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March 20, 2008



Nice post. Next time I try to translate the nebulous and useful social media to someone, I'll point to your blog. Thanks.

Sonia Simone

Thanks, Shari!


but what makes headlines is "the weird".

Sonia Simone

Definitely. And tools like Digg and even, to some extent, StumbleUpon reinforce the idea that only weird stuff matters. I talked with a CEO recently who doesn't think social media has anything to do with his customers, even though he has a very lively online forum that could be giving him some important feedback, if he'd listen to it. He thinks that's just "the yahoos" who use these tools.

It's interesting stuff. :-)

Aurelius Tjin

This is very interesting! I have enjoyed reading this very
insightful post. Very engaging
and informative. Thanks for sharing.


Hi Sonia - just came across your blog through copyblogger, started wondering around your blog, came across this article and thought I would comment!

So, perhaps it is simply that we do not have the tools to analyze social media right now? While the system at a macro level might seem chaotic, some academic type studies could yield data helping both current & future marketers better quantify and support their efforts.

In fact, such studies would go a long way to making social media marketing more attractive and more understandable to the average business owner. It may just be that social media marketing is more akin to say, biological research - you poke, prod, collect data, analyze, hypothesis and continually test until some actionable insights can be found.

Though social media marketing is more complex given its inherently dynamic nature, I like to think it can become measurable!

Sonia Simone

I actually think social media is very measurable, but it's not *predictable*, at least not now. As it becomes more mainstream and less the province of people who like being out on the edge, it may get more predictable. Or its very many-to-many nature may keep it chaotic, as there are just too many permutations to be able to predict it well.

I like the idea of measuring it the way you do bio research. That is a very cool metaphor, I will chew on that awhile.

There's also a good set of best practices that the experienced (or the observant) can engage in. Folks like Chris Brogan are doing wonderful work getting those practices defined and getting the word out.


That's a great distinction - measurable (i.e. # of diggs, saves to delicious, etc), but not predictable. It has to be predictable w/in some margin of error for it be useful to management. Yup, that's a good way to think about it!

For the moment, I suppose it's very much a black box, which is why I like the bio-metaphor. As SMMs, its our job to unlock the inner workings of the box.

Thanks for pointing out Chris Brogan. I'm new to the space - and will definitely read through his work.

And by the way, in a recent comment on TopRankBlog someone mentioned a study that measured the effectiveness of word of mouth/social media marketing. If I can get my hands on a PDF, I'll gladly send it your way.

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