and The […]

  69. […] Table of the Social Media Elements by Rick Liebling This by Rick Liebling is pretty neat. Rick Liebling's Periodic Table of Social Media […]

  70. *sigh*

    I’m going to go study some NMR specs.

  71. […] you seen Rick Liebling’s Periodic Table of Social Media Elements?  If not, follow the link to Rick’s blog for all the details on the thinking behind his […]

  72. I’d have been all over this if you’d included some actual chemistry bloggers…nice though regardless.

  73. David – have a go and create one with chemistry bloggers; it would be well received, I’m sure!

  74. I might just do that, but you know what would be really cool is if you could mash this up with real periodic table software so that you could redefine elements and periods live, perhaps tying in with the social media and analytics tools themselves 😉

  75. Very good explanation of matters there. I think music can not be measured with a ruler. Because the appeal to emotions

  76. Gotta break out of the periodic table form though — no reason to say restricted by the constraints of the existing PT —

    What are the logical relationships between a given Social Media platform or leader and a “cell” in the Social Media Table? Atomic Number / Atomic Mass really don’t correspond to ANYTHING in social media, as there are so many rapidly changing variables — the metaphor breaks down quickly.

    Now…. if you were to construct some kind of MASSIVE mashup that showed a table of cells where each cell showed the username (or a standardized abbreviation), and some statistics relating to the username, you could create a useful visualization.

    For example — maybe each cell has two stats: Followers and Follows (people the person follows) — you could arrange cells by the “Followers” trait vertically, in ascending order — while the “follows” trait could be arranged horizontally, in ascending order. Thus the people in the lower right corner of the table would be the “most involved” and the people in the upper left would be “least involved.”

    The table then begins to assume the periodicity analogous to a real periodic table — where an obvious trending relationship becomes clear as one moves throughout the table. Additional traits could be added if you added more dimensions (for example color, texture, whatever — it’s possible to expand dimensions without going into higher spatial dimensions. 🙂 Extra traits might be things that Rick thought of like “other social media used” or something.

    There might be some emergent properties from this visualization that weren’t initially noticed. (Mendeleev probably didn’t realize when he initially proposed the PT that Halogens and Alkali metals frequently combine — but it became evident, predictable even, after the table was made)

    The major roadblock I see with this is simply the scope of data — with the HUGE amount of twitter users (hundreds of thousands? Millions maybe?), that’s a LOT of data. It would be nice if you could localize the dataset for analysis to some constraint — but the algorithm would be the same, regardless of the size.

  77. (Sambacity == Spammer)

  78. […] The Periodic Table of the Social Media Elements Social Media really is a lot like chemistry. There is a huge pool of elements you can choose from and an infinite […] […]

  79. This is a great article and is going to be followed by a lot of people for a long time. Keep the updates coming!

  80. I think it’s worth pointing people to this site — a rebuttal written by @ikepigott:

    The periodic table is more than just pretty colors and cryptic letters, people. 😛

  81. […] Periodic Table of the Social Media Elements Now here is a thinker. Check out The periodic Table of the Social Media Elements by Rick over at EYECUBE! __________________ David Sandusky like an ad agency, but for people […]

  82. Aaron,

    Thanks for pointing me to Ike’s post. I appreciate his (and your) viewpoint. I left a comment on his post.

  83. np Rick! I hope I don’t come across as being mean-spirited or condescending — I think you thought of a cool base idea, I’d just like to see the visualization be more than just “look cool” 🙂 Can it be made to show relationships among the data and have more depth? That’s what I would like to see. 🙂

  84. […] The world of social media also consists of so many elements and it can be confusing to understand the connectivity among them. Rick Liebling, global director for client management public relations agency Taylor, created a Periodic Table of the Social Media Elements. […]

  85. Rick,
    Someone once offered that ‘you can always tell a good idea by the number of enemies that it makes’.

    Easily noted here are those who created – agitated – castigated – etc. Whatever its eventual science or art (or actual) value – or NOT – this ‘Table’ has been a great “platform” to “magnetize” comments – feedback – and even – condemnation – etc. Looking forward to see your critics’ REPLACEMENT model…?

    UnScientific Footnote:
    Perhaps within the poetic license of some parallel universe it might be “OK” to reflect that in social activity: “Some will express themselves and strongly influence any partnership that they may form – some will even dominate. Some will gather into compounds, some will be catalysts to those formations, and some will resist like water in oil, unable to blend with the others without some intervention. And, at the root of it all will be invisible +/- forces that create those weak or strong bonds, or the repulsion that prevents them.”

    – just an observation – not seriously ‘pure’ science… 🙂
    {comments not requested… and CERTAINLY unnecessary}
    – now, back to the lab……….

  86. I was going to post my critique here, but then I thought…I’ve got a chemistry blog, what better venue, so follow my name link to read what I have to say about the woeful state of scientific literacy and the use of sacred texts for fun 😉

  87. Pretty fun, and your time put into it is commendable. I would agree with Armano that the full size needs the Key legend added to it, which then suggests this would make a great poster for office walls.

