Engagement as a Universal Constant

Altitude Branding - Engagement As A Universal ConstantHow familiar are statements like these?

“Gee I really wish such-and-such would just engage.”
“Be engaged in order to be successful in social media.”
“Social media is different than marketing because it’s about engagement.”
“We really want to engage our community.”

All fair statements, through their own lenses.

But the trick is that the definition of engagement is in the eye of the beholder. What you perceive as an “engaged” customer might not suit their definition at all. And the limited online periscope through which you view someone’s behavior (and consequently judge it) may not be all-encompassing.

When we’re asking for engagement, I think we’re applying a catch-all term, when we’re typically searching for one or all of the above:

  • interaction with unselfish intent
  • conversation
  • acknowledgement that we’ve been heard
  • responsiveness
  • unique contributions
  • personalized connection

And there are probably more. Have you thought about this?

Let’s take Twitter as the first example.

Does engagement imply responding sometimes? All the time? As much as you can handle, without discrimination? I might appear engaged to you on Twitter because I reply such-and-such percent of the time. But if you’re one of the replies I don’t see, I’m not engaged in your eyes, now am I? You feel left out, regardless of my batting average, because those great stats don’t include you personally. So depending on where you sit, your perception of how “engaged” I am will change.

(And of course this begs the question of whether or not “engagement” should be a requisite goal for anyone participating in social media, but we’ll save that argument for another post.)

Does engagement require universal acceptance and prioritization of every conversation? Is it an egalitarian approach whereby, in order to be christened one of  The Engaged, an individual or company must interact with every person who wishes to interact with them, or can engagement be something that’s accepted within filters for relevance, interest, and affinity?

Is trying ever enough to demonstrate intent, or do you have to hit it out of the park every time, talk to everyone, regardless of the value of the conversation in order to be considered “engaged”?

If I comment on Bob’s blog post, I’m engaged by his standards, but if I don’t comment on yours, I’m not. So how would you define me? What if Suzie replies to one commenter on the blog, but not another? What if they don’t allow comments on the blog at all, but communicate through other means?

How about community efforts?

If you come to my community, consume content, read, learn, and share it but never say a word, are you engaged? As a company, are you engaged with your customers simply because you’re communicating to them? Do you have to be conversational or reciprocal in order to be considered “engaged”?

And for all of the above, is online, visible evidence the only proof of said engagement? Who is the judge and jury of engagement? In your context, who *should* it be?

I’ve asked lots of questions here, because I’m concerned about our universal adoption of some terms to mean the same thing in every context, and our tendency as a mob to openly label and critique those who don’t do things according to our standard. We do this with other words, too.

What I care about: Do the people with mutual impact potential feel like I’m accessible somehow? Like they can reach out and have a reasonable shot at a conscientious reply? To me, an engaged person isn’t always the one that openly and actively fights every drop of the waterfall. Intent matters, but how it manifests might be different for everyone.

So I’ve given you merely a bunch of the questions I ask myself, and I’d like to invite you to noodle them through with me. As always, I believe there are no singular answers, but I’m hopeful that asking the right questions can help us each find a bit more perspective.

What do you think?

  • http://veryofficialblog.com Shannon Paul

    Group-speak ruins so much. I understand why we do it — to use a sort of communication short hand when communicating with others of a like mind, but an over-reliance on these types of words limits our thinking, our ability to communicate beyond the echo chamber, but also within it. It’s ironic at these little devices we create to shortcut real communication ultimately end up subverting it altogether.

    I appreciate what you’re doing here, because questioning the meaning behind these types of words helps us unpack the concepts the word carries for each of us, and I believe those are the words that belong in strategies and plans — not the overarching substitute.

    In the case of engagement, many people need to recognize that this means something different to different types of people — if you’re thinking about subgroups or subgenres this gets even more nuanced. When you open it up to different cultures, the ideas that comprise the single word get blown apart.

    Sorry to ramble, but I appreciate this kind of thinking – but I think you already know that about me : )
    .-= Shannon Paul´s last blog ..What Most Online Metrics Won’t Show You =-.

    • Amber Naslund

      But part of what you hit on is at the root of the issue: we use these words when communicating with “like minds”, assuming they mean what we do when we use them.

      The larger problem of culture change and adoption of things like social media is that we’re doing a crappy job of translating what we MEAN when we say these things. I want to see statements like “We want to engage our customers, which means that we want them to have more extensive and active conversations with us through online channels around content that we create or share.”

      THAT is specific (though you could argue with me about then, in turn, defining “extensive” and “active”, but you get my point).

      And I suppose in a way what I’m really railing against is the judgment in which we stand of others when we’re tossing around our almighty definitions of these words. But I suppose that’s a soapbox issue of mine overall.

      • http://veryofficialblog.com Shannon Paul

        I don’t think we disagree one bit. Using words like this as a sort of short hand does not help communication — even when people have like minds. This short hand, that evolves out of a desire to relate to one another, ultimately undoes our ability to communicate effectively with one another.

        The example you provided above is a good one — a statement like that about engagement would likely get a lot of heads nodding at a conference, but what does it ultimately mean? Who knows.

        I’m a little perplexed at the judgment issue. Are you saying that if we all realize that these words mean different things to different people and different companies, maybe some would stop holding others accountable for living up to his/her unexpressed definition of the word? Like, if you don’t reply to people on Twitter, you’re not engaging…? That sort of thing?
        .-= Shannon Paul´s last blog ..What Most Online Metrics Won’t Show You =-.

  • http://veryofficialblog.com Shannon Paul

    Group-speak ruins so much. I understand why we do it — to use a sort of communication short hand when communicating with others of a like mind, but an over-reliance on these types of words limits our thinking, our ability to communicate beyond the echo chamber, but also within it. It’s ironic at these little devices we create to shortcut real communication ultimately end up subverting it altogether.

    I appreciate what you’re doing here, because questioning the meaning behind these types of words helps us unpack the concepts the word carries for each of us, and I believe those are the words that belong in strategies and plans — not the overarching substitute.

    In the case of engagement, many people need to recognize that this means something different to different types of people — if you’re thinking about subgroups or subgenres this gets even more nuanced. When you open it up to different cultures, the ideas that comprise the single word get blown apart.

    Sorry to ramble, but I appreciate this kind of thinking – but I think you already know that about me : )
    .-= Shannon Paul´s last blog ..What Most Online Metrics Won’t Show You =-.

    • Amber Naslund

      But part of what you hit on is at the root of the issue: we use these words when communicating with “like minds”, assuming they mean what we do when we use them.

      The larger problem of culture change and adoption of things like social media is that we’re doing a crappy job of translating what we MEAN when we say these things. I want to see statements like “We want to engage our customers, which means that we want them to have more extensive and active conversations with us through online channels around content that we create or share.”

      THAT is specific (though you could argue with me about then, in turn, defining “extensive” and “active”, but you get my point).

      And I suppose in a way what I’m really railing against is the judgment in which we stand of others when we’re tossing around our almighty definitions of these words. But I suppose that’s a soapbox issue of mine overall.

