Malcolm Gladwell can be quoted saying, “When you take the unconscious seriously you undermine virtually all quantitative market research and its focus.” In a similar sense it is in place to question quantitative website analytics when it comes to understanding or proving the success of social, brand or other emotional activities online.
Borrowing some terminology from Jenkins we could say that the accumulation of visitors’ actions, measured by the web analytics tool, represent the value of an activity.
- - Value gives an appropriate indication of whether or not the mechanics of the solution has attracted and kept the attention of enough visitors for a satisfying amount of time, or persuaded them to travel along a predefined path.
- Value is a reference to the success of an activity before we know if it has created any effect.
- Value is a quantitative.
On the other hand, the emotional effect of the interaction represents the quality of it. Borrowing from Jenkins again this could be defined as the worth of the activity.
- - Worth confirms whether or not the visitor has adopted the idea, and to which effect the idea has been transformed, or as Jenkins defines it; multiplied.
- Worth is the effect of the activity after participants have been exposed to the message, absorbed it, multiplied it, made it their own and are ready to share it in order to confirm or disconfirm it in their own networks.
- Worth represents the transformation of a companies idea into a persons self. The idea has become something meaningful. This meaningfulness is the goal of the activity.
Today we measure mechanics and quantity inside the experience, as it is happening, and leave the qualitative measurements to some time after. I reckon this is not because we think ideas need time to “sink in”, but because our tools for measuring quality are expensive and limited to just a few performed pre- or post activity. In any case we most often want the totality of our activities to be finished before we try to find if it has been successful or not.
This is where the change is needed. In recordable media there is no need to wait for ideas to “sink in”. Ideas are best preserved if recorded before the weakness of the brains memory system manipulates the feedback the visitor is able to give.
What we need is to start tailoring solutions for immediate qualitative