Has Yelp Lost Its Social Value?
"What do you think about this article? I am appalled, to be honest!"
That was the title of the post that hooked me. I had to click the link and read about what was so "appalling." But what I found was just a decent article looking at the confusing and often difficult to assess area of Social Measurement. Yes, it did have to do with a score used by a particular company of the same name. I am purposefully leaving that name out of this blog asI am not writing bout the company nor about the quality of their measurement. I am not even judging what this poster was doing. I am writing as a user of social; the impact of emotional draw; and the request for me to weigh in (socially engage).
This engagement has simply become a great jumping off point for me to ponder how we are using Social Reputation Measurements?
As I stated IMHO there was nothing "appalling" in the article. It was after all no greater or more impactful than any other article on Social Measurement. What I did find interesting was how successful this quote was in getting me to engage (click, read, comment, and respond). I was not alone in my reaction. In fact 79 people had done the same. If I were measuring activity alone in a defined network I might erroneously see a high impact score and associate a high social contribution. However, looking deeper at context though I did click, read, engage, and even respond to her, her value as an important person in my social network actually deminshed greatly.
I read the other comments and many were as baffled as I was by the post header and its connection to the article. I wonder how many others have stepped back and looked at this as a study in getting closer to true a measurement of Social Value.
Social value must by definition be a value gained via repeated engagement with a specific Social group. I am looking at a Social value as an aggregation of reputation. Reputation is driven by the ability of that individual to gain a higher status as a key engager who influences a constant social network overtime. Using antics such as emotional pulls or requests to engage users to join-in, buy-in or participate may have a single moment of impact but overtime and if other members find consensus in the negative value of that individual will as an aggregate erode reputation. I will be less likely to fall for another antic from this poster as her reputation is diminished. Aggregate reputation and ability to influence a common social behavior is key.
Conversely, Social Value of a network is not negatively impacted by the individual contributors antics. In fact, transparency of an antic and its call-out may actually boost the Social Value of a network. I may conclude that the value of a group has increased as I now given the consensus of engagement. Greater Social Value of a social network may be do to a greater sense of kinship with a group once I see them as more like-minded to myself.
What is Social Value is a complex and delicate matter to measure let alone assess. The numbers while exact are less valuable than the interpretation. Interpretation, however, is dependent on context and context is more likely to be subjective. For now the only solid conclusion appears to be that the delicacies of social measurement are manyfold.
Noreen Poli is product manager and consultant at Ready, Set, Go Social! Her projects range from award winning methodologies to end-to-end mobile gamified applications. Her background in product management is enhanced by experience in user research, analytics, human behavior, and social giving her a unique skill-set custom made for this era of realtime analytics and personalized products.