Social Cred Scorecard

Here (below) is my response to the “Big Agency Social Cred Scorecard” that Peter Himler has started to develop over at The Flack, his thoughtful blog about digital PR. In it, Peter lists some social media stats (number of followers on Twitter, for example) for people in digital leadership positions at some of the big PR firms, Ketchum included.

On a related note, I notice that Peter doesn’t count contributions to agency blogs, such as this one, as a meaningful part of our social graphs. Perhaps he might be persuaded to include them in round two.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I would have simply posted my response in the comment box below Peter’s blog entry, but it was rejected by the Blogger platform for being too long. Instead, I will comment there with a bitly link back to this post here on the Ketchum Blog.

In any case, I encourage you to take a look at Peter’s post, read my reply, and weigh in with your perspective.

MY RESPONSE:

Hey Peter,

I get the meme, and like you, I feel the weight of the emphasis so many around us place on quantity — whether that’s the number of site visits, fans, friends, followers, tweets, or even impressions or column inches, among other data points. Quantitative measures are no doubt a part of the equation – and an important part, at that. (I’m not sure how my 879 Facebook friends factor in, but FWIW, you can feel free to add them to my scorecard.) The beauty of the digital era is that we have access to just about any data point we could possibly want. It’s a quant jock’s paradise!

But don’t you agree that a critical part of our job, as arguably evolved digital citizens and counselors, is to help our clients and colleagues look beyond the numbers and focus more on the QUALITY of the thinking (actual thought leadership), the richness of the engagement, and the value that it generates for our organizations and causes?

As you point out, it’s way too easy to pump numbers. Moreover, even a lazy thinker can pose as a player and engage in superficial self-promotion by merely linking to and/or reposting what others are saying.

Unfortunately, the result is that too much of the social web has devolved into an echo chamber clogged with too many self-styled “gurus” quoting, reposting and linking to each other rather than offering new ideas that propel the conversation forward in a meaningful way.

Here’s an ironic twist: even within the context of your post and our collective comments, we’ve essentially got a bunch of us talking to each other about ourselves and how much we’re talking (or not). It’s the mirror looking back at the mirror. If that’s engagement, I think we have to admit that it’s also a bit of navel gazing.

Again, numbers are a part of the story. But, to my mind, the meatier matters – which are, albeit, more difficult to measure — include strategy, insight, ideas, innovation, message, creativity, and depth of relationships.

So I say it’s time for a time out on the numbers obsession. If we can’t keep the focus on quality over quantity, I don’t know how we’ll ever help our clients and colleagues to do the same.

Who’s with me? Can I get a head count? 🙂

Jonathan is a Partner and the Global Director of Ketchum Digital. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughters, and is into the social web, progressive politics, cycling, scuba diving and travel. Connect with him on Twitter — @jonathankopp — or just about any other social network.