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Mirror, mirror on the wall . . . social media as a mirror?

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Are we thinking about viral campaigns back-to-front?

At Bucks08, Toby Moores made the point, as did others, that social media amplifies what is already there.

Perhaps another important point is that social media allows us to measure what is already there.

Here is a report on the US Presidential candidates. What is noticeable is that our use of social media changes after a significant event.

Widget-capture goes up when a candidate has just won a major primary, and falls when they have consolidated their position – meaning, I think, that social media is not a result, but an action we take to make something happen. We are a sensible lot, so if McCain has won, there is no need to capture widgets! If we want to push our candidate on and they are winning, we join in.

Also note that 80-90% of Obama’s widgets are not captured from official sites. Hence my deduction that social media acts as a trace that allows us to understand our community better.

The value to someone investing in social media is increased clarity, rather than increased sales. They still need to get out there and do their thing – write good policy, give good speeches, recover from errors, build alliances, court super-delegates etc.

And if this theory is correct

Widget-capture should fall, when one of the Democratic candidates concedes, and widget-capture should fall for both of them unless at that point the competition with McCain hots up.



Just so I don’t lose it: after I posted this I commented on an HR blog on the Ron Paul effect – whatever that is!

“I think the return is like any group conversation. You have to be in it to influence it and you have to be willing to be influenced in turn. People trying to ‘use it’, ‘lose it’ at this juncture.

I don’t think the web is an echo chamber as much as a “broken telephone”. News goes out, it is picked up days later, it is repeated without checking, etc. etc. The onus is on the individual to verify information. The danger is in treating it like an authoritative source – we become the journalist – we have to check and double check.

So what do we get? We observe what people are willing to repeat?? That in itself is instructive and tells us a lot about a source. So we can tell three things a) competence b) popularity/fashion and c) network.”

Published in SOCIAL MEDIA & IT


  1. This:

    “So what do we get? We observe what people are willing to repeat?? That in itself is instructive and tells us a lot about a source. So we can tell three things a) competence b) popularity/fashion and c) network.”

    Is priceless, and the best summary I’ve seen in relation to metric thus far.

    The next thing a CEO will say is:

    “but we know all that, we are competent and our product is fashionable, now how can we directly influence someone (network) to buy it, and how much does that cost”…

    Alas ….

  2. scotchcart scotchcart

    When the CEO (or proxy) starts reading the activity in the social media, s/he can understand what people understand about the product/service, what views are popular and how the users are linked to each other – how views spread through the community.

    Social media people are panicking (much as HR people do). We don’t have to do the jobs of the other people in the organization. They are there to think up the product, market etc – as Obama is there to lead his candidacy – his social media people don’t do that.

    The role of social media is to make the new technologies available to the ‘customers’ and to see how the social media sponsored by the firm relates to social media outside the firm.

    So the answer to the CEO – that’s your job sir/ma’am – here’s what people are saying about your product. The CEO will like the “metric” if it delivers some insight (and thus compensates for any dent to the ego!) If there is just dent to the ego . . .

  3. […] June 3, 2008 in social media Tags: metrics, Obama, social media, Social Media Mafia After the Bucks08 Social Media Camp, I found some figures on the effectiveness of Barack Obama’s on-line campaigns and came up with a rule-of-thumb magnitude figure of 65. […]

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