LIFESAVER: “Without data you’re just another person with an opinion.”

Here’s the slide I keep coming back to and have done for months.


W. Edwards Deming was an American engineer, statistician, professor, author, lecturer, and management consultant. His work has been acclaimed as being one of the key factors that led to the Japanese industrial boom from 1950 to 1960.

He is absolutely right. Without data you are just another person with an opinion.

During my career I’ve not always appreciated this. My career has been a struggle between thought and action. As a journalist, I was measured by action. Write the story, get the scoop. Long term planning was literally tomorrow.

But as I’m often now taking the bigger picture I see the value of data to help you calmly make decisions.

The problem with data is that it doesn’t kick the door down and demand you send out a press release. It’s dull. It’s a pile of numbers. Yet, what stories it can tell you if you spend long enough panning for it like a Klondike fontiersperson hunched over a pan rext to a running stream.

Good data can save a life.

It can tell you, as I heard today at the Association of Police Communicators conference, that abusive behaviour starts in the teenage years. So, comms has been targeted at teenagers that abusive relationships are not acceptable because the data said that’s when offenders start.

So shouldn’t you spend more time panning for data?





POCKET CALCULATOR ANALYTICS: Measure and share your organisation’s Twitter impact (until someone smart designs an app.)

Just how do you measure how effective Twitter is?

One day wfame will all click a button and some kind of advanced free analytic will do it all.

There is of course

 But a score out of 100 isn’t really going to cut the mustard with the chief executive.
What are we doing? One way is to  keep a log of the traditional opportunities to view figure.  In other words the number of times a tweet has been put in front of people.

Until something better comes along we’re keeping tally ourselves with little more than a word document and a pocket calculator.


We do it monthly. First, we keep a tab on the number of followers on the first day of the month.
1. At the START of the month log the current number of followers
2. At the END of the month log the new total of followers
3. Work out the average number of followers that month.
4. Work out the number of times you’ve tweeted that month.
5. Then its MONTHLY AVERAGE FOLLOWER score multiplied by MONTHLY TWEETS. You are left with opportunities to view.


This is the formula we use. It’s a formula that is designed to show the impact of our Twitter use. It’s not neccesarily the one for everyone but it’ll do until a smart app designer comes up with something that gets traction industry wide. It works like this: If there are 100 followers at the start of the month and 200 at the end the average follower score is 150. Yes?
Let’s pretent the tweets we sent that month was 50.
If that was the case our opportunities to view score would be 150 x 50 = 7,500.
In other words, there were 7,500 opportunities to read your organisations tweets.

As a swift number crunch, work out how many months you’ve been tweeting, your followers today, divide your followers today by the number of months and you can come up with a rough figure without having to put in months of investment. 


From April to November ’09 our tweets could have been read more than 700,000 times. This sounds a compelling score – and is – but is by no means unique.

April 09 — 59 tweets x 77 average monthly followers = 4,543

May 09 — 172 x 175 = 30,100

June 09 — 251 x 166 = 46,646

July 09 — 450 x 288 = 129,600

August 09 — 540 x 215 = 116,100

September 09 — 642 x 244 = 157,136

October 09 — 758 x 293 = 222,094

Opps to view total April to November ’09: 706,319



If you are really keen you can use a link shortening website like

From that you can also get data for the number of clicks. However, this is only collected link by link so you can’t bring them all together. It’s also time consuming going through each click. Mashable reckons an average is about 3 per cent click through.

Now you’ve got your stats what are you going to do with them?
You could leave them on your hard drive but isn’t it better to spread the word?
Stick it on the intranet. Tell all your friends.
With thousands of organisations on Twitter I’m amazed a free killer app hasn’t been designed already to properly measure.
Until then, I’d be genuinely interested to know what others do…

Three basic things organisations should be doing when they use social media:

1. Measure. Whatever the way you want to measure – followers, friends, opps to view or views – keep a log. Yes, it’ll take time. Yes, you will come up with some compelling figures that paint a picture of what you are doing.

2. Broadcast. Tell people in your organisation what the statistics are. Don’t keep them to yourself.

3. Circulate case studies. Turned around an inaccurate Chinese whisper using Twitter?  Take a screen shot of each tweet. Put together a mini Power Point and circulate. Let non-adoptors know what you can achieve.

4. Put your social media stats with your Press monitoring stats. Don’t keep them in the box bedroom. Let them breathe. It’s also a good way of getting the message over to people that the weekly paper that has had the monopoly for 100 years is not the only game in town.


E-Consultancy debate on measuring social media success

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