      • http://veryofficialblog.com Shannon Paul

        I don’t think we disagree one bit. Using words like this as a sort of short hand does not help communication — even when people have like minds. This short hand, that evolves out of a desire to relate to one another, ultimately undoes our ability to communicate effectively with one another.

        The example you provided above is a good one — a statement like that about engagement would likely get a lot of heads nodding at a conference, but what does it ultimately mean? Who knows.

        I’m a little perplexed at the judgment issue. Are you saying that if we all realize that these words mean different things to different people and different companies, maybe some would stop holding others accountable for living up to his/her unexpressed definition of the word? Like, if you don’t reply to people on Twitter, you’re not engaging…? That sort of thing?
        .-= Shannon Paul´s last blog ..What Most Online Metrics Won’t Show You =-.

  • http://davidebenjamin.com/ David Benjamin

    I was going to share much of what Shannon mentioned in her comments. Perspective is a commonly forgotten view for most things. Our experiences and education all vary thus our perspectives must also vary.

    You do a wonderful job explaining ‘engagement’ and ask several very good questions. I find myself questioning more and more each day. It’s the feedback that others share which interests me the most.

    I’m a student of human behavior, always observing. The Internet has changed dramatically how we’re able to observe people whether that’s good or bad is debatable.
    .-= David Benjamin´s last blog ..How Often Do You Re-evaluate Your Plan? =-.

    • Amber Naslund

      I think at its essence, it’s a good thing. It’s how people choose to wield that power that gets into scary territory. As usual, it’s not the ability or the mechanism, but the humans behind it that leave the most room for triumph or disaster.

  • http://davidebenjamin.com/ David Benjamin

    I was going to share much of what Shannon mentioned in her comments. Perspective is a commonly forgotten view for most things. Our experiences and education all vary thus our perspectives must also vary.

    You do a wonderful job explaining ‘engagement’ and ask several very good questions. I find myself questioning more and more each day. It’s the feedback that others share which interests me the most.

    I’m a student of human behavior, always observing. The Internet has changed dramatically how we’re able to observe people whether that’s good or bad is debatable.
    .-= David Benjamin´s last blog ..How Often Do You Re-evaluate Your Plan? =-.

    • Amber Naslund

      I think at its essence, it’s a good thing. It’s how people choose to wield that power that gets into scary territory. As usual, it’s not the ability or the mechanism, but the humans behind it that leave the most room for triumph or disaster.

  • http://www.realmendriveminivans.com PJ Mullen

    I struggle with this and I’m just a simple dad blogger. I love comments, but not all of my posts are set up to provide a call to action that would prompt a reader to do so. And when someone does leave a comment, especially a new reader, I feel the need to reciprocate. The problem comes into play when I don’t have anything of any value to say on their blogs. If they have teens and I have a two year old what can I possible say that would relate to their situation.

    Because of this I think it is unrealistic to expect a company to interact or engage with every single person that communicates with them through a social media channel. If I’m having a problem with that company or their service, then I would expect a response, but if I’m leaving a “Great dinner at your place” comment on a restaurants/chefs blog, then I personally wouldn’t expect anything.
    .-= PJ Mullen´s last blog ..I’m the Chicken King! =-.

    • Amber Naslund

      And therein lies the rub. :) Our individual expectations and standards rarely translate neatly into an accepted whole. That’s part of the problem with “standard” definitions of things, and the metrics to go along side. My feeling is that standards can provide guiderails, but that we have to offer better education about how to take the standards as a starting point, and then REFINE them and analyze, morph, change, and adapt them to suit our individual circumstances.

      Standards are too often used as a validation technique – ah yes, I met the standard so I can check that off and move on. I’m trying to push us to be more critical than that.

  • http://www.realmendriveminivans.com PJ Mullen

    I struggle with this and I’m just a simple dad blogger. I love comments, but not all of my posts are set up to provide a call to action that would prompt a reader to do so. And when someone does leave a comment, especially a new reader, I feel the need to reciprocate. The problem comes into play when I don’t have anything of any value to say on their blogs. If they have teens and I have a two year old what can I possible say that would relate to their situation.

    Because of this I think it is unrealistic to expect a company to interact or engage with every single person that communicates with them through a social media channel. If I’m having a problem with that company or their service, then I would expect a response, but if I’m leaving a “Great dinner at your place” comment on a restaurants/chefs blog, then I personally wouldn’t expect anything.
    .-= PJ Mullen´s last blog ..I’m the Chicken King! =-.

    • Amber Naslund

      And therein lies the rub. :) Our individual expectations and standards rarely translate neatly into an accepted whole. That’s part of the problem with “standard” definitions of things, and the metrics to go along side. My feeling is that standards can provide guiderails, but that we have to offer better education about how to take the standards as a starting point, and then REFINE them and analyze, morph, change, and adapt them to suit our individual circumstances.

      Standards are too often used as a validation technique – ah yes, I met the standard so I can check that off and move on. I’m trying to push us to be more critical than that.

  • http://borasky-research.net M. Edward (Ed) Borasky

    ‘(And of course this begs the question of whether or not “engagement” should be a requisite goal for anyone participating in social media, but we’ll save that argument for another post.)’

    Ah, but that’s what I’m hearing from some of the big names in the analytics crowd. See, for example, http://www.slideshare.net/jeremiah_owyang/altimeter-report-social-marketing-analytics

    Engagement isn’t the only goal / metric, but it is one that’s apparently highly prized.
    .-= M. Edward (Ed) Borasky´s last blog ..Chirp – A Developer’s Perspective – Part 2 =-.

    • Amber Naslund

      Just because “the big names” are talking about it doesn’t mean they’ve answered it, nor that they’ve fully established the case for it being something that’s a de facto part of social media for evermore.

      And highly prized can sometimes be dictated by group/mass mentality, which can be a good thing or not. If it waters down definitions to the lowest common denominator in all circumstances, I’m not in favor of that.

  • http://borasky-research.net M. Edward (Ed) Borasky

    ‘(And of course this begs the question of whether or not “engagement” should be a requisite goal for anyone participating in social media, but we’ll save that argument for another post.)’

    Ah, but that’s what I’m hearing from some of the big names in the analytics crowd. See, for example, http://www.slideshare.net/jeremiah_owyang/altimeter-report-social-marketing-analytics

    Engagement isn’t the only goal / metric, but it is one that’s apparently highly prized.
    .-= M. Edward (Ed) Borasky´s last blog ..Chirp – A Developer’s Perspective – Part 2 =-.

    • Amber Naslund

      Just because “the big names” are talking about it doesn’t mean they’ve answered it, nor that they’ve fully established the case for it being something that’s a de facto part of social media for evermore.

      And highly prized can sometimes be dictated by group/mass mentality, which can be a good thing or not. If it waters down definitions to the lowest common denominator in all circumstances, I’m not in favor of that.

