[Dumping some thoughts in lieu of real hard thinking. ]
At #e2conf, you made the point that you need all of STATISTICS + STORIES + SURVEYS to get the full picture. Fully Agree and think it's a great insight.
IN this session, I believe we are looking at just the statistics : the numbers than can be drawn from watching user behavior. What can we infer from what they've done.
As a community manager, you want to know :
- are people getting value out of the community?
- are there things that are missing; things I should be doing (on and off-line)
- is my community growing or dying (it's always one or the other). If dying, why?
- Has my community run it's course (the topic has been addressed and there is not much more need for discussion).
The first two are important at the start and in the early ramp-up.
The last two are important once the community is somewhat established, though 1&2 are still important to give you the insights you need for 3&4.
For 1, you can't directly measure the value people are getting. You know that you'll have the 1-9-90 rule of activity, and though you can monitor what people are looking at (the 9 and 90 groups : they may not contribute, but at least they are reading) but are they getting value out of it? Actions like tagging, downloading, liking, rating, are signs that people are getting value. Maybe not the best, but not sure how to do better.
Underscoring all of these is a measure of the growth of new content. Growing content is not a sign of success, but lack of growth is a sign of dead and dying. How much is new content viewed by what percent of the community, and how quickly after it is posted.
Lenght of discussion threads is a good indicator that there is a discussion occuring. If people are just dumping document and bookmarks but no one is talking, what's the sense.
All for now.