"Measuring ‘engagement’ is like eating an elephant: it’s a big job and you’re not sure where to start."
via the Mind Blizzard Blog I learned of a new Dutch NGO island, called "Goede Doelen eiland" (good causes island).
The island is a presentation of the Dutch Red Cross and the Dutch Fund for Disability Sports. The island is sponsored by Dutch bankers ABN Amro and the Free University of Amsterdam (VUA) and was build by students of the VUA. The intent of the Red Cross venue is to give visitors a taste of the atmoshpere in disaster areas, how hard it can be to reach a relieve post and thus try to raise commitment to the organisations work. The 'fun' part of the island is the Stadium for the Dutch Fund for Disability Sports. In the stadium it is possible to go for a wheelchair race. Both organisations are looking for new ways of fundraising and are looking into the possibilities in Virtual Worlds.
And, so again, I'm thinking about how does one even begin to measure visitor engagement in a space like this? I'm thinking again of Steve Bridger's excellent post on the topic and the model diagram he has showing the degrees of engagement in social media.
Rik Riel is has also written about this and has described it as "avatar engagement."
Everywhere I go in virtual world circles, I seem to encounter folks wrestling with the question: how do you measure avatar engagement? (Check the new Meta Metaverse blog and the eSheep blog for interesting commentary on this.) For companies looking to use virtual worlds for marketing, avatar engagement is the Holy Grail. Non-profits are also struggling with how to track if avatars coming to their virtual headquarters are getting the message and incorporating it into their real lives. Researchers are keen to develop measurements to unpack quantitatively how avatars experience different virtual environments and consume media they are presented with.
Rick goes on to layout a series of questions that one would want answered to determine engagement. I think it would require a mix of qualitative and quantitative data.