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Metrics – Measuring Emoticons?

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One of the biggest complaints I heard at the recent social media law conference we held at our offices was that there were few, if any, real metrics to measure the impact of any particular social media campaign.  Why should lawyers care about such things? Risk analysis.  Part of a lawyers job is to help clients weigh benefits against risks — but it is difficult to do that when there are no accurate measures of the benefits.

Now IBM has devised a new system that, among other things, measures the use of emoticonsand webbby slang. Given the complex swirl of language used by Internet sophisticates, it will be fascinating to see how IBM and others try to get a handle on the “meaning” of web communications and their references to brands and corporate images.  How someone is going to interpret references to “All your base are belong to us” or other web-colloquialisms is, believe it or not, important for getting a handle on what people are really thinking, and how they are communicating with each other about you.  Perhaps these new systems will add real analytic depth, but in the end social media will need metrics with more explanatory power than simply counting the number of smiley faces next to your trademarks.