There’s got to be lots of money in online engagement. I offer that because I just returned from back-to-back conferences where just about everybody was explaining what they thought it was. The only time lots of people beat the heck out of a word is when they want you to think they have the best, most correct, this is it I’m telling you, dead on the money, nobody else’s is worth a poop definition. It’s like the gold rush; stake your claim early and make sure it’s big.
Let me go on the record as saying I have no problem with this. I wrote about the concept of online engagement previously in Online Engagement Metrics: You Have Their Eyes but What Are They Driving? and several other places (there’s a list at the bottom of this post). So why am I writing about it?
Because of some of the statements I heard in my travels. The one that really made me laugh was that online engagement is a different metric on site A than it is on site B because the two sites might have different business objectives.
I’ll accept that sites might have different business objectives in much the same way that a Suburu Outback is different from a Ford F-350 pickup. They have different looks, different purposes, people buy them for different reasons (I’m hoping). They are, in a way, two different sites.
And here’s where I get confused. Stating that different sites should have different definitions of online engagement is (to me) like stating that 40mph in the Suburu Outback is different than 40mph in the Ford F-350. It should be, right? They are two completely different vehicles, aren’t they?
(where are my fellow Center for Semantic Excellence researchers when I need them? If this doesn’t demand semantic excellence nothing does)
Some people might respond that online engagement is more like mpg than mph (at least some folks did when I mentioned this analogy).
But wait a second. The Suburu Outback’s mpg is 24, the Ford F-350’s about 12. No matter how conscientiously I drive that Ford F-350, I’m not going to get anywhere near the Suburu Outback’s mpg. This has nothing to do with me (or at least very little. So little, in fact, that no change in my driving habits will balance out those mpgs), it’s completely due to vehicle design.
So…umm…doesn’t that mean that online engagement — if it’s suppose to be different for different sites — is really a measure of the vehicle (aka “the site”) and has very little to nothing to do with the visitor (aka “the visitor”)?
Measuring what, are we?
Please contact NextStage for information regarding presentations and trainings on this and other topics.
Links for this post:
- “Know How Someone Is Thinking in 10 Seconds or Less” Half-day training at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, 13 June 08
- International Communication Association’s Communicating for Social Impact, the 58th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association at Le Centre Sheraton Hotel, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, May 22-26, 2008
- SUNY Marketing Professionals Conference at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, 11-13 June 08
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