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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Usage Life-Cycle

Internet designer Joshua Porter put forth the usage life-cycle (ULC) as a model to track the usage evolution of a web application. According to Porter, as time passes, “social web” users go through a cycle consisting of five stages: unaware, interested, first-time use, regular use, and passionate use.

In the SNS context, the most relevant and difficult transition is from first-time use (sign-up) to regular (repeated) use, whereby, if users are not motivated by new content or new features, they will not reach the repeated usage stage and, as a result, will use the service less as time passes. The SNS usage distribution through the various ULC stages over time approximates that of a normal distribution. Hence, the ULC establishes a relationship between usage and time.
Usage Perpetuity?
However, in contrast to the PLC and diffusion models, no academic study has verified Porter’s model. Besides, at least one if its assumptions can be easily challenged: could passionate use be the terminal stage of usage? We don’t think so since using an SNS is actually like using any other product or service: decline will eventually settle in as is does with other high-tech products in due time.

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