  • Michael Pace

    Very “engaging” post :) Interesting, because I was engaged (by my standards) or in other words interested in reading more and intrigued with your thought process about the subject. I never thought of “Engagement” that way, but you are definitely right, it’s in the eye of the beholder. It also reminds you that impact and intention, very frequently, are not always on the same page.

    So for me (and I guess therefore for you), I am engaged and would like to continue reading & hearing your thoughts. You can consider my receipt of your RSS feed as your metric of engagement from me. (wouldnt it be cool if everyone could tell you their level and reason for engagement?)

    • Amber Naslund

      Everyone CAN tell us. Few do, and in some senses it’s because we have a hard time articulating the intangible. Why do I follow Justin Kownacki’s work religiously? I could list out a bunch of stuff, but all in all those are only indicators. The collection of ALL of those things and their specific and unique alchemy is what makes Justin Justin. It’d be awfully hard for someone to replicate that elsewhere.

      So yep, I think there’s a lot more of a case for why standards are awfully hard to arrive at vs. why we so desperately need them .But then again, I’m a heretic that way.

  • Michael Pace

    Very “engaging” post :) Interesting, because I was engaged (by my standards) or in other words interested in reading more and intrigued with your thought process about the subject. I never thought of “Engagement” that way, but you are definitely right, it’s in the eye of the beholder. It also reminds you that impact and intention, very frequently, are not always on the same page.

    So for me (and I guess therefore for you), I am engaged and would like to continue reading & hearing your thoughts. You can consider my receipt of your RSS feed as your metric of engagement from me. (wouldnt it be cool if everyone could tell you their level and reason for engagement?)

    • Amber Naslund

      Everyone CAN tell us. Few do, and in some senses it’s because we have a hard time articulating the intangible. Why do I follow Justin Kownacki’s work religiously? I could list out a bunch of stuff, but all in all those are only indicators. The collection of ALL of those things and their specific and unique alchemy is what makes Justin Justin. It’d be awfully hard for someone to replicate that elsewhere.

      So yep, I think there’s a lot more of a case for why standards are awfully hard to arrive at vs. why we so desperately need them .But then again, I’m a heretic that way.

  • Michael Pace

    Forgot to ask one question in previous post:

    Was the title “Engagement as a Universal Constant” a coded, mysterious Lost reference?

    I am very “engaged” there :)

    • Amber Naslund

      Nope. Don’t watch it. :)

  • Michael Pace

    Forgot to ask one question in previous post:

    Was the title “Engagement as a Universal Constant” a coded, mysterious Lost reference?

    I am very “engaged” there :)

    • Amber Naslund

      Nope. Don’t watch it. :)

  • http://danperezfilms.wordpress.com/ Dan Perez

    Amber,
    I’ve been a fan of yours since I first came across your blog. Being relatively new to daily social media interaction, I’ve learned that engagement is something often “appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (or never appears at all!). I’ve had instances of interaction on twitter with people all over the world and sometimes I get no response at all. You can’t expect a response all the time.

    I reply to & RT your posts (and @jaybaer & @ sethsimonds, etc) often without any response but I don’t take it personally (really!) because I’m ultimately receiving what I’m after: good solid thought-provoking content. Couple that with my intentions of “engaging” the locals here in South Florida and building relationships that will hopefully be mutually beneficial and I’ll be a happy camper on the social media plain.

    I think if your “engagement” objectives are too broad, you might feel like a small fish in a big ocean but if you clearly define what you want to get out of social media “you just might find you get what you need.”

    PS – Keep it SASSY!
    .-= Dan Perez´s last blog ..John Travolta presents award for “Best Florida Film” to Dan Perez =-.

    • Amber Naslund

      “if you clearly define what you want to get out of social media “you just might find you get what you need”.

      That’s just it. I’m finding that when you ask some folks what they want to get out of social media, they answer “engagement” and stop there, without necessarily backfilling with what engagement means in their context. Engagement isn’t as concrete as, say, sales. Or referrals. Or reduced customer service resolution time.

      That’s why I struggle with “Engagement” as part of a stated goal. You’d better be able to tell me what engagement looks like to you, otherwise you’re going to have a hard time identifying it when it happens, or knowing when you’ve missed the mark.

      • http://danperezfilms.wordpress.com/ Dan Perez

        Amber,
        I’ll add that, depending on your objectives, social media “engagement” is only a first step in a relationship building process. My main focus is on the locals (creatives/PR companies/bloggers,filmmakers, etc) and engagement is great to break the ice but that needs to be followed up with face-to-face contact if a relationship (business or personal) is your goal. I’ve started attending the Social Media Club here in South Florida and have now taken my initial online “engagements” a step further.

        Relationship building, with the intention of developing business opportunities, networking with other creatives, promoting my brand/services, expanding my local resources and/or being a resource to others in my own backyard has always been my main goal since day one. When I’m able to connect with someone like you or @unmarketing, that’s gravy – a possible resource outside of my focus area (South Florida) that may one day develop into a business opportunity or friendship.

        So if you’re goal is “engagement”, it’s akin to saying “I want to be a better person in 2010″. Engagement should be only a first step in your social media promotion plan not the goal. . .nuff said.

        Looking forward to future posts!
        .-= Dan Perez´s last blog ..John Travolta presents award for “Best Florida Film” to Dan Perez =-.

  • http://danperezfilms.wordpress.com/ Dan Perez

    Amber,
    I’ve been a fan of yours since I first came across your blog. Being relatively new to daily social media interaction, I’ve learned that engagement is something often “appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (or never appears at all!). I’ve had instances of interaction on twitter with people all over the world and sometimes I get no response at all. You can’t expect a response all the time.

    I reply to & RT your posts (and @jaybaer & @ sethsimonds, etc) often without any response but I don’t take it personally (really!) because I’m ultimately receiving what I’m after: good solid thought-provoking content. Couple that with my intentions of “engaging” the locals here in South Florida and building relationships that will hopefully be mutually beneficial and I’ll be a happy camper on the social media plain.

    I think if your “engagement” objectives are too broad, you might feel like a small fish in a big ocean but if you clearly define what you want to get out of social media “you just might find you get what you need.”

    PS – Keep it SASSY!
    .-= Dan Perez´s last blog ..John Travolta presents award for “Best Florida Film” to Dan Perez =-.

    • Amber Naslund

      “if you clearly define what you want to get out of social media “you just might find you get what you need”.

      That’s just it. I’m finding that when you ask some folks what they want to get out of social media, they answer “engagement” and stop there, without necessarily backfilling with what engagement means in their context. Engagement isn’t as concrete as, say, sales. Or referrals. Or reduced customer service resolution time.

      That’s why I struggle with “Engagement” as part of a stated goal. You’d better be able to tell me what engagement looks like to you, otherwise you’re going to have a hard time identifying it when it happens, or knowing when you’ve missed the mark.

