Measure for measure

I was talking to colleagues recently about new ways to measure and report customer satisfaction and corporate performance. There are lots of good examples out there such as the Birmingham Civic Dashboard ( kudos @siwhitehouse & team). Just as interesting is what we measure. In an age of social media, I’m increasingly of the view that levels of interactions or engagement through socmed is something we should register in some way. It helps that stats are easy to come by (see an earlier post regarding Facebook). Collaboration with citizens is going to be crucial as hard-pressed councils struggle to deliver but if people have a bad experience of engagement, they are less likely to get involved. It’s a phenomenon that Tim Hughes has covered well here. Taking Tim’s point forward, it surely follows that a council that can demonstrate high levels of engagement (even negative comments) must be doing something right. High levels of participation in online forums is a measure of satisfaction in the very process of engagement itself and should be applauded.



  1. Thanks for writing this Jon, I think you make some valuable points. I’ve been pleased with the responses that the Civic Dashboard has had, even though not all of them were positive, as you note. I think some of the criticisms were justified and being able to acknowledge that without the world caving in is a useful thing to demonstrate to colleagues.

    If I can quote something from Tim’s piece that you reference:

    “Imposing external agendas on people and/or trying to channel them into narrowly defined areas of participation is unlikely to result in more active citizens, and may in fact have the opposite effect.”

    Mapping that to social media says to me that we should be seeking people out in the spaces that they use, rather than expecting them to always comment on our sites. It’s not a particularly new idea this. It was contained in Mayo and Steinberg’s Power of Information report from a few years back.

    So, yes, levels of engagement in online forums is a good thing, and easily measured, but commenting on other people’s spaces is important too.

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