  88. Feeling compelled to say this…

    I think it’s fun. I can also see how others are a bit guarded of the real PT. No blame there. I started out in biology and I love science. I also love digital media in all it’s forms; using it as a way of expression, storytelling, what have you.

    I think it’s absolutely splendid that we see more-and-more forums materializing where both sides come together and talk about such things, rather than remain walled-up in silos of yesteryear.

    Interesting things should come from such interaction. Just keep it civil.

  89. NOTICIAS: Nicolás Ramos Pintado, Jefe de emisoras de TELE 7 en la Comunidad Valenciana, fue director de Pablo Motos (El Hormiguero de CUATRO) de 1994 a 1998 en Onda Cero Radio en Valencia, etapa en la que promovió la entrada de Motos en el programa LA RADIO DE JULIA, soporte vital que este gran profesional de la comunicación supo aprovechar de la manera más eficaz.

  90. I love this so much. Well done!

    We’re always going to have “what about x?!” in regards to social media and I love it for that. Just always evolving and never satisfied with the current existence.

    Kick arse!

  91. […] Fellow Ad Age Power 150 member Eyecube, aka Rick Liebling put out a periodic table of social media elements: […]

  92. Great snapshot of the social space! With so much going on it’s helpful to have a summary view that is easy to grasp and share with others who are trying to learn about all this. Thanks for the contribution!

    I did missed a link to Shiv Singh though (

  93. @GeoB (2/25): “Easily noted here are those who created – agitated – castigated – etc. Whatever its eventual science or art (or actual) value – or NOT – this ‘Table’ has been a great “platform” to “magnetize” comments – feedback – and even – condemnation – etc. Looking forward to see your critics’ REPLACEMENT model…?”

    By that token, you could laud a decapitated body in the middle of a small rural town as being a great means to stir up controversy. (Not that I’m comparing this PT to something that grisly, but you get my hyperbolic point)

    Again — my problem is simple: the data being used, and the relationships therein, are *NOT* homologous enough to atomic elements to justify using the PT as a viable visualization tool. Flat out. Some of the “elements” above are social media TOOLS/MEANS, and some are PEOPLE, some are TRAITS. These are three different abstract types of data, and yet they are presented as equals. (comparing them to metals vs. nonmetals is moot, if you stop to really think what the implications of that are.)

    I *have* posed some alternate ways of implementing a social media visualization table that would show periodicity (see my other comments above…they’re rather lengthy and hard to miss) — but even if I hadn’t, you can’t logically argue that just because no alternative has been presented, this one is correct. Nor does the number of detractors make an idea any more or less correct (that would be some kind of inverted Appeal to Popularity).

  94. What made me want to download the table – the Chem major hates it.

  95. Can you turn a lump of me into gold?

  96. @Jonathan Hutter:
    LOL 🙂

    I think you’re confusing “chemistry” with “alchemy”. The best I can (personally) manage is turning sugar into ethanol (shout-outs to my yeast culture!), and then ethanol into urea.

  97. Of course, the word alchemy simply means “the chemistry”, from the Arabic. I’ve got a blog post coming up about “al”

  98. Of course — but I think we can both agree they aren’t the same thing 🙂 [sort of like how “disaster” originally referred to something related to unfavorable astrology, but now simply means “catastrophe”]

  99. Yeah, there’s a definite distinction now. But, people who refer to Sir Isaac Newton as an alchemist picture him as trying to turn lead into gold or find the elixir of life. Whereas in fact he was simply “the chemist”, a god-fearing one allegedly, but not an alchemist, in the modern sense of the word. Anyway, if you do find the philosopher’s stone, give me a call…

  100. Wasn’t the philosopher’s stone somewhere between “Twitter” and “Digg”?

    [sorry, that’s a really awful joke :D]

    I had *heard* that Newton had a bizarre obsession with alchemy — was my source (it was a book, I think it may have been Bryson’s “Short History of Nearly Everything”) incorrect?

  101. In a sense, Newton was at the end of the era of what we know as alchemy, but I don’t think he was into boiling up vats of urine and mercury to achieve immortality…

  102. This is a great overview of social media. The basic elements are all waiting to be mixed to something even more powerfull, more usefull.

  103. […] Liebling en eyecube desarrolla la nomenclatura de cada uno de los elementos y su significado. Todo para entender mejor […]

  104. I bookmarked your blog, thanks for sharing this very interesting post

  105. I am a man of science. Or I tend to think with a scientific methodology. Now, after studying the-periodic-table-of-the-social-media-elements, I ventured into creating some compounds to test of they can fit the marketing model of various companies, and their market and industry positioning, and found not to explore practicality, for example:

    Say we are made out of 75% of H2O as a result about 62% of O2 in every single cell is transported by the Fe in the blood, and that is why oxidizes into and the red color results from it. How can I prove the practical value of this table?

