Why Numbers Alone Don’t Matter

Everyone is caught up in numbers and metrics. Some metrics are dead on and others wecan do without. Two such metrics people tend to get caught up in revolve around thenumber of friends/followers and the number of tweets.

Why are these numbers not as relevant as you may think them to be?

 

Don't Cross the Streams!

 

Number of Facebook Friends or Twitter Followers

Having a large following is a nice topic to throw around in a conversation, but does itreally help you? Many celebrities, pseudo-celebrities, industry experts, authors, and manyothers have a pretty strong follower count which helps from a message push or listeningperspective. Now, look at how many people they follow and see if you are valued in theirnetwork.

Probably not.

It is great for them to push out their information and hope you will share with yournetwork as well. Good for them. Not so great for you.

This is in no means a recommendation to follow everyone who follows you. But withall the “social media experts” talking about engagement, do they really engage or justengage when spoken to? Think about the last time someone with a high friend/followercount interacted with you off of one of your messages without you mentioning orreferencing that person.

 

Number of Tweets

The number of times you tweet should not mean a thing? Why you are probably asking.

Well, as Twitter is an unbelievable tool for conversations, learning, listening, sharing andnetworking, it also is a great tool for connecting with apparently every other social mediatool created.

You may connect Twitter with LinkedIn, Facebook, Foursquare (and other location-basedservices), Tumblr, MySpace, blogs, etc. etc. etc.

The more networks you are connected to, the more potential of redundant message beingposted, of locations being shared, of somewhat meaningless data.

Should I be able to read all of your tweets on LinkedIn or Facebook? You could argue oneither side of this and make effective cases. What I am saying is that it is some of thesemessages are redundant, auto generated and used to somewhat spam all of your socialnetworking channels.

When I view my Twitter stream, I don’t care to see all of the Foursquare check-in’s. Iknow I am not alone here but I also realize plenty of others share the opposite feeling.

But in strictly looking at Foursquare and Twitter, it is conceivable that half of your tweetsare Foursquare check-ins. That alone artificially inflates your tweets to show how active aTwitter user you are.

Other people/accounts use messageing services that auto tweet for them and possiblyrepost the same message multiple times per day (full disclosure: yes, I sometimes do thisfor my blog posts… but not every day and for everything I read).

 

In closing, numbers really don’t mean everything if value isn’t there. Isnt’ that why ROIis always an interesting discussion point!

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Facebook vs Foursquare

This is bad news.  As reported in Tech Crunch earlier this week, Facebook is moving in a direction I am for one not ecstatic about.  Not bad news for businesses but bad news for both Foursquare (the company) and all of the Facebook user community.

A bit of an overreaction?  Maybe.

Foursquare users already integrate this app with Twitter so all day you get to know where people are & what they are doing… even if this adds zero value to 99.9999999% of the world’s population.  I’ve already done a mild rant on this so I will digress.

But, with Facebook now looking to move into the location based messaging market, the whole world is in for something big and annoying.  Just like your Twitter feed, your Facebook wall will now be one massive list of where people are and what they are doing, ALL THE TIME.

My hope is that Facebook figures out that most of this is irrelevant and that there should be an extra tab on the main page for “News Feed”.  Maybe they will add a third list option.  Currently you are able to choose between “Top News” and “Most Recent” which are both helpful.  Imagine adding a third option of “Find Friends” or “Where Are They Now” or some other name will allow you to look for your friends, if you choose to look!

I am dreading the day that I log into Facebook and see everyone posting where they are at a particular moment.

I understand this is the wave of retail, restaurants and other businesses but don’t force-feed me this information if I don’t want to see it.

photo credit to Mitchell McKenna

foursquare: I’m not sold

Foursquare, Gowalla, Whirrl and any other location based mobile social media “game” is definitely the buzz today, and rightfully so.  These have the potential to be very powerful tools for both businesses and users.

I have not bought into any of them for a variety of reasons.  What I have noticed is that businesses are doing some great and very interesting marketing tactics to connect further with the customers using these tools.  I have also noticed users adding absolutely zero value to their network.

Today I wanted to highlight what are my top 3 pro’s and con’s of foursquare, Gowalla, Whirrl and any other social networking location based tool.  In an effort to keep the videos short, I am just covering my top 3 points as I ramble.

To begin, let’s start on the positive side:

But, I am passionate about what I consider the negatives of these tools:

OK, so now you have read and viewed my brief takes on this subject and would enjoy hearing what you think about this.  Let me know if you agree, disagree or if I may have overlooked something – that happens too.  I look forward to your comments.