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« Thank you Kelly-Sue LeBlanc! No. 10 Questions? | Main | I used the word Social Graph -- I sound like a monkey and my name is LuLu »


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Jeremiah Owyang

Beth, thank you for spending time with me, you're an excellent student ready to absorb information and apply, wow fantastic post.

My new employer has also written extensively on the subject, and I look forward to learning about their methodologies, and perhaps even improving mine. I'll share more details with you as I get past the three week mark!

KD Paine

I think you're missing a couple of things, the biggest one is a measure of your relationships. See
Once you've started the conversation, it's important to measure how well the other guys think its going.
Also, since transparency is key to trust, you need to have an objective measure of your transparency.

Beth Kanter

@JO - thanks and will look forward to the example.

KD - Do you know how one might measure transparency?

Michael Bailey

There are several layers of transparency, and not all people are equally comfortable at each level.

One level is when a company acts like they are being open and honest with you, but in reality they are hoping that you are just a lemming and will follow along without asking any questions.

Another opposite level is when things are being told exactly how they are - of course, this level of honesty often meets with people thinking that there "must" be something between the lines.

And several grey-layers in between.

Jay Cross

Beth, this is a gigantic topic, for corporates as well as NGOs. I won't let that get in the way of a few high-order observations.

First of all, metrics are simply measurements that matter. Because they matter differently to different people, metrics are inevitably relative. (The administration has different concerns from the funders, neither of which may be the way the customers see it.)

Overall metrics won't be for social relationships or training or blogs: you can't parse reality into those categories. They each influence one another. You're looking for something simpler: what we put in and what we get in return.

ROI and its bean-counting brethren are industrial-age vestiges of a time when, for accounting purposes, people were worthless. (A skilled person was carried on the books at the same value as a new-hire: nothing.)

To rise above the trees, the rule of the forest is cost:benefit. Again, this is not monetary, as least not much. Cost includes time that could be spent on other things. Benefits include customer satisfaction, increased capacity to serve, or more dedication to the mission.

Naysayers will argue that you can't manage what you can't measure. That is absurd. The higher the level of management, the more uncertainties. Decisions you can back up with numbers are no-brainers. The tough part is judgment calls. Very few decisions or evaluations are made on the basis of numbers alone.

So how can one tell if something is worth repeating? Or putting more energy into? Ask the stakeholders. Anyone who understands statistics can specify how large a sample you need to take the temperature of an entire group. A few in-depth interviews will probably be more revealing than thousands of fill-in-the-blog questionnaires.

I've been looking at this issue for a dozen years, and the one certainty I have found is that's there's no silver bullet for this.

Russel Montgomery

Hi Beth

These are my comments.

This is not my area of expertise. I have never warmed to the subject of measurement. However I can make this observation about your structure.

For me the key are your learning goals for the session and you have stated those reasonably clearly in the centre of your post. Basically you want to fire up a conversation among your participants, getting them to compare two broad forms of measurement wrt their useful in measuring ROI in this context.

That's all good. Keep that central in your mind and forget the detail. Let them fill out the detail.

I don't know your target group and I don't know how hard you will have to work to establish and maintain the conversation. Some folk love converstaion. Some folk just want to be fed. You will have assess this before hand.

As for all the content that you have here. It demonstrates that you have done your homework... but don't flood them with this. If they know they will be bored. if they don't it will go over their heads. I would make it available but not "present" it.

Rather... think about your focus questions. What do you really want them to talk about? What questions will guide the conversation?

On the day, if the conversation goes off on some tangent, if it is fruitful and they are engaged, then let it go there. if you have your focus questions in mind you can always bring it back later if that is appropriate.

And most of all... relax and go with it.

Now all this is based on the assumption that you truly want a conversation.

If, however, you want to present information, then use the 20 slides, each for 20 seconds rule. It's called Pecha-Kucha. Here are a couple of references.

When presenting... keep it short, keep it sharp, keep it sweet.... and then let them do with it what they will.

I hope this helps

Russel Montgomery

Beth Kanter

@Jay: I think what I'm after is how can you use the logic model formula (goal, outcomes, metrics, measurement, map) to make good judgment calls or improving what you're doing?

@Russel: I appreciate your instructional advice. I'm going to make a little sticky note with the learning goals on it - to keep myself on track while facilating.


I thought this social media session is the same as what we did in Cambodia.

But going underwater is great, I love views over there. What were you holding in the pix?

Beth Kanter


This is session is different. That's not me, it is a photo from flickr. I'm not sure how this might translate to Cambodia. Does the word "metrics" even exist in Khmer?


Beth -

As usual, you're the brightest bu;b in the box? How do you get SO SMART about everything you take on?

I know that one way you get so smart is by leveraging your social networks! But are you measuring what you're getting out of them? :)

The problem I have with measuring new media is that metrics are designed to measure in one direction - from point A to point B. They aren't great at measuring in multiple directions at once, and that's the key benefit of social media - it takes people and messages in several directions at once. So I think that you can pick INDICATORS of ROI in social media, but it's nearly impossible to use metrics to determine real ROI from social media.

This of course, assumes that you can actually measure a "real" ROI anyway. Which sounds like a whole other blog post.



This is a great, very thoughtful analysis of the problems with measuring social media. The biggest problem I see agencies struggle with is trying to put this in a standard bucket of ROI, and the only model that exists is for web analytics. Its not the same though, for the reasons that Holly, the last commenter mentioned -- social media goes in many directions and you can't predict what people are going to say, where and what they will post, etc.

It's good to get baseline measurement of activity, sentiment and themes that are hot in UGM BEFORE you start on a campaign, and to measure that against the competition. This at least gives you a baseline to see what has changed afterwards (are the themes shifting related to what you are doing? is sentiment more positive? Has conversation increased? is it hitting the key influencers?)


Thanks Beth - I'm turning some folks I'm working with onto this post. Hope it can help us think about the outcomes from a wiki we're working on.


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