Web 2.0 tools may be the 1.21 jigawatt flux capacitor driving the efforts of those who build and maintain networks and coalitions.
But for all the space-age hoo-hah, most organizations deploying the tools still rely on an old and increasingly outdated performance measure of their efforts: raw numbers of contacts.
The problem, of course, is that such numbers tell you nothing about the impact of your social media discussions. Ask the peasant Jean Valjean what matters most in his life: the detached love and respect of those who know him as Monsieur Madeleine or the dogged engagement and pursuit of Javert?
I’m guessing the obsessive, inexorable and measurable actions of the Inspector.
The real value of electronic outreach is found in the measured nature, intensity and duration of engagement. Do you quantitatively know the answers to such questions as:
- Do stakeholders engage in an online dialog with you through comments, questions and surveys?
- Are people staying to learn by downloading your materials or following links?
- Are they advancing your agenda by reporting actions taken or responding to calls to action you request?
- Are you evolving your goals and actions in response to their feedback in specific, documentable ways?
- As a result, are you accomplishing your goals in ways that are seen as generally beneficial to those most affected based on comment and blog content analysis?
In other words, the real measures of success are found in numbers more complex than total visitors and in actions more concrete than simply launching a browser bookmarked to your site?