      • http://danperezfilms.wordpress.com/ Dan Perez

        Amber,
        I’ll add that, depending on your objectives, social media “engagement” is only a first step in a relationship building process. My main focus is on the locals (creatives/PR companies/bloggers,filmmakers, etc) and engagement is great to break the ice but that needs to be followed up with face-to-face contact if a relationship (business or personal) is your goal. I’ve started attending the Social Media Club here in South Florida and have now taken my initial online “engagements” a step further.

        Relationship building, with the intention of developing business opportunities, networking with other creatives, promoting my brand/services, expanding my local resources and/or being a resource to others in my own backyard has always been my main goal since day one. When I’m able to connect with someone like you or @unmarketing, that’s gravy – a possible resource outside of my focus area (South Florida) that may one day develop into a business opportunity or friendship.

        So if you’re goal is “engagement”, it’s akin to saying “I want to be a better person in 2010″. Engagement should be only a first step in your social media promotion plan not the goal. . .nuff said.

        Looking forward to future posts!
        .-= Dan Perez´s last blog ..John Travolta presents award for “Best Florida Film” to Dan Perez =-.

  • http://www.WCNGroup.com Michael Newhouse

    Great post as always and perfect timing with Engagement as the “buzz” word of the moment.

    Engagement in our practice and within our direct brands is defining and segmenting our target markets, developing strategies and messaging then using the tactics to obtain the defined strategies. Our engagement rate increases with this process and using the mindset of Social Objects – posts, vids, pics, contest, promotions, polls (via Brian Solis).

    Engagement defined by us – “perception is the Editor of reality”.

    • Amber Naslund

      Interestingly, though, Michael – I still don’t understand what the picture of an “engaged” person is in your eyes. You threw me words like target markets, strategies, messages, tactics, engagement rate, social objects, perception, reality…

      And I still wouldn’t know what an engaged person or customer looks like to you.

      • http://www.wcngroup.com Michael Newhouse

        “Perception is the editor of reality” was taught to me years ago by a Cognitive Behavioral Psychologist. Companies and individuals perception is different for the term Engagement.

        In our eyes Engagement for our brands is defined by the target market we have identified to create content or social objects that inspire, entertain, educate and motivate to share, comment or like.

        We have defined strategies for postings eg. Asking questions, polls, promotions, reviews ect.

        Example: for our clothing line we have 3 different target markets that we retail with each posting different. Depending on the post we can measure the “likes”, responses and click throughs to purchase.

        I agree that the term, Engagement and other generalized marketing descriptions are not well defined and maybe will never be. I have learned this after many years of consulting whereby one of my first questions is always, how do you define success.

        Thanks again for an “Engaging” post.

  • http://www.WCNGroup.com Michael Newhouse

    Great post as always and perfect timing with Engagement as the “buzz” word of the moment.

    Engagement in our practice and within our direct brands is defining and segmenting our target markets, developing strategies and messaging then using the tactics to obtain the defined strategies. Our engagement rate increases with this process and using the mindset of Social Objects – posts, vids, pics, contest, promotions, polls (via Brian Solis).

    Engagement defined by us – “perception is the Editor of reality”.

    • Amber Naslund

      Interestingly, though, Michael – I still don’t understand what the picture of an “engaged” person is in your eyes. You threw me words like target markets, strategies, messages, tactics, engagement rate, social objects, perception, reality…

      And I still wouldn’t know what an engaged person or customer looks like to you.

      • http://www.wcngroup.com Michael Newhouse

        “Perception is the editor of reality” was taught to me years ago by a Cognitive Behavioral Psychologist. Companies and individuals perception is different for the term Engagement.

        In our eyes Engagement for our brands is defined by the target market we have identified to create content or social objects that inspire, entertain, educate and motivate to share, comment or like.

        We have defined strategies for postings eg. Asking questions, polls, promotions, reviews ect.

        Example: for our clothing line we have 3 different target markets that we retail with each posting different. Depending on the post we can measure the “likes”, responses and click throughs to purchase.

        I agree that the term, Engagement and other generalized marketing descriptions are not well defined and maybe will never be. I have learned this after many years of consulting whereby one of my first questions is always, how do you define success.

        Thanks again for an “Engaging” post.

  • Carrie Yutzy

    Thanks for making us think about what we’re really after, Amber.

    What stands out most to me after reading this is the danger of allowing buzzwords to obscure/replace our true intentions. Sometimes it’s easier to use the hot term of the day than to really explain and understand what your goals are. We can miss out on a lot of opportunities and cheat our users out of a lot of value by jumping on the bandwagon without thinking about what best serves us and our audiences.

    Great post!

    • Amber Naslund

      Yep. And that’s what drives me mad. I’m starting a not-so-underground movement with some of my next project that involves clarity in communication and speech so that we’re using the words we mean, and not just the ones that are floating around and sound cool.

  • Carrie Yutzy

    Thanks for making us think about what we’re really after, Amber.

    What stands out most to me after reading this is the danger of allowing buzzwords to obscure/replace our true intentions. Sometimes it’s easier to use the hot term of the day than to really explain and understand what your goals are. We can miss out on a lot of opportunities and cheat our users out of a lot of value by jumping on the bandwagon without thinking about what best serves us and our audiences.

    Great post!

    • Amber Naslund

      Yep. And that’s what drives me mad. I’m starting a not-so-underground movement with some of my next project that involves clarity in communication and speech so that we’re using the words we mean, and not just the ones that are floating around and sound cool.

  • http://jeffhurtblog.com Jeff Hurt

    Amber:

    I’m right there with you on this one. Engagement is a fuzzy term that means so many different things to different people. It’s become ubiquitous in business conversations and a word I wish had more clarity.

    I hear it a lot in the meetings industry as “we want to engage our attendees,” or “what type of presentation engagement tactics will you be using with the audience?”

    So, I struggle along with you on pinpointing exactly what we mean when we talk about engagement. Frankly, the questions you raise, only rasie more questions in mind. Here’s to finding more clarity and answers in the future.
    .-= Jeff Hurt´s last blog ..6 Sponsor Tips For Your Online Audio And Video Content =-.

    • http://borasky-research.net M. Edward (Ed) Borasky

      I think the web analytics community – at least the ones I hang out with, like @erictpeterson, are defining engagement metrics and building them into the tools. Twitalyzer certainly has an “engagement” score, although I think my rating is higher than I really deserve.

      Amber, surely there’s something in Radian6 to define some kind of “engagement score”, isn’t there? I haven’t looked at the tools lately.
      .-= M. Edward (Ed) Borasky´s last blog ..Chirp – A Developer’s Perspective – Part 2 =-.

      • Amber Naslund

        There is, and it’s based on a definition of engagement that looks at conversation and discussion at the core. So engagement is defined by commenting activity, length and depth of comments, number of unique commenters, that sort of thing.

        As a whole, that seems to be one of the more widely adopted notions of what “engagement” looks like, but I’d submit that we as an industry need to keep pushing our definitions of engagement to be broader than just discussion around a post.

