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This section contains background information including typical goals of social media and community efforts and a description of common metrics.
There are many reasons why individuals and organizations engage community. Typical goals include:
Different people and organization have different reasons to gather metrics. You may need to provide these to a potential advertiser, to a potential investor in your site, or you might just want to gather them and see what happens to them when you try out
different approaches to your site or social platform. While metrics are useful in these and other ways, they represent an inexact science at best, and can be totally misleading at worse. You should be able to easily recognize if your efforts are successful
by looking at the totality of your metrics, non-quantitative observations, and direct input from members of your community. In most cases, you'll be able to easily recognize whether what you're doing is working or not without getting bogged down in measurements.
Social media tools have basic functionality that tend to dictate a core set of metrics. For example, the metrics
number of connections. number of influential connections, and
recommendations make sense for social networking sites like Linked-In that make it easy to make and sustain professional connections. These metrics can be important on their own but are generally part of a larger multi-platform and community effort (or
Blogs provide a publishing environment for a wide variety of content. Articles, videos, files, code snippets and other types of content can be hosted on a blog. Various metrics that can be considered when measuring the performance of a blog might include:
In addition to the raw numbers obtained for the above measurements, you might also want to consider "weighted values". The weighted values (which we might call "ratings") enable you to compare performance based on the popularity of the product or technology
on which the blog is focused.
For example - suppose that Microsoft Exchange has 1000 customers (of course this is wrong, but we're just putting up a number of our example) and the Unfied Access Gateway has 10 customers. We could then conjecture that Exchange is approximately 100X more popular
than UAG and therefore we could multiply our raw numbers (not derivitive values like M/M percentage increases or decreases) by 100 to see how the blog hosting content on UAG would perform if the product were as popular as Exchange. The weighting values would
be potentially higher for topics that reach across a large number of technologies, such as scripting.
Wikis enable collaborative authoring of articles and longer chunks of information. For a quick review, visit
Wiki, a comprehensive article about Wikis, on Wikipedia.
Metrics for Wikis include:
This section explores metrics by scenarios of varying complexity. Please share your scenarios and metrics; this article will only improve if you contribute!