The Conversation Prism 3.0 was released last week by Brian Solis and JESS3. Not only does this continue to be a lovely example of data visualization, it’s remains quite informative in terms of understanding the numerous social media platforms by consumer function or use. Moving from the outside in, the graphic also outlines how brands and organizations might leverage the various platforms to inform business and communications strategies.

For me, this graphic bluntly demonstrates just how complex and layered the social web has become. At the risk of becoming overwhelmed by variety, it’s simply important to be aware that all of these options are available. Similar to what Cool Infographics’ Randy Krum said, don’t think that you can effectively target all of the categories (talk about overwhelming). Nor should you assume that any specific target audience utilizes all of these categories (or even more than 5, in most cases). This is where understanding your target audience becomes so critical.

We rely on a number of primary research methodologies (both quantitative and qualitative) to understand what social media channels and platforms are most useful influential to specific audiences. We’d love to hear more ideas, suggestions or examples related to how others get at this type of information.