What aren't you measuring?
What aren’t you measuring?
The following is a republished edition of GroundSourced, a weekly newsletter from GroundSource on listening and community engagement. It features successful community engagement efforts, highlights missed opportunities for listening, and offers strategies that help you engage and listen to your community. You can subscribe to GroundSourced here.
What we don't measure matters.
When the 10 phone lines fill up on a radio call-in show, there's nothing measuring how many people are impacted by the topic waiting in line behind those 10 callers.
Local TV news relies on total viewership ratings, missing information about how many of their viewers are actually engaged.
Podcasts track listeners and subscribers, but how might they begin to track potential paying members?
What role do those gaps play in these organizations' engagement cycles? How could filling those gaps lead to more sustainable and effective organizations?
The first step is to figure out what you measure and why. Then figure out what's missing and how measuring that might change the way you work.
This week's features are here to help jumpstart your thinking.
As always, let us know what you'd like to see in GroundSourced. And if you want to talk about what GroundSource can do for your organization, use this link to schedule a discovery call.
Journalism’s Dunbar number
How many people can you possibly know? That's the question behind this new metric: journalism's Dunbar number.
From Damon Kiesow's Journalism's Dunbar number:
Twenty years ago, evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar postulated there was a limit to the stable and close social relationships a human being could maintain. He informally defined it as the number of people you know well enough to join “uninvited for a drink if you happened to bump into them in a bar.”
“Dunbar’s number” is 150 — and he argued it was set by the cognitive capacity of the human brain. Smaller primates with smaller brains have smaller social groups.
Media have a similar limit — it is the number of readers who feel you are part of their community and are willing to invest their time or money with you.
Read about why you should find your Dunbar number and how to make the most of it from Damon here.
How to build a metrics-savvy newsroom
Working with American Press Institute, Melody Kramer and Betsy O’Donovan talked to over two dozen journalists and data analysts at news organizations big and small for How to build a metrics-savvy newsroom, API’s latest strategy study.
The study breaks down different kinds of metrics, how to align organizational and individual goals, and six steps to create a more metrics-driven newsroom, including this important note from GroundSource customer Chalkbeat about what metrics don't mean:
"Chartbeat’s Director of Customer Education Jill Nicholson regularly reminds Chartbeat users that their famous dashboard isn’t a grade — it’s meant to trigger discussions about why the numbers look like they do, and what simple adjustments, like adding links to related stories, can boost time on site and other important, habit-forming behaviors."
Read more from Melody and Betsy at American Press Institute here.
More on metrics
A free analytics dashboard built for small and medium publishers to help them engage their readers, from Ned Berke for The Center for Cooperative Media
Want to start evaluating your engaged reporting? Here’s what I did, by jesikah maria ross on Medium
Find Metrics That Work For Your Community, from The Coral Project
Against metrics: how measuring performance by numbers backfires, by Jerry Muller for Aeon