I just heard about a new open source application for tracking discussion of specific issues in social media (blogs, tags, podcasts, wikis, etc.) online: The BuzzMonitor. This was developed by the World Bank for their own purposes and then released as an open source application. From the about page:
Like many organizations, we started listening to blogs and other forms of social media by subscribing to a blog search engine RSS feed but quickly understood it was not enough. The World Bank is a global institution and we needed to listen in multiple languages, across multiple plaforms. We needed something that would aggregate all this content, help us make sense of it and allow us to collaborate around it. At the time, no solution (either commercial or open source) met those requirements so we decided to build our own.
We were playing with Drupal, a solid, open-source content and community platform for different pilots. Drupal being so flexible and module oriented, we decided to write the specifications for a “super aggregator” that would help us people understand, follow and collaborate around mentions of the organization online.
I asked Pierre Guillaume, who announced it on the Social Media Measurement Group on Facebook, how they are using it internally at the World Bank. His response:
Thanks David. We are rolling it out to communicators across the bank with a guide on how to use tagging, voting, rss feeds etc…there is, not surprisingly, a bit of a learning curve both in terms of “getting” social media and using the tool but some champions are emerging, embedding findings obtained through the buzzmonitor in their regular comm and web reports, adding relevant bloggers to their contacts etc.. We also feature the most recently voted on items on a page available two clicks down from the intranet home page, for all staff to see.
Sounds like a great tool for raising awareness of how issues important to the Bank are evolving online. I recommend listening to the online conversation as a key activity for any organization and this looks like a great tool for assisting in that. I have downloaded the application and will give it a try this week.
Metrics matter. People often say, “You get what you measure.” Metrics for metrics sake rarely actually contribute to the bottom line, however. When determining your web site metrics, it is better to focus on two or three that actually indicate value being created for the company than on a hundred that mean nothing.
Working really hard to improve the number of pages viewed on your site without understanding how each additional view creates value is asking for trouble. You may be increasing page views by such bogus methods as an automatic page refresh (as the Washington Post does with their home page) or by creating multiple clicks to complete a simple action, all of which frustrates your users. But your metrics look great!
Measure the creation and delivery of value. Ignore everything else.
I have added a new article to the resources section of my web site: Managing the Politics of Your Web Site’s Information Architecture. This article was originally published in Associations Now. In it I discuss how to defuse political infighting around your site’s information architecture by focusing on achieving your stakeholders outcomes and creating a variety of traffic guidance tools for managing your site. Here are the first two graphs:
Some days it may seem that the biggest problem with your Web site is not the technology that powers it but the power struggles that threaten to undermine it. Whether in a large, decentralized organization or in a small, local nonprofit, a Web site can turn into a battleground on which everyone fights for prime spots on the home page to highlight their programs. Too often, the winners are the ones who are best at internal politics. The losers are the weaker negotiators—and the visitors who give up in frustration without finding what they want.
It doesn’t have to be this way. By thinking about what’s behind the struggle, you as a Web site manager can de-emphasize internal politics while helping organizational stakeholders achieve their goals through—not in spite of—your Web site’s information architecture.
IBM has released a free enterprise search engine, IBM OmniFind Yahoo! Edition. The engine includes some technology from IBM’s OmniFind product, so this is probably prositioned as an entry level introduction to their commercial product. It is a direct challenge to Google’s Mini search appliance, according to this story on CIO.com. Yahoo! seems to have contributed some interface design expertise for the management interface.
Just added another article to the resources section of the site: Getting the Most from Your E-Marketing Efforts:
Do you need to improve your e-marketing results but don’t want to add to the torrential downpour of marketing messages that hit your members every day?
Then focus on improving your existing efforts rather than increasing the frequency of your messages.
This article was originally published in an ASAE newsletter.
Digital Web Magazine has published a nice intro article to web analytics: Dollars & Sense of Web Analytics:
Web analytics, whose origins date back to the invention of the Web, has worked its way from the domain of the technically minded to marketers, thanks in part to software with improved user interfaces and easy-to-understand reports. Despite these improvements, there is still a lack of understanding of the technical side of analytics. Web developers and marketing folks need to share the analytic tool, and each group has specific needs that can be fulfilled by the tool.
Check it out.