Social Media Measurement - A Search For A Unified Theory, PART 2

Blowing our own cover…

You see the honest truth is that, as anyone who has been around advertising, direct marketing, experiential, public relations or “New PR” for any length of time knows that at some point the ROI figures that make or break client relationships were at some point or another made up. This is not a new point, and I do not wish to labor it here, but it is a good one to make, as it puts all of this debate around the measurement of social marketing in context. The fact is at some stage or another in the offices of professionals around the world men and women sat down and looked at their sums and made assumptions about how much what they were doing for their clients was worth. These assumptions were not fool proof by any means, but neither were they shots in the dark, but either way at some stage a leap of faith was taken and these professionals put down their tent pegs and said, “this is how we are going to do it”.  At which point it became purely a matter of who could come closest.

If a man stands at a distance from a wall and then periodically halves that distance and halves it again, and then continues to repeat the process he will get to within a point that subatomic forces will not allow him to actually ever come in true contact with the wall, however he comes close enough that he rounds down to zero and concludes he has indeed reached the wall. (More on that here - it's called Zeno's Paradox) In much the same way with this kind of measurement was refined and refined by those who sought to answer the question until they came within what they deemed to be small enough measures of discrepancy that they rounded down and concluded they has indeed reached their wall – that all hallowed ROI figure.

However in an industry as young as my own, if is difficult to make such assumptions, as we currently still seem a great distance from that point in which can round down. This is for a a variety of reasons, although the traceability of online interaction is so clear, the way in which people interact is not such a tangible, and indeed measurable fact as it may at first seem. This is in part due to the ever changing ways in which people use the web, services like Second Life, Twitter and even the likes of the Disney owned Club Penguin (in which children can interact within one another by manipulating the life of their own Penguin on it’s own island) are changing the way that people use the web, meaning that in reality if we are to ever reach our rounding down point we must consistently and regularly reevaluate the criteria which we measure the social web with.

Having said this however, it is fair to say that even with the new and emerging platforms that the web has to offer, the task at hand has not changed from the three pillars that I outlines above, reach, perception change and call to action (CTA) are still the primary goals of our clients, and these goals have clear results in people, be they on the web or in the coffee shop.

If you missed part 1 of this article - find it here: PART 1

Monday Musings: The Gutenberg Effect

Morning All. Welcome to your Monday. Here are some digital nuggets to sink your little nashers into for the week of March 8th. Kicking off with a video spotlight: How The Interenet is Changing Advertising.

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This cracking little "epipheo" presents captures very succinctley something which as been nagging at my brain for a while. Something I like to call "The Gutenberg Effect". For me the technological shifts that have truely rocked the world have always brought about a new way of thinking and with that new way, an outburst of creativity has spread like wildfire.

Looking back to creation of the printing press, what Gutenberg achieved was not only a technological shift, but a cultural one that allowed people for the first time to hold the printed word in their hands and read it for themselves. A technology that was a key driver in the cultural shift that ultimately ended up becoming The Reformation.

We have seen this process repeat throughout recent history with the creation of commercial radio springing up from the creativity of HAM radio set users in the early 20th century, and then far more recently in the boom of satellite television. Each has created a shift in the way we communicate with one another. Each has demanded something new of the sender and recipient of communication. With print it was undivided attention. With radio it became a background medium, with TV a shared collective experience.

The internet in general, but increasingly the social web provides a different form of communication. A new kind of shared experience, that is not media specific, time specific or geography specific. An experience that is neither broadcast nor narrowcast. Yet is still a shared experience, but that experience is fundamentally different, as for the first time the way in which that experience is consumed lies in the hands of the recipient, NOT the sender.

This means big things for the advertising and marketing industries. It means a change of mindset, a different thinking is required, as we can no longer control or stipulate that a communication has to be consumer OUR way. But be open to the fact that our communication will be consumed, when, where and how the recipient wants. The sooner that marketers get that this shared experience is a movable typing twittering tubing experience, not a media experience, the better.

More on that in the coming weeks...

in other news...

A fantastic dissection of HootSuite for the unitiated from my chum Gemma Went

10 Great Newbie Twitter Mistakes Made By Businesses from Mike Johansson on Social Media Today

And a great presentation from Coca-Cola on Social Media care of Robin Grant @ wearesocial

My Media Diet: Inhalation...

Maybe I Inhale More Media Than I Realise... It has come to my attention that I am literally inhaling media. I know I work in PR, and am a "Generation X"er and all that Jazz. But doing this little log over the past 24 hours is quite startling when you look at it all laid out like this. The little subconscious checks of twitter, the musing of blog posts yet to be written, it wouldn't suprise me if I start unwillingly speaking in 140 character sentences!