    So I started applying the various Social Media Behaviours, and noticed entertain was missing, as well as smell! and then I realized behavior was determine by the senses and emotions.

    Also for the elements associated to the Social Media Tools, why is e-mail not considered? E-mail is delivering social media in a static way, for us to decide that we want to expand and go to those places mentioned: flickr, digg, facebook.

    I think the element of intention is also not considered as a mean, but the end, or reaction upon a stimuli. Since we are trying to deliver compounds that deciphers human behavior and social interacions.

    However, this is a good start, and how sustainable this model can become!? always changing, what are the new players up to? what is been recycle? how mobile capabilities come into place?

    My personal feedback is: Well Done.



  106. […] The Periodic Table of the Social Media Elements « eyecube Interesting, lateral thinking here. Not sure how far the metaphor extends but simply as a list of categories, it's nice. (tags: measurement visualisation socialmediaperiodictable) Posted in socialmedia. […]

  107. […] 3 social media jewels of past week Jump to Comments What’s handier than a Periodic Table of the Social Media Elements?  […]

  108. Social Media… Behaviours, Tools and Practices 🙂 I love that elements 😀

  109. wow I don’t even know what to say. amazing chart. Thanks for all the great links to people/blogs/tools, everything is great!

  110. […] not to love social media? It provides tools for sharing, discussing and creating. Check out Eyecube’s blog to drill down on the details. […]

  111. […] en etcterritoriocreativo.esRick Liebling eneyecubedesarrolla la nomenclatura de cada uno de los elementos y su significado. Todo para entender mejor […]

  112. […] por Rick Liebling (explicación y definiciones), esta tabla resulta en un experimento interesante para observar cómo se comportan los elementos […]

  113. […] Tabla periódica de las redes sociales (imagen) […]

  114. wow. great posts. by the way from where do you get such nice ideas and contents. I love your posts.

  115. […] I learned with my Periodic Table of Social Media Elements, it’s important to state right up front that this is not done with any sort of scientific […]

  116. great idea! I’d love to share it as you suggest in the blog post but on flickr you have it marked all rights reserved??

    • Hmm, didn’t realize it was marked all rights reserved. Please feel free to use/post as you see fit. Thanks for your interest.

  117. […] love to see someone with more talent than me make a just for libraryland version!  See the lists of blogs & people that are included. […]

  118. […] Liebling has created a Period Table of Social Elements on eyecube that made me get thinking on brands use of social media. I included the image below, and the key […]

  119. Rick, accepting that there are many improvements to be made, I’m still pleased that you have created a visualisation for social media and I don’t think that should be knocked quite as hard as it has been. The one comment I would like to make for future versions is why is the Flickr image copyright all rights reserved? How does that facilitate social media? Where’s the creative commons license?

    • Adam,

      Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I have changed the rights to a creative commons.

  120. @uksigma:
    Not to beat this dead horse anymore than it has been, but in what ways is the visualization useful? There’s a “cool factor” of course, because colors, abbreviations, and popular buzz words are injected into something that many people probably groaned when they saw in grade school science — but how do you find it useful?

  121. […] The Periodic Table of Social Media Elements […]

  122. Great stuff, Rick. I’ve been meaning to use this on my blog for some weeks now, but today is the day.

  123. […] of social media and brands, one size might not fit all. Where does your brand fit? Take a look at eyecube’s Periodic Table of the Social Media Elements and see if the roads of science and media meet […]

  124. […] Si vous souhaitez consulter la légende complête ca se passe chez Eyecube. […]

  125. […] 再來是社會性媒體元素周期表(The Periodic Table of the Social Media Elements),相信沒有人看得懂那些字母所代表的含意,那就請參考製表者的部落格吧(link)。相信有使用過社會性媒體的人看了一定很有感覺,可惜表中沒有把 Plurk給列進去 […]

  126. […] see the field, you need to be totally aware of your surroundings. Hence, more handy tools like the Periodic Table of the Social Media Elements by Brian […]

  127. Very Nice Post. I love it. Have a Great day.

  128. […] love to see someone with more talent than me make a just for libraryland version!  See the lists of blogs & people that are included. […]

  129. […] a great idea about how social media can work together. Check the blog of Rick […]

  130. i think this is a great idea about how social media works! great work

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  136. […] The Periodic Table of the Social Media Elements « eyecubeI love to create word pictures for things, and you’ve not only pleased my eye with this colorful chart, you’ve inspired me to begin to visualize the way that I use social media, as well. Get the RSS Feed March 6, 2011 at 5:30 am by admin | Category: Uncategorized | […]

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  138. […] Rick's post, "The Periodic Table of the Social Media Elements," for more details about his innovative […]

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  144. […] Tabla periódica de las redes sociales (imagen) […]

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  162. […] full spectrum of colors?  The author of the Eyecube blog, Rick, came up with a thoughtfully-pieced periodic table of social media […]

  163. […] Rick's post, "The Periodic Table of the Social Media Elements," for more details about his innovative […]

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