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The Social Media Quiz (SMQ): Assessing Sophistication

The Denovati Social Media Quiz (SMQ) has been one of the most popular SMART Resources we have created. Now approaching its fifth year of use, the third version generally represents the universe of social media sites and tools and can be used to quickly capture people’s knowledge and experience. This post provides an overview and a link to the latest version of the quiz on SlideShare, offers suggestions for using it, and requests feedback. The answer key is available by request.


Designed to assess people’s knowledge of and engagement with social tools and technologies, the Denovati Social Media Quiz (SMQ) is one of the most popular SMART Resources we have created. Not only has it been viewed and downloaded over 10,000 times via SlideShare (primarily on our old SMinOrgs channel), it is always a big hit when I use it as an icebreaker and discussion/instructional aide in my own presentations and workshops.

I created the original “fast and fun” version in 2009 and revised it significantly in 2011 to more accurately reflect the social media universe, correct some of the recognized weaknesses in the first version, and better capture people’s knowledge and experience. The revised version (dubbed SMQ.2) was a lot more complex than the original version, so it wasn’t quite as “fast,” but it was still “fun.” More importantly, it was a more valuable tool for learning and discussion. The quiz was updated again in September 2012, but the changes from SMQ.2 to SMQ.3 were not significant. When I originally published version 3, I wondered if the relatively minor changes over the course of a year were perhaps a sign that things were finally settling down…

Almost another year later, the answer appears to be mostly “yes.” Although a variety of new platforms and tools have either been introduced or experienced dramatic growth in the past year or two (e.g., Pinterest, Snapchat, Vine), most of them are variations on existing social/technological themes rather than being dramatically different innovations (with Pinterest being the notable exception). Given that, though it was tempting to replace one of the existing SMQ items with an icon representing one of the newer offerings, it didn’t seem particularly necessary.

The answer key, on the other hand, has required more significant updates. Even if the quiz items have remained a relatively stable representative sample, the universe of platforms and tools they represent have changed in some key ways. Some of the more significant changes include:

  • As noted above, the introduction and rise of tools like Vine, Instagram videos, and Snapchat
  • The discontinuation of iGoogle and Google Reader (and the rise of tools to replace them)
  • The shutting down of Posterous (which, along with the acquistion of Tumblr by Yahoo!, has caused people to wonder about the future of this type of platform)
  • The closing of most stand-alone LBS services (e.g., Gowalla), and the removal of Facebook Places as a stand-alone feature
  • The acquisition of Seesmic (Twhirl) by its rival, HootSuite, and Twitter’s shutting down of the mobile and desktop apps of TweetDeck (which caused many people to switch to other platforms)

And there are other changes – like the acquisition of Instagram by Facebook, the overhaul of Flickr by Yahoo!, and the overhaul of Ning – that offer further evidence that the social software universe continues to be in flux. All things considered, however, these changes seem to reflect ongoing maturation rather than upheaval. Consolidation, refinement, and stabilization in the social technology space, both in terms of the platforms and tools themselves, as well as with respect to the organizations creating and managing them, was inevitable, and is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Of course there’s still plenty of opportunity for new game-changing technologies to emerge! Never a dull moment…

You can view the Social Media Quiz (SMQ) here.

To obtain a copy of the answer key, please message [email protected]

To read more about how I use the SMQ, other ways in which it can be used, and specific requests for feedback to improve it, please click here to access the full Denovati SMART Blog post.


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