The social media measurement problem

Whether you are a blogger, tweeter or marketing person, there is a need to measure and analyze your audience.  Listen to what Todd Murphy of Universal Information Services in Omaha told my Online Media students.

Murphy's approach can be boiled down to his phrase: "Same rules, new tools."  This places him at the other end of the continuum with speakers, such us Tom Martin, who proclaim: "Forget everything!" 

Somewhere in between these positions would be to learn from history of "new" media and make new applications of theory and knowledge.  To be fair, Murphy and Martin agree that "it's too early," and "the playbook... hasn't been written yet."

For example, movie attendance peaked in the United States somewhere about 1940, according to the classic book Milestones in Mass Communication Research.  Obviously, the diffusion of radio, television, magazines and eventually the Internet have changed the way we watch, but this did not kill the movie industry.

So, be careful -- as Murphy warns -- of self-proclaimed new media gurus.  It is enough to understand that fundamentals will carry us well into the next decade.  Bright writing, solid production, engaging story-telling and authentic communication always have been and will continue to be the keys to sustaining your brand.