MSVU Social Media Course Blog

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Evaluation in an Era of Apathy

I was particularly interested in what Martin Delaney had to offer to us this week in class. Evaluation to me, while I understand its importance, has always been one of those things we throw in at the end of the comm plan with no real hope of being able to accomplish it effectively. Now, before you toss my butt out of CPRS and IABC for blasphemy, gimme a chance to explain.  The issue I have with evaluation is that it depends, a lot anyway, on the willingness of people to give their time, with no real offer of anything in return, to participate in the process.  This is why I asked Martin about alternative evaluation methods that don’t rely on surveying people about their attitudes and feelings.  We’ve all, or at least a large part of us, taken research methods and know how difficult it is to create a truly valid and reliable survey that can be generalized to a larger population. It requires a lot of work and a lot of people willing to give up their time.  Now, I may be a pessimist but as the world grows further desensitized not only to advertising but to communications efforts in general, especially surveys I find, I just find it difficult to believe that a survey could really be an effective means to evaluation.  I mean, how many times have you just tossed out the satisfaction survey in a new electronic you’ve bought?  People talk all the time about how we are an apathetic generation.  Agencies such as Extreme have to use incredible shock methods to make us lift our heads up to notice. And we only give them one glance anyway.  Seriously though, what are the chances after we’ve already taken our precious time to participate in some sort of communication initiative, such as attending a fundraiser or an open house, that we’ll actually give up more time after the fact to tell them how we felt about it? Slim to none I think.  But again, I may be a pessimist.

Anyways, this was not the point of my blog.  What I was thinking was that I really appreciated Martin’s presentation in that he showed us some awesome, free evaluation tools available to us that I never knew existed. I mean, google analytics, I’m fairly confident that while I’m a bit sketched out that google is officially taking over the world, that’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever heard of.  Plus, it was totally cool to see that our blog is making a mark on cyber space, it really made me feel like we’re truly learning something. We’re officially leaving a cyber footprint…maybe all of this stuff really does make a difference.  Not that I was an unbeliever to begin with, but to see it in action, how cool! Anyways, I just wanted to say that I’m totally psyched about writing up the evaluation section of our plan now. We’ve officially got some incredible tools at our finger tips that we had no idea about. So I guess I’m sending out a big thank you to Martin and DeNel.

June 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

I see it, but would I buy it?

What a week! Thank you DeNel for going to such great lengths to find some really interesting and informative guest speakers. Martin Delaney’s presentation on Wednesday especially helped bring an understanding of how to successfully evaluate the use of social media beyond our academic walls. It was easy to tell that he is passionate about his own work and really believes that many forms of social media are expanding, not limiting, our capacity to communicate.

During the presentation, Martin made a few comments about the shift in evaluation methods from ‘awareness’ to ‘likelihood to refer’. No longer can businesses and organizations use awareness as a stand-alone mark of success. With television advertising, it is easy to watch a commercial and be aware of a product while remaining a passive consumer. Maybe once in awhile you will yell at the screen when you don’t like a commercial or laugh to yourself when you really do like one. On the internet there are many opportunities to actually respond, reflect, and refer to an advertisement. In many ways, the internet has transformed us into a society of engaged consumers.

Businesses and organizations must stay on their toes when it comes to evaluation of internet consumers and their likelihood to refer products or services. Consumers don’t take an individual journey from awareness to action; it’s more like a road trip where you pick up a busload of talkative people along the way. If we like it – we will let everyone know. If we don’t like it – we will most definitely let everyone know.

June 12, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | , , , , | 2 Comments