Vanity and Social Media Metrics

Let’s face it, if you have an active presence in social media, there is at least a bit of vanity in it! Your goal might be altruistic, but you feel you have something to say, to contribute to society, to make a change – and being read feels good!

Whether you are a company or an individual, you certainly like to know how your message is getting through, but how do you measure it?

Forbes has a nice article that describes  “7 Meaningless Metrics That Only Feed Your Ego” (capitalizations theirs…) – which could also be called “How to feel good about your online presence”.

Metrics are useful for any process, be it software/system development (my particular specialty) or marketing – you can’t track and govern what you can’t measure. You need, however, to be fully cognizant of what you need to measure to ensure you meet your goals (governance), and what you want to measure for other purposes (e.g., vanity). The former is essential to be able to make the right decisions to move forward, the latter is nice to have  to feel good – who does not like to have their ego boosted from time to time…

Everybody does support

This is something that has been in my head since the Rational Software Conference in June…

With the advent of all the social networking opportunites out there, it has become evident to me that support for a company’s products is no longer just limited to the official support organisation. Granted, that organisation is still required as there is a need for customers to call in when they are faced with a problem – we can’t get away from that! However, we must also recognised that our customers are also part of one, and often, many, social networks.

In such a new world order, it belongs to us to become aware of what is being said about our company and our products and to take action when one feels it is required. That action can be to either speak out ourselves – if we have the knowledge – or use our companies networks to inform people who would need to know. And when problems are brought up and discussed in social network fora, we might want to get our support organisation involved!

Does that open the door in our organisation for “social networking monitors”? Perhaps that is not a bad thing!

Professional use of social web

I have been wondering what can be the professional uses of some of the social web’s most beloved applications.

Some are fairly evident: blogs have been around long enough that people understand their usefulness as an evangelical tool. This has even given rise to flogs (“False/Fake blogs – did I use the term right?) where companies use “actors” to promote their wares.

Wikis have similarly been around for a while as a means of publishing information. Some companies have even taken to providing editors to Wikipedia to ensure the “truth” is told about them.

Even Delicious and other tagging/tracking sites (e.g., Digg) have their use in helping potential users get to the information they need (I know I use this to more easily highlight information off the IBM web sites).

But what about newer offering? How would one use Facebook? MySpace? Flickr? Twitter?

Note quite sure. But the good folks at Pragmatic Marketing have an answer for using Twitter in product management.

Well, I’ll keep on thinking about this…