So much of this media has just become 2nd nature, a part of the stream of our consiousness, and so little of it we actually question. Monday Morning. Office. Sit Down. Boot Up. Log On. Tweet. Eat. Tweet Again. Blog. Read. Digest (Digitally & Physically). Google. Email. Tweet Yet Again. Tag It. Digg It. Cast it. Download. Power Down. Go Home.

You get the picture...

So back to where we started - I decided to conduct little survey of my media diet. Consumption. Call it what you will. Let me take you back via the medium of blog (and some wavy scoobie doo effects) to Monday morning...

6:50 AM -  *Beep Beep Beep... THWACK!* Alarm clock knocked lazy from bedside table, rolling over, pushing girlfriend aside reaching for iPhone. Missing iPhone. Rolling back over. Snooze Button. 20 Minutes of Chris Moyles drowning out my dreams and bringing me (not so gently) into the new working week.

7:00 AM - I take a second attempt at reaching for iPhone. More successful this time. Read/Delete Spam.

7:50 AM - On tube now, dive head long into the wonderous hub of investigative journalism that is The Metro... lose interest around page 13...

7:59 AM - Once again distracted by Twitter on iPhone... *silent wish that people would not keep writing "Good morning everyone!" tweets... the old adage rings true, if you haven't got something nice to say...

8:00 AM - 8:35 AM ... Listen to Podcast.

Monday: Friday Night Comedy - Radio 4 (Listen)

Tuesday: Relevant Magazine (Listen)

Wednesday: This American Life (Listen)

Thursday: NPR - Poetry Magazine (Listen)

Friday: Genius Playlist on iPhone... (Info Here)

8:37AM - 9:02Am - As i'm plunged into the darkness of the Jubilee line* (See More...)  and am severed from my 3G connection to the world I revert to a analogue approach in the form of Blue Like Jazz - Donald Miller's fantastic mini essay series on non religious spirituality... (He blogs here). Until I succomb to the inevitable release of a Amazon Kindle 2 UK Version, paper reigns supreme for sub-terrainian entertainment.

9:10AM - 9:45AM - Arrive at work, bum on seat, Latte in hand, croissant in front of keyboard and all is well. Boot up, Log In, wait for work Email server to get it's act together, then begin to breathe in 1's and 0's in the form of Twitter, Facebook, Hotmail, Google Reader, Delicious Tags, Radian6 (our social media monitoring tool here at Ogilvy) and news source of choice (for usability not politics) Guardian Online...

11:00 AM 11AM jumps out from behind a bush at me, startling me somewhat about it's urgency in getting through the day. It's about this time (usually musing over a latte) that the latest round robin email from the London Ogilvy Interactive group catches my attention - usually in the form of a YouTube distraction or some other digital delight. Sip. Click. Sit. Click. Back to work. Wait. This is work.

11:10 AM Check back into the twittersphere... Not much happening. Does FollowFriday do anyone else's nut in or is it just me! (As an aside it is important to bring to light the troublesome issue that the MacBook - wonderful that it is - doesn't feature a hash key on the keyboard! Grrrr...)

12:50 PM As hunger strikes (cue the Shreddies soundtrack) heading for lunch deleteding more (and more) spam from personal email on iPhone - ooo. My next LoveFilm is on it's way... Michael Macintyre! 

13:45 PM - Stomach full, email inbox equally bloated. Quick twitter update before some serious digital digestion takes place, predominantly in the form of some Radian6 fishing and the odd blog inspiration from Google Reader.

2:00-5:45PM -As the sound of the neuvo-classical Flight of The Concordes hit thuds in my head, this point in the afternoon is officially "business time" - (for those of you unaquainted a little help from YouTube can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGOohBytKTU)  The result of which means, that aside from the spiradic twittering and lingering tap of the iPhone, very little goes on here other that - as would be expected - work.

6:00 - 7:00PM - Pretty much a repeat of 7:45 AM - 9:15AM but in reverse order. After a fairly media heavy day I tend to tail off by the time I get home. Suprisingly I still remember how to speak to people face to face! (Those who know me well will know this has never truely been a problem however...)

So there we have it, that pretty much wraps up the day. And sadly (possibly not the case for you routine junkies out there) - most days it's the same story. Living a truely digitally native life, as one of the first generations to have never known what it is to not have a PC in the house is quite a priveledge I suppose. However this does provoke an almost subconscious dialogue within me, that is constantly thinking of the angle, the wall post, the tweet, a constant desire to replicate my offline life digitally. So how do you describe that? Inhalation. Breathe In.

(*Ironic titled as I think any old Testament Jew would adamently argue that there is in no way anything about the Jubilee line that embodies the spirit of Jubilee... I digress - further thoughts on commuting by underground in my poem 7.5 Minutes of Dark - Here)