In the wake of last week’s Web 2.0 Summit in Portland, OR. the blogs are abuzz yet again about the challenge of accurately measuring return on investment for Social Media. I get that people want to know that they’re spending their money wisely, but I think a lot of energy is being spent unnecessarily as we all try to cram a new phenomenon into an old-fashioned measurement tool. Traditional Web metrics tools are built around reporting on quantity — how many connections, how many click throughs, how many unique page views. But in keeping with this new way of using the Web to connect with each other, I think we need to measure a different aspect of those connections: not the quantity of them, but the quality.
I can’t tell you what a standardized quality metric would look like — this is a random thought after all. I’m just thinking more and more that social media is interactive media, it’s conversation. We don’t generally think about whether we’re having enough conversations during our day, do we? Don’t we instead think about whether we’re having good conversations? Or conversations with the right people? Somehow I think we all need to build that thinking into measuring our Social Media activities. Stop worrying about how many Social Media connections you’re making. How good are the connections?