        In other words, we probably need to more clearly describe the nature of the engagement we’re seeking, in context, and find ways to measure it accordingly. I don’t think one score, metric, or even a collection of them at this point is going far enough, because they’re still all trying to define the generic term around one set of assumptions, instead of looking at what engagement *means* in different situations and contexts.

        • http://borasky-research.net M. Edward (Ed) Borasky

          Glad to hear it. You *did* know there are now two definitions of “bounce rate” now, didn’t you? ;-)

          Sorry – cheap shot.
          .-= M. Edward (Ed) Borasky´s last blog ..Chirp – A Developer’s Perspective – Part 2 =-.

    • Amber Naslund

      And along with this, I should comment that I don’t think complex metrics and formulas are always the way to define things. Sometimes it’s like porn: you know it when you see it, even if you can’t quantify it.

      Here’s my challenge to you, Jeff: don’t wait for more clarity. Create it. Because ultimately, the only definition that matters is the one that’s relevant to you, in your business, in your situation, in a way that creates impact and makes sense.

      Keep asking the questions. Drill down to the roots. Use the 5 whys technique: once you’ve answered a question, ask why of each response until you’re down to the essence. THAT is what you need to focus on. It’s not a perfect method, but it’s a start.

  • http://jeffhurtblog.com Jeff Hurt

    Amber:

    I’m right there with you on this one. Engagement is a fuzzy term that means so many different things to different people. It’s become ubiquitous in business conversations and a word I wish had more clarity.

    I hear it a lot in the meetings industry as “we want to engage our attendees,” or “what type of presentation engagement tactics will you be using with the audience?”

    So, I struggle along with you on pinpointing exactly what we mean when we talk about engagement. Frankly, the questions you raise, only rasie more questions in mind. Here’s to finding more clarity and answers in the future.
    .-= Jeff Hurt´s last blog ..6 Sponsor Tips For Your Online Audio And Video Content =-.

    • http://borasky-research.net M. Edward (Ed) Borasky

      I think the web analytics community – at least the ones I hang out with, like @erictpeterson, are defining engagement metrics and building them into the tools. Twitalyzer certainly has an “engagement” score, although I think my rating is higher than I really deserve.

      Amber, surely there’s something in Radian6 to define some kind of “engagement score”, isn’t there? I haven’t looked at the tools lately.
      .-= M. Edward (Ed) Borasky´s last blog ..Chirp – A Developer’s Perspective – Part 2 =-.

      • Amber Naslund

        There is, and it’s based on a definition of engagement that looks at conversation and discussion at the core. So engagement is defined by commenting activity, length and depth of comments, number of unique commenters, that sort of thing.

        As a whole, that seems to be one of the more widely adopted notions of what “engagement” looks like, but I’d submit that we as an industry need to keep pushing our definitions of engagement to be broader than just discussion around a post.

        In other words, we probably need to more clearly describe the nature of the engagement we’re seeking, in context, and find ways to measure it accordingly. I don’t think one score, metric, or even a collection of them at this point is going far enough, because they’re still all trying to define the generic term around one set of assumptions, instead of looking at what engagement *means* in different situations and contexts.

        • http://borasky-research.net M. Edward (Ed) Borasky

          Glad to hear it. You *did* know there are now two definitions of “bounce rate” now, didn’t you? ;-)

          Sorry – cheap shot.
          .-= M. Edward (Ed) Borasky´s last blog ..Chirp – A Developer’s Perspective – Part 2 =-.

    • Amber Naslund

      And along with this, I should comment that I don’t think complex metrics and formulas are always the way to define things. Sometimes it’s like porn: you know it when you see it, even if you can’t quantify it.

      Here’s my challenge to you, Jeff: don’t wait for more clarity. Create it. Because ultimately, the only definition that matters is the one that’s relevant to you, in your business, in your situation, in a way that creates impact and makes sense.

      Keep asking the questions. Drill down to the roots. Use the 5 whys technique: once you’ve answered a question, ask why of each response until you’re down to the essence. THAT is what you need to focus on. It’s not a perfect method, but it’s a start.

  • http://smbirdbrain.blogspot.com Robyn McIntyre

    I love the idea of reciprocal engagement.

    As a former tech writer/editor, it’s always interested me how most people will filter content and statements through their own unarticulated perceptions. Especially if one is looking to quantify a successful ROI on soft returns like “sentiment” or “engagement,” it helps to start out by defining what those terms will mean in the context of what you’re doing. A very thoughtful examination of the idea that what you see is not necessarily what you get, but only what you perceive you’re getting.
    .-= Robyn McIntyre´s last blog ..Not Just Another Post on Ning Alternatives for Your Small Nonprofit =-.

  • http://smbirdbrain.blogspot.com Robyn McIntyre

    I love the idea of reciprocal engagement.

    As a former tech writer/editor, it’s always interested me how most people will filter content and statements through their own unarticulated perceptions. Especially if one is looking to quantify a successful ROI on soft returns like “sentiment” or “engagement,” it helps to start out by defining what those terms will mean in the context of what you’re doing. A very thoughtful examination of the idea that what you see is not necessarily what you get, but only what you perceive you’re getting.
    .-= Robyn McIntyre´s last blog ..Not Just Another Post on Ning Alternatives for Your Small Nonprofit =-.

  • http://www.wvpmc.com Wendy Van Parys

    You can please some of the people all of the time. You can please all of the people some of the time. But you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Replace “please” with “engage” and I think we’re getting at the core of the problem – a bar of perfection that gets raised ever higher. At the end of the day, what matters is whether what we do moves the needle and makes a difference. In my humble opinion you do that on an ongoing basis, Amber. Thank you.
    @wvpmc

  • http://www.wvpmc.com Wendy Van Parys

    You can please some of the people all of the time. You can please all of the people some of the time. But you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Replace “please” with “engage” and I think we’re getting at the core of the problem – a bar of perfection that gets raised ever higher. At the end of the day, what matters is whether what we do moves the needle and makes a difference. In my humble opinion you do that on an ongoing basis, Amber. Thank you.
    @wvpmc

  • http://correlationist.wordpress.com Prince

    Amber – thanks for writing an engaging enough post for me to engage with you again (and not that you should care).

    Maybe I am not smart enough, or maybe our wavelengths dont match, but I may have taken your lack of engagement with me (on twitter) too personally. I know I should not have, but I did. When “fans” respond to a question you post on twitter, they may wrongly want an acknowledgment. From the fan’s pov, the objective is to get “acknowledged” in some fashion, any fashion. When the big names always evoke a response/engagement, it makes us lesser mortals feel even less relevant (than we already are).

    I wonder about how you balance your personal brand under the Radian6 umbrella, and if that has ever prompted you to take (or not take) a particular course of action?

    Cheers,
    Prince
    .-= Prince´s last blog ..Are you suffering from the Boiling Frog syndrome? =-.

    • Amber Naslund

      Prince, correct me if I’m wrong, but we’ve talked several times on Twitter. So what you’re essentially saying to me is that the times I don’t respond to you somehow trump the times that do. I don’t necessarily appreciate the implication that I shouldn’t care, because if it’s not evidenced enough by how much I try my best to respond and connect with everyone possible, I don’t know how else to fix that.

