So yesterday I hopped down to BNU to attend MediaCampBucks08. It was typical British weather, grey and cloudy but the discussions in all the sessions more than made up for it. After Wednesday’s MeasurementCamp, for me the most interesting discussion yesterday was the bit on Social Media Process Measurement. Of course, there was no answer at the end of the 2-hour discussion, and I think that only reiterates the fact that there is no easy answer. First of all, the very definition of social media can vary from person to person, and even if you get to broadly agree on what it is, the priorities for different parties, notably clients, will vary. Questions that I’d like to note down here that I hope to think about in the days to come (whether or not I arrive at a comprehensive answer) are:
1. How does social media differ from social networks? Is one a sub-set of the other or are they different things altogether?
2. Clients obviously need quantitative results given that they are investing money. But which is really more important: the quantitative or qualitative impact of social media? As @iudaea said, if B visited your website for 5 minutes and left a comment, but C visited it for 20 minutes and did not leave a comment, who was more engaged?
3. One thing that was agreed upon was that social media basically amplifies relationships and often enables new ones to be forged where earlier geography was a restriction. A simple example was yesterday’s event : I met lots of people I’d been interacting with on Twitter but never really met till then – people who share common interests and valuable ideas that i’d never have met otherwise; ‘geeks’ as it were (and in the sense I just used it, it includes me and is not a bad thing, people!!). But turning that argument on its head, does social media interaction happen at the expense of personal interaction today, and is it advisable?
4. Another thing that was agreed upon was that there is always a cost involved in using social media. This cost may simply be one of time, but nevertheless when people spend time in writing blogs or wikis for corporates, that cost should be recognised and compensated, even if they are volunteers and do it in their spare time, because going ahead they are likely to become an invaluable asset.
Anyway, a great day altogether and I look forward to the Media Camp in London in July. Thanks to Chris for organising it!