First off, let me stipulate that I absolutely support the notion that technologists of a certain age (let’s go with over 40) should regularly evaluate what they need to ‘unlearn’ in order to make way for new thinking.
However, some older techniques really do stand the test of time when attempting to understand new concepts. Take Social Analytics. It’s a hot topic and information specialists are trying to get their heads around what it it and what the business benefits are.
To help me understand, I started researching in the usual way. Books, white papers, articles and opinion. But as I did so, I drew up a ‘Dimension Map’ and a list of questions. Two simple devices that are as useful today in clarifying information requirements and their usefulness as they were err, a few years ago.
The first, a dimension map, has as it’s columns, the dimensions of measurement. So a revenue dimension map would typically have columns for product, customer etc. The rows are hierarchical levels so time (and most things are measured over time) might be years, months and days. The final column is a list of metrics. These are the measurements that can be analysed by the dimensions so a revenue dimension map would include sales value, sales qty. Easy, right. The social media dimension map below is very much a work in progress but I trust you find it useful as a ‘Social Analytics at a Glance’ diagram from which you can expand your thinking in the way that I intend to.
The question list is self explanatory but is a really simple and illustrative way to remind us that the purpose of information is to make decisions by answering business questions.
- Who does or does not like me|my product|my campaign|my brand?
- Who influences my customers?
- Do influencers like me|my product|my campaign|my brand?
- Are my customers talking more about me|my product|my campaign|my brand? than my competitors? i.e what is my share of voice?
- What are my customers saying about my competitor? i.e. what are the competitive opportunities or threats?