The Taxonomy of Social Media

Every educator has studied Bloom’s Taxonomy. Variations have been suggested and adjustments made over the years but we are all familiar with the concept and visuals associated with it. The use of social media in education creates an opportunity to review and revise this taxonomy. Based on my experiences as an educator and one who engages in the use of social media for educational purposes, I propose the following Taxonomy of Social Media:


Level I – Curiosity
This is the entry level for social media. Something or someone has created an interest for you in social media. That interest is enough to get you to look and explore. Curiosity is the gateway to all of the next steps in engaging in social media and why one will continue to engage.


Level II – Lurking
Once you have developed an interest you start to look for knowledge, to identify content and begin the early stages of understanding the rules, process and lingo of the medium. During this time an educator will follow with little or no participation. Lurking allows your curiosity to turn to knowledge.


Level III – Understanding
During this stage an educator will participate and consume information. The flow of information is in one direction and allows the educator an opportunity to identify credible material, resources and individuals. As understanding grows participation begins. However, I believe this is a critical point in the taxonomy. If an educator does not gain an understanding and make the connection to using social media within the educational field then there is no further engagement in social media.


Level IV – Contributing
With a solid understanding and the ability to identify credible material, resources and individuals educators you move on to the next phase which is contributing. This is where you add to the world of social media for educators. What you add depends on your level of contribution. It can be a Tweet or re-Tweet. Or it can be a link to an article or a blog. At this level the level of contribution does not matter as long as you contribute.


Level V – Integrating
At this level educators develop original content and infuse the use of social media into their professional experiences. It is a gradual integration, small at first, but will lead to its use in all aspects of your profession.


Engagement – At the core of the Taxonomy of Social Media is engagement. No matter what level you are at, you are engaging. Engaging means absorption of material, and eventual contribution and distribution of material. By engaging in social media an educator moves through the 4 stages of the social media taxonomy. Without engagement social media for educators is static.


As my experience grows with social media, so will my thoughts on this taxonomy. What are your thoughts?

Scott Rocco

Scott Rocco

Superintendent of Schools at Spotswood Public Schools

Scott Rocco is a Superintendent in New Jersey, adjunct professor at The College of New Jersey, instructor in the NJEXCEL program, Keynote speaker, presenter, EdCampNJ organizer, co-founder/co-moderator of #Satchat on Twitter, and founding partner of Evolving Educators. Scott has given Keynote, conference and group presentations on the use of social media for educators, school safety, marketing yourself, and various leadership topics. He also blogs for and Scott is dedicated to positively and productively engaging educators in a dialogue that improves student learning, enhances instruction, and creates effective learning environments for all who attend and work in schools. Follow Scott on Twitter @ScottRRocco. If you are interested in having Scott present, contact him at