Monday, November 30, 2009

Facebook 50--Proof That Metrics Are Misguided

So I just saw this tweet

Naturally I clicked the link; I'm always interested when social media is "proof" of anything. has come up with a ranking of companies based on their social media engagment. How are they defining "engagement"? According to ZDNet, this is how BigMoney explained the selection process:
Companies had to have a minimum of 200,000 Facebook friends or fans before being considered for The Big Money Facebook 50. Qualifying brands were then assessed on whether they employ a dedicated social media staff, how long the brand has been present on Facebook, and how much money it spends on the social networking site.....

(somewhat weirdly, if you click the link they are allegedly citing from, BigMoney describes their selection process a bit differently; no mention of the dedicated staff or the amount of money the brand spends on Facebook. Puzzling.)

I personally find these selection criteria off-base. If you read this blog, you know how I feel about the whole numbers game; I think it's BS, so a threshold of 200,000 fans to even qualify as a player? Ridiculous, IMO. But whatever. What I really don't understand, though, is how they tie the amount of money a brand spends on Facebook with how big a player they are. Call me crazy but last time I checked Facebook was free and throwing money at a developer or ad agency as a qualifier for how well you're using it seems 100% random to me.

The whole point of social media is that it is not dreamt up by ad agencies and shoved down our throats. Are we really going to start defining success by who can most closely replicate traditional advertising while making it look like engagement?

How about the nonprofit Facebook 50? Would success be tied to how many fans a nonprofit had, or how much money they spent on the page?

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