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Monday, August 13, 2007

Social Network Metrics

One of the major issues I found when talking about social networks was the concept of measuring the effectiveness of them. I had considered the use of a few metrics that I could easily track either anecdotally or by use of on line survey using something like surveymonkey. These could then be related to the business and to the owners of that business without getting in to the realms of jargon.

One of the leading commentators in this field is Valdis Krebs who looks at Social Networks and has a great blog covering this subject. He has done a recent post

He has identified four metrics for people to use and they are as follows:-

Increase in Size of Network -- attracting new people to the mission.

Increase in internal network connectivity -- connecting the right people to get things done

Increase in connections to valuable third parties -- bringing in outside skills and perspectives

Increase in projects formed with all of the above -- creating value-added projects out of the interconnected skills.

I agree with Krebs that these four metrics would be a good leading indicator as to how people within the organisation are getting to grips with social networks either on line or in person.

I do think though that some professional firms will need to be more outward looking in utilising their external connections say from clients or by acting as boundary spanners and introducing people to other networks so to achieve reciprocation in future events.

We also need to consider the role of after action reviews as a means of achieving point 4 - though I think that value added as a phrase may disappear and that it will be replaced by being the way we do business naturally as clients expect us to develop and harness skills within our organisations.

I'd also like to see clients involved as part of the process of meeting these metrics rather than just an internal metric - say if they are involved in say a wiki with us on a project.

Certainly an area for us to consider as we as KM professionals start to understand and utilise the social network as part of our knowledge programmes.

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