The Village View

Monday, March 13, 2006

The metrics of influence--the mania for measuring the blogosphere

I understand the point that Tom Foremski makes about the importance of qualitative analysis of the influence of blogs. He's absolutely right that you need to be involved in the community to get a sense for how effective your blogging is. However, I think he's too quick to dimiss the need for quanitative analytics for two reasons:

1) You can't manage what you can't measure. If you solely use qualitative, subjective measurements you're bound to have a biased, inaccurate perception of what your measuring.

2) Corporate communications groups will be more likely to support efforts to reach out to the blogosphere if they can show their bosses what impact they're having. (Ditto for those of us outside of the Comms group pushing the use of blogs). You gotta show impact and within corporations that means numbers. Stating that we're reaching "important" blogger A, while interesting, is not entirely persuasive as we attempt to convince our firms to dedicate time and resources to influencing the blogosphere.

Finding the right metrics to measure a blog's value as an influencer will never be as simple as measuring numbers of links, comments, trackbacks, Alexa rank, Technorati rank, etc. Because you have to understand the context of each blog and how it fits into its online communities. And you can only do that by being involved in those communities, online and offline.

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