Why bother measuring Social Media?

Curt Hopkins writes me, he questions if we should ever be effective in measuring social media. Is it an art? Can ‘human’ activity truly be measured. As you know, I’ve been focusing a lot of thought on social media measurement, I believe that whoever has the measurement has the authority, and when the TV resources shift to web, they will be a key driving force.


Just had a question, a thought: How much is social media an art as opposed to a science? How much is it intuitive and conversational (in the true and long-term sense) and how much is it a quantifiable thing? Are we kidding ourselves when we treat it as a kind of science that can be measured? Is that just a way for us to justify our salaries? Is my recently recognized resistance to too much quantification a result of my nearly unbearable wisdom or of my laziness? Or is the truth somewhere in the middle, as truth has an irritating habit of usually being?

None of this means, by the way, that I question the value of what I’m doing, I’m just starting to wonder if it isn’t the intangible aspect of it all that carries the most real value, humanizing, opening up, being transparent, winning hearts and minds, etc. more than eliciting metrically provable spikes in user adoption, etc. Certainly, showing that a given move with social media produces more readers, or more buyers or more readers or buyers who return, etc. is all to the good. But are we going to far, or will we, in trying to make a spreadsheetable science out of it? Are we running the risk of turning poetry into sociology, a discipline rejected by poets and scientists alike?

I’m just saying is all.


Curt Hopkins
blog. morphemetales.com

Thanks Curt.

One of the first things I say when defining social media, is that it’s about “people connecting to people”. When I had the charter to measure the social media program at my previous full time job, it was an important key to determine the value of the program, and to measure and improve where we were headed.

I agree, we will never be able to fully measure social media until we can fully measure people. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try. Measurement is important for so many reasons, (not just because of profits) as it can help us improve how we communicate, connect to others, and most importantly, spend our time and resources correctly. Just as folks improve their public speaking by taking classes, or joining the local Toastmasters, the same with the web, folks will want to measure how they are communicating.

Lastly, I hope to see you at the blogger dinner this Thursday in Portland.

Enough of my thoughts, let’s hear from the community, leave a comment

1) Is true Social Media Measurement possible?
2) Even if yes, should we measure?
3) Is there an attribute(s) that never can be measured?