      There are few people in my stream that I can possibly respond to all the time, every time. Part of the choice I’ve made in the way I use Twitter is that I elect to keep the stream wide, and open to include as many people as possible so that I maintain lots of potential connections. The downside of that is that sometimes, I can’t see every reply (and sometimes Twitter decides for me, because they simply won’t feed all of my replies through to my Twitter client because of API limitations).

      It has nothing to do with my presence at Radian6 or not, though I imagine that during business hours I prioritize engagement that has something directly to do with my job or my business.

      I think you’re falsely inflating the value of being responded to by someone you perceive as a “big name” instead of focusing on the quality of the interactions when they occur. You’ve called me out specifically on Twitter many times because you thought I wasn’t paying enough attention to you, and every time I’ve responded by saying that I was sorry if I missed a comment, but that I can’t possibly respond to everything that comes my way.

      It has nothing to do with you being smart, or me trying to exclude anyone. If you put that much stock in a single tweet that I do or don’t send your way, I’d argue that you’re far too heavily focused on the wrong things at too micro a level.

      • http://correlationist.wordpress.com Prince

        Oh Boy…

        My intention is not to call you out, but the only time I have elicited any response from you on Twitter (which has been once) is when I jokingly said you did not respond to me. If the only way to get a response is to be confrontational, I’d rather
        stay out of that.

        I like how you think, and how you write, and hence, my affinity towards you. I like you as an individual, and would love the chance to interact with you more, and I hope I have not been permanently blacklisted from your list :)

        Cheers,
        Prince
        .-= Prince´s last blog ..Are you suffering from the Boiling Frog syndrome? =-.

  • http://correlationist.wordpress.com Prince

    Amber – thanks for writing an engaging enough post for me to engage with you again (and not that you should care).

    Maybe I am not smart enough, or maybe our wavelengths dont match, but I may have taken your lack of engagement with me (on twitter) too personally. I know I should not have, but I did. When “fans” respond to a question you post on twitter, they may wrongly want an acknowledgment. From the fan’s pov, the objective is to get “acknowledged” in some fashion, any fashion. When the big names always evoke a response/engagement, it makes us lesser mortals feel even less relevant (than we already are).

    I wonder about how you balance your personal brand under the Radian6 umbrella, and if that has ever prompted you to take (or not take) a particular course of action?

    Cheers,
    Prince
    .-= Prince´s last blog ..Are you suffering from the Boiling Frog syndrome? =-.

    • Amber Naslund

      Prince, correct me if I’m wrong, but we’ve talked several times on Twitter. So what you’re essentially saying to me is that the times I don’t respond to you somehow trump the times that do. I don’t necessarily appreciate the implication that I shouldn’t care, because if it’s not evidenced enough by how much I try my best to respond and connect with everyone possible, I don’t know how else to fix that.

      There are few people in my stream that I can possibly respond to all the time, every time. Part of the choice I’ve made in the way I use Twitter is that I elect to keep the stream wide, and open to include as many people as possible so that I maintain lots of potential connections. The downside of that is that sometimes, I can’t see every reply (and sometimes Twitter decides for me, because they simply won’t feed all of my replies through to my Twitter client because of API limitations).

      It has nothing to do with my presence at Radian6 or not, though I imagine that during business hours I prioritize engagement that has something directly to do with my job or my business.

      I think you’re falsely inflating the value of being responded to by someone you perceive as a “big name” instead of focusing on the quality of the interactions when they occur. You’ve called me out specifically on Twitter many times because you thought I wasn’t paying enough attention to you, and every time I’ve responded by saying that I was sorry if I missed a comment, but that I can’t possibly respond to everything that comes my way.

      It has nothing to do with you being smart, or me trying to exclude anyone. If you put that much stock in a single tweet that I do or don’t send your way, I’d argue that you’re far too heavily focused on the wrong things at too micro a level.

      • http://correlationist.wordpress.com Prince

        Oh Boy…

        My intention is not to call you out, but the only time I have elicited any response from you on Twitter (which has been once) is when I jokingly said you did not respond to me. If the only way to get a response is to be confrontational, I’d rather
        stay out of that.

        I like how you think, and how you write, and hence, my affinity towards you. I like you as an individual, and would love the chance to interact with you more, and I hope I have not been permanently blacklisted from your list :)

        Cheers,
        Prince
        .-= Prince´s last blog ..Are you suffering from the Boiling Frog syndrome? =-.

  • http://www.rebirthofpr.com Jeremy Fischer

    Amber,

    As the guy who spawned an entire post from you when I made a comment about the catch all “relationships”, I will not go there again. Mainly because the deeper I have gotten into pursuing social media careers, the more I have seen the error of my ways.

    I think the right direction is those who have mentioned defining objectives with regards to social media. And you are correct, too many people define a social media goal as “engagement”. But what kind? How deep of an engagement do you want to create?

    The interesting thought I am having now is with the word “connect”. I hear that word a lot as well, and my feelings are that is nothing more than a jumping off point.

    Frankly, I am starting to develop a flow chart in my head. Use begin with social media to “connect” with people. That is very superficial. So from there, you begin defining who/what you want to connect on a deeper level with, and you “engage” those people/brands, etc. Then from there you take it to another level, and choose the most interesting engagers, stay with them over time, and develop a “relationship”.

    Obviously, not a full developed thought, I know. But just an overall idea I am playing around with in the cavernous space in my mind.
    .-= Jeremy Fischer´s last blog ..One Good Deed (Let’s Take Care of Each Other) =-.

  • http://www.rebirthofpr.com Jeremy Fischer

    Amber,

    As the guy who spawned an entire post from you when I made a comment about the catch all “relationships”, I will not go there again. Mainly because the deeper I have gotten into pursuing social media careers, the more I have seen the error of my ways.

    I think the right direction is those who have mentioned defining objectives with regards to social media. And you are correct, too many people define a social media goal as “engagement”. But what kind? How deep of an engagement do you want to create?

    The interesting thought I am having now is with the word “connect”. I hear that word a lot as well, and my feelings are that is nothing more than a jumping off point.

    Frankly, I am starting to develop a flow chart in my head. Use begin with social media to “connect” with people. That is very superficial. So from there, you begin defining who/what you want to connect on a deeper level with, and you “engage” those people/brands, etc. Then from there you take it to another level, and choose the most interesting engagers, stay with them over time, and develop a “relationship”.

    Obviously, not a full developed thought, I know. But just an overall idea I am playing around with in the cavernous space in my mind.
    .-= Jeremy Fischer´s last blog ..One Good Deed (Let’s Take Care of Each Other) =-.

  • Cure Dream

    In my mind, excessive user engagement is the scourge of “web 2.0″.

    Facebook has excellent user engagement, which means that users don’t click on ads. The engagement numbers are wonderful, but they have an ARPU of 0.50 cents or so.

