Saturday, October 20, 2007

Neutral...not a word I associate with Social Media

I'm sitting in the last round table discussion, and Katie Paine just said something interesting:

Most of the comments made on the Internet are neutral. If you're like me, you would assume that most comments are either one way or another. Neutrality doesn't come to mind when I think about Social Media.

I can take this two ways:
1. Wow, it's really nice that people don't go off the deep-end every time they say something on a blog, Web site, profile or whatever.
2. Is this a warning sign that we can't get the real views from people? Are the polar opposite views true, "un-skewed" views? Neutrality is not something we'd want if we're trying to get opinions or suggestions for a company.

Just some thoughts. Take 'em or leave 'em.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'd like to hear _why_ comments are neutral.

Myself, I would guess it is because social media involves so many simply social exchanges, rather than informational exchanges. Social media is just more, well, social. So you probably get a lot of "social noise" conversation that is not meant to exchange information, but instead is more like idle conversation; important from a social interaction context, but not related to an argument or concrete discussion of a product, event, or organization.

Most traditional media articles are meant to impart information or tell a story or make a point. So pos-neg-neutral is a valuable way to analyze them.

If, on the other hand, social media is more about validation, or just deriving pleasure from conversation with another human, then perhaps the pos-neg-neutral analysis is missing the point. I'd like to see a breakdown of the goals or purposes of social media exchanges. Depending on what that reveals, maybe a more informative analysis would involve concepts like "I'm OK, You're OK" or "Just Checking In" or "Acknowledgment of another's validity."

-- Bill Paarlberg, The Measurement Standard (