Lent – an exercise in measurement

Colorfulhands Partly because I have been researching camcorders this week, partly because I have been participating in the Lent Challenge 2010 which provides a daily quotation of some words of Christ and invites people to memorise, pray and put into practice what is given them each day. There are lots of different ways to respond so it is a little tricky to put metrics around this but on the Challenge website it is possible to post comments and videos. To date I am the only person to post a video – so I have had that aspect to myself. Via youtube I can track the video views so I have some basic statistics to work on.  About 1300 are reported to have signed up to receive a daily email or SMS. Clearly much of the activity is unmeasurable. However on a typical day there are around 10 postings  – less than 1%. That's about right for those making 'stuff'.  But with less than half of the postings getting a comment added to them the level of participation from the so called 9% of linkers and commentators is far too low.  Based on my Youtube traffic assuming that the only way anyone found out about my videos was via the challenge site then I was getting 40 views every time I posted a video – on the basis that everyone visiting the site on a given day might well click on the video – we should have at least 130 commenting in some way or other and even more reading. I did get around 200+ view the first time I posted a video – when the site was being trialled there was enough interest but it seems to have fallen off substantially.

This shows quite neatly the importance of setting clear goals for site design. As a way to get the words of Christ out there the mechanism probably works well. I wonder if they have trackers for the number of emails opened?  But the site seems to work far more as a way for people to put their own content there without needing to interact much with anything else. There's even a private journal area so people can post without engaging with anybody else. So part of the architecture might in future be to find ways to remind everyone that postings are going on – to lift quotations. Of course this would take a lot more curating. But this is exactly the challenge of creating social objects – you either have to develop them carefully and iteratively till they become very shareable. Or you need to do some rapid tweaking up front to get them to start to work as a community. Or you leave them alone and they swiftly deflate. 

Measurement of interaction matters because the creation of information pots is dead easy. Getting it used and exchanged and amplified. Ah that's the trickier part. And that is the skill we are all having to learn. Without spending every spare second doing it.

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