    On the other hand, you’ve probably typed a domain name incorrectly in your browser and saw some godawful page that, you think, was made by a six-year old working with a rabid monkey.

    You’re wrong. That kind of page is scientifically designed to maximize revenue. All of the content is either (i) an ad, or (ii) a link designed to harvest your intention and send you to a page with better ads. It’s designed to short out your brain and get you to click on something, anything, to get away from it.

    And the owners of that page get maybe 20 cents for your click and put it in the bank.

    That’s a nice business if you can get it, but it’s hard to find good domains today.

    The rest of us need to worry about getting traffic, which means getting links and social media upvotes, so we have to make stuff that looks legit, even looks good, maybe sucks a ~few~ people into a deeper involvement, but losing a few sheep when they click on ads helps keep the server bills paid.

  • Cure Dream

    In my mind, excessive user engagement is the scourge of “web 2.0″.

    Facebook has excellent user engagement, which means that users don’t click on ads. The engagement numbers are wonderful, but they have an ARPU of 0.50 cents or so.

    On the other hand, you’ve probably typed a domain name incorrectly in your browser and saw some godawful page that, you think, was made by a six-year old working with a rabid monkey.

    You’re wrong. That kind of page is scientifically designed to maximize revenue. All of the content is either (i) an ad, or (ii) a link designed to harvest your intention and send you to a page with better ads. It’s designed to short out your brain and get you to click on something, anything, to get away from it.

    And the owners of that page get maybe 20 cents for your click and put it in the bank.

    That’s a nice business if you can get it, but it’s hard to find good domains today.

    The rest of us need to worry about getting traffic, which means getting links and social media upvotes, so we have to make stuff that looks legit, even looks good, maybe sucks a ~few~ people into a deeper involvement, but losing a few sheep when they click on ads helps keep the server bills paid.

  • http://tamsenmcmahon.com Tamsen McMahon

    Out of curiousity the other day (and because my twisted brain works that way) I went and actually looked up the definitions of a lot of the words we toss around. I was fascinated, and delighted to discover definition #4: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/engagement, a pledge; an obligation or agreement.

    I was also bemused to discover there are no fewer than eight definitions…and just on that particular site, and none of them (yet) include the social media-focused one.

    Words have multiple meanings, and while context can tell us an enormous amount about what someone else means when they use a certain word, we can’t forget that much of our understanding comes from inference.

    The danger is that so many of the conversations around “engagement” as a concept end up talking about the action of engagement (and all its various definitions, expectations, and inferences) without focusing on the outcomes we want the engagement to achieve.

    When I sense a discussion starting to go that way, I often ask, “To what purpose?” That tends to get the conversation out of the doldrums of semantics and into the realm of intent.
    .-= Tamsen McMahon´s last blog ..Fighting fire =-.

  • http://tamsenmcmahon.com Tamsen McMahon

    Out of curiousity the other day (and because my twisted brain works that way) I went and actually looked up the definitions of a lot of the words we toss around. I was fascinated, and delighted to discover definition #4: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/engagement, a pledge; an obligation or agreement.

    I was also bemused to discover there are no fewer than eight definitions…and just on that particular site, and none of them (yet) include the social media-focused one.

    Words have multiple meanings, and while context can tell us an enormous amount about what someone else means when they use a certain word, we can’t forget that much of our understanding comes from inference.

    The danger is that so many of the conversations around “engagement” as a concept end up talking about the action of engagement (and all its various definitions, expectations, and inferences) without focusing on the outcomes we want the engagement to achieve.

    When I sense a discussion starting to go that way, I often ask, “To what purpose?” That tends to get the conversation out of the doldrums of semantics and into the realm of intent.
    .-= Tamsen McMahon´s last blog ..Fighting fire =-.

  • http://www.simonmainwaring.com/blog Simon Mainwaring

    Thanks, Amber,

    Great post, Engagement is a function of your” come from”. Why and how you’re engaging to what engaging to what ends. If you approach it the right way there are untold possibilities. If you don’t it’s a complete waste of time.

    Thanks for the great post,

    Simon
    .-= Simon Mainwaring´s last blog ..Allvoices.com: How social media built a global community of citizen journalists with Amra Tareen =-.

  • http://www.simonmainwaring.com/blog Simon Mainwaring

    Thanks, Amber,

    Great post, Engagement is a function of your” come from”. Why and how you’re engaging to what engaging to what ends. If you approach it the right way there are untold possibilities. If you don’t it’s a complete waste of time.

    Thanks for the great post,

    Simon
    .-= Simon Mainwaring´s last blog ..Allvoices.com: How social media built a global community of citizen journalists with Amra Tareen =-.

  • http://justinkownacki.com/ Justin Kownacki

    To be engaged, you must first be engaging.

    Not every blog post necessitates a comment. In fact, unless a post is formed as a question or a call to action, it’s rarely embellished or improved by comments.

    Not every comment requires a response.

    Not every conversation changes the game.

    Not every brand matters.

    The more competition we have for our free time, the more judicious we need to be in how, when and with whom we choose to engage. The brands, companies and people who are flooded with more engagement than they can handle? They’re not the ones complaining about a lack of engagement; they’re the ones who clarify the shortcomings of everyone else.

    Instead of complaining about why people aren’t engaging with your message, change it. Change the topic, the format, the forum or the audience. Find the element(s) that aren’t resonating and fix them.

    Or just find something you actually care about. Because we can all only pretend to care about things for so long, and our lack of actual passion is obvious. Nobody wants to engage with someone who’s pretending, obligated or going through the motions.

    Care. Engagement follows. (It works for weddings, too.)
    .-= Justin Kownacki´s last blog ..The Golden Rule for Conferences =-.

  • http://justinkownacki.com/ Justin Kownacki

    To be engaged, you must first be engaging.

    Not every blog post necessitates a comment. In fact, unless a post is formed as a question or a call to action, it’s rarely embellished or improved by comments.

    Not every comment requires a response.

    Not every conversation changes the game.

    Not every brand matters.

    The more competition we have for our free time, the more judicious we need to be in how, when and with whom we choose to engage. The brands, companies and people who are flooded with more engagement than they can handle? They’re not the ones complaining about a lack of engagement; they’re the ones who clarify the shortcomings of everyone else.

    Instead of complaining about why people aren’t engaging with your message, change it. Change the topic, the format, the forum or the audience. Find the element(s) that aren’t resonating and fix them.

    Or just find something you actually care about. Because we can all only pretend to care about things for so long, and our lack of actual passion is obvious. Nobody wants to engage with someone who’s pretending, obligated or going through the motions.

    Care. Engagement follows. (It works for weddings, too.)
    .-= Justin Kownacki´s last blog ..The Golden Rule for Conferences =-.

  • Pingback: Online Community Links Roundup 30/04/10 | Community Management | Blaise Grimes-Viort

  • http://www.hustream.com/ nick

    For me Engagement matters because we are all human. It’s universal. It matters today because we’ve never been faster to tune-out, skim read, flip channels – to disengage. That’s got nothing exclusively to do with the web or work, but it’s its all communication.

