Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Measuring the real time web

Luke's Monitoring Social Media 09 event in London on Tuesday was an absolute triumph.
The venue was packed (literally standing room only) the speakers excellent and the vibe businesslike rather than echo-chamberesque.

Luke (one of our collaborators at 90:10, by way of disclosure) asked me to chair a panel on the ROI of social media monitoring, on which I was ably assisted by Chris Quigley (co-founder Rubber Republic), Matt Atkinson, CEO EHS Brann, Tomi Leitonen, CEO Whitevector and Jon Moody, Market Engineer (nice title Jon) at ASOMO.

I threw in a thought, without much consideration for how it could be answered. It is this; that social media monitoring is, in its current incarnation, somewhat behind the curve of the real-time web.

I think of it like this: we are becoming increasingly good at taking photographs of the web, but can't workout how to view its streaming video.

Perhaps it is that we are only able to make sense of it as still photographs - snapshots which we can pour over with a magnifying glass and make pronouncements upon?

Most of those of us who go in for this kind of monitoring and measurement have long understood that one set of tools is far from enough. We adapt and compile, create our best set of tools to give us the deepest and broadest understanding of the landscape. But it is for the most part a landscape in which nothing is moving.

It is helpful for broad strategy, to identify where the conversations are happening and whom they involve.

But how much more valuable could the right-now monitoring of live interaction be.

For example, it is useful to know where the conversation has happened, but it is much more useful to know where the conversation is happening right now, how it is moving, at what speed and in what direction.

It's becoming increasingly important as we understand the value of the connections over the node, of interaction, of the things people do with each other together (network), compared to the things we would have them do at our bidding (broadcast).

In other words, wouldn't it be wonderful to monitor and understand the flow of the flock.

Of course wonderful is one thing, useful another.

Not only do we need a new set of tools to understand, to even see the flow, we need a new set of tactical responses and processes to give that knowledge value.

Like I say, lots of questions. Not so many answers.

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The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?