Saturday, April 21, 2012

• "S" is for Statistics (Yawn)

In my working days

The last few years I worked in the nonprofit world, there was considerable discussion of "metrics." We measured the reach, impact, and visibility of projects. Sometimes the criteria helped; sometimes it felt like busywork.

As a pet sitter, I manage several online sites, all of which give statistics. If I were so inclined, I could use them to measure the reach, impact, and visibility of my social media presence.

Gag me with a spoon.

That sounds way too much like work. I'd rather post photos of animals or articles or funny cartoons. At the same time, I look at my stats and think, shouldn't I learn something from them?

My Facebook page counts the number of people who Like me, the number who see a post, the number who click on a post, and the number who engage. These stats are delivered in colorful, peppy graphs I can manipulate with the touch of a button, which would make some of the people I used to work with very, very happy.

I check the purple line and balls (number of posts per day) on the timeline, and survey the hills and valleys of the green and blue lines. If a line pops up like a prairie dog it means people liked something. My web site for my pet sitting business and my blog have similar displays and info. Twitter can be heady. I have 285 friends, including one in China! One in Russia! When I Tweet something funny and someone Retweets it, I feel validated. (I know, it's pitiful.)

Ostensibly the purpose of these sites is to attract pet-sitting clients, but I'm not going to pet sit in China or Russia; most people who Like my Facebook page are flesh-and-blood friends.

At work I could scratch my creative itch. (And you thought I didn't like any part of my job!) Now social media feeds my urge to write and take photos, and occasionally get kudos. It's a great way to get and pass along information on the pet industry. Most of all—it's fun. Measure that!