    Talking to your kids, to a friend or your partner (in person or over the phone), we can all sense when disengagement occurs. Can you tell when a friend on the phone is multi-tasking? Sure you can (if you are a listener).

    Communicating via the web is no different. You ask lots of questions. You treat your blog Just like real life. Calling the web a “conversation” isn’t spin – it’s a metaphor for how to think/act. Ask questions and respond intelligently. Today people expect to be heard.

    Boundaries between work, play and community have all blurred. We’re always on and almost as a result of that are never quicker to disengage. Attention (or engagement) comes in very short supply. You have to respect and cherish attention.

    We’ve got to learn a new way to communicate that gets to the point fast, removes spin, watches eagerly for feedback to customize our responses to keep you audience engaged.

    Additionally today, generational expectations and communication types are so varied (Boomers to GenX & Gen Y). We aren’t just in different niches/segments (with different expectations/needs from a company’s products and services) – we also communicate/engage differently.

  • http://www.hustream.com/ nick

    For me Engagement matters because we are all human. It’s universal. It matters today because we’ve never been faster to tune-out, skim read, flip channels – to disengage. That’s got nothing exclusively to do with the web or work, but it’s its all communication.

    Talking to your kids, to a friend or your partner (in person or over the phone), we can all sense when disengagement occurs. Can you tell when a friend on the phone is multi-tasking? Sure you can (if you are a listener).

    Communicating via the web is no different. You ask lots of questions. You treat your blog Just like real life. Calling the web a “conversation” isn’t spin – it’s a metaphor for how to think/act. Ask questions and respond intelligently. Today people expect to be heard.

    Boundaries between work, play and community have all blurred. We’re always on and almost as a result of that are never quicker to disengage. Attention (or engagement) comes in very short supply. You have to respect and cherish attention.

    We’ve got to learn a new way to communicate that gets to the point fast, removes spin, watches eagerly for feedback to customize our responses to keep you audience engaged.

    Additionally today, generational expectations and communication types are so varied (Boomers to GenX & Gen Y). We aren’t just in different niches/segments (with different expectations/needs from a company’s products and services) – we also communicate/engage differently.

  • Mike Jensen

    I will echo the “thank you” that many others said here. I can always count on you to throw out some great topics that cause us to think.

    As the online social world has started to open up more and grow, it has rapidly increased accessibility to really smart people…and with that accessibility I think an unrealistic expectation has developed around “engagement.”

    I follow you on Twitter and I am a regular reader of your blog because I love the thought and energy you put into them. We also have talked on the phone and had the opportunity to even meet in person. But does that mean I should expect you to reply to everything I send you, thank me for re-tweets, or acknowledge my comments? No way…That is not realistic…and it’s not what I should be focused on.

    I think all of those things (and the others you listed) make up “engagement” but I need to realize that you are human, have many other concerns to deal with, and have personal life…and be happy with what ever response (including no response) I get. If I say something, or contribute in some way, and you are able to reply..great, I can feel good that I added value to the conversation. At the same time, no response doesnt necessarily mean I didnt add value. It could have hit a chord with a reader or someone else that “engaged.”

    We have to remember that it isn’t about ourselves, it is about the community and the conversation. IMO, we should appreciate it when you are willing/able to respond/engage, but to expect that one person will “engage” on everything is not realistic.

    Thanks
    Mike

  • Mike Jensen

    I will echo the “thank you” that many others said here. I can always count on you to throw out some great topics that cause us to think.

    As the online social world has started to open up more and grow, it has rapidly increased accessibility to really smart people…and with that accessibility I think an unrealistic expectation has developed around “engagement.”

    I follow you on Twitter and I am a regular reader of your blog because I love the thought and energy you put into them. We also have talked on the phone and had the opportunity to even meet in person. But does that mean I should expect you to reply to everything I send you, thank me for re-tweets, or acknowledge my comments? No way…That is not realistic…and it’s not what I should be focused on.

    I think all of those things (and the others you listed) make up “engagement” but I need to realize that you are human, have many other concerns to deal with, and have personal life…and be happy with what ever response (including no response) I get. If I say something, or contribute in some way, and you are able to reply..great, I can feel good that I added value to the conversation. At the same time, no response doesnt necessarily mean I didnt add value. It could have hit a chord with a reader or someone else that “engaged.”

    We have to remember that it isn’t about ourselves, it is about the community and the conversation. IMO, we should appreciate it when you are willing/able to respond/engage, but to expect that one person will “engage” on everything is not realistic.

    Thanks
    Mike

  • http://www.ramseymohsen.com Ramsey Mohsen

    I love this question. It’s one of those questions that depending on who you ask, you’ll get 20 variations of an answer.

    My take is “engagement” depends organization to organization and situation to situation. Specifically, every company has a ultimate goal they’re trying to achieve. I’m of the school of thought that engagement has different levels along a continuum. This continuum paths down to the ultimate behavior you want them to do (which is take some sort of action: buy, comment, etc). Other levels along the (which vary depending on the organization) are things like awareness, influence, etc.

  • http://www.ramseymohsen.com Ramsey Mohsen

    I love this question. It’s one of those questions that depending on who you ask, you’ll get 20 variations of an answer.

    My take is “engagement” depends organization to organization and situation to situation. Specifically, every company has a ultimate goal they’re trying to achieve. I’m of the school of thought that engagement has different levels along a continuum. This continuum paths down to the ultimate behavior you want them to do (which is take some sort of action: buy, comment, etc). Other levels along the (which vary depending on the organization) are things like awareness, influence, etc.

  • http://www.chinacellphones.net china cell phones

    WOW, i like this gadget.
    where i can buy it?

    china cell phones
    .-= china cell phones´s last blog ..A Mixed ON Product with Attributes =-.

  • http://www.chinacellphones.net china cell phones

    WOW, i like this gadget.
    where i can buy it?

    china cell phones
    .-= china cell phones´s last blog ..A Mixed ON Product with Attributes =-.

  • http://johnhaydon.com John Haydon

    Amber,

    I’ve been thinking long and hard about what engagement means (simply because the term is thrown around a lot). A lot of what’s being discussed here has to do with individual perceptions. For example, retweeting might mean engagement to you, but maybe not to me. So I wonder if it might make sense to have an “Engagement Policy” posted on our websites that sets expectations for what the visitor can expect.

    John
    .-= John Haydon´s last blog ..Does the Age of Facebook make blogging more critical for nonprofits? =-.

  • http://johnhaydon.com John Haydon

    Amber,

    I’ve been thinking long and hard about what engagement means (simply because the term is thrown around a lot). A lot of what’s being discussed here has to do with individual perceptions. For example, retweeting might mean engagement to you, but maybe not to me. So I wonder if it might make sense to have an “Engagement Policy” posted on our websites that sets expectations for what the visitor can expect.

    John
    .-= John Haydon´s last blog ..Does the Age of Facebook make blogging more critical for nonprofits? =-.

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