The 4 C’s

To be totally honest with you, until I was asked about the 4 C’s of social media I had no idea they even existed! So hopefully be the end of this blog we will both be a whole lot clearer!


So firstly what are the 4 C’s? 

The 4 C’s are a classification model which focuses on the actual functions of the components which make up social software, it was developed by N Cooke in 2008.  It comprises of:


  • Communication: these are the platforms where people can communicate with one another in a variety of ways; video, written messages, Sound etc.
  • Co-operation; people help others often in an informal way. They may share information such as links in order to assist.
  • Collaboration; people use tools to share knowledge and assist others in achieving solutions to their problems, such as wikis.
  • Connection; is the technologies or software used in order to share information.


The 4C’s Applied

Fig 1: The 4 C’s, Relationship to Formality and Interaction  of the Organisation 4csapproachfigure1xk8.jpg


By determining what culture the business has, you can place them on the grid above accordingly.  So, if a business was very formal and collaborative, it would be placed in the top right section of the grid.  Taking this position and applying to the grid below will enable the company to see which social software is best suited to the overall company culture.

The diagram below (fig;2) identifies which social tool is best suited to the type of organisation. Using the above example of the company who prefers structure and formality, they were located in the top right box of the model making them more suited to Human based computation and Wikis whereas an organisation who is less formal but still collaborative, they would be placed bottom right, signalling they would use social tools such as media sharing, Social searches and social cataloguing

Fig 2: Using The 4 C’s Model to  Identify the Most Compatible Social Software


Looking at the theory it seems like a useful model, have you applied your workplace to the model? Did it work?  Was it close to the social software you currently use? I would be interested in finding out how it stands up in practice 🙂