Still Buzzing About Those Numbers? Here's a Few More...
Data rocks. Big data. Small Data. I love it. That’s probably part of why I am a business analyst.
Bernard Marr thinks big data is sexy. I’ll not go quite that far, but it is crazy useful. Marr points out that big data is transforming everything from grocery shopping to healthcare and he’s right. Just count how many people are wearing fitness trackers to record and analyze every step they take and every calorie they consume.
But, as Dan Ariely says, “Big data is like teenage sex: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it.”
Well, at least we’re talking about it. Maybe if people practice more, they’ll move past the awkward teenage sex data analytics and get into grown-up sex analytics. (Y’all can continue the metaphor on your own. I’m stopping here before I get into trouble.)
Data provides insight. It doesn’t tell you why something happens; only a human being can answer that question. It does point you in the right direction of what questions to ask and who you should ask those questions. Then you get to the why of a trend. What can be tracked can be measured. What can be measured can be improved.
If you tell me your calls to your help desk are 40% password resets, I know to ask questions about reset utilities, online help desk support, and other password related issues. If you only tell me that you get too many calls to the help desk, I can’t do much to help you.
Last week, I threw some data out there. Without information like how LinkedIn or beBee counts views, there were few conclusions on what could be derived from the limited amount of data I presented. Just which ones generated more views, comments, shares, etc. Reactions to the data were mixed. BeBee members were thrilled that beBee’s numbers were much higher than LinkedIn’s. Some LinkedIn members dismissed the numbers because they didn’t like beBee or because they considered views to be “vanity metrics” without providing other metrics that were less vain. (Exactly how is anyone tracking data on their performance vain, anyway? I’m vain, but only about my shoes, hair, and nails. Data, not so much.)
Ironically, my conclusion was that while distinctly different, both platforms were useful. That is still my conclusion, in case you were wondering.
At the risk of starting another my platform is better than your platform argument, I’m throwing the numbers for that post out there, including one additional metric that I hadn’t been tracking – the number of new followers following a published post. (The numbers were still changing as I wrote this, so they might have shifted some.)
The appropriate caveats:
LinkedIn only counts initial comments and not replies. I wouldn’t mind if they didn’t count my replies, but the discussion that ensues from a comment is as important as the initial comment. Not adjusted.
beBee counts all comments and replies. Identifying the replies from the comments is difficult if someone deleted the post key when they wrote their reply. I couldn’t accurately identify some replies, so I only subtracted mine. It would be nice to have a threaded display for comments.
Followers gained is a manual calculation on my part. I know what my followers were when I posted and as of the current time. I did the math. Risky business, but someone had to do it. I can’t recreate this for past posts though.
Another interesting data point to note. This post also garnered me an additional 19 twitter followers as a direct result of engagement on beBee. As far as I can tell, no one from LinkedIn retweeted or liked any of the tweets for this post.
My conclusion on this one? If you accidentally kick over a bees’ nest, you get a lot of attention.
What do you think?
Any other insights on metrics that can be tracked? (Preferably that don't involve me counting a lot manually. I don't have any spare toes.)
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All thoughts and opinions are my own. They do not represent those of any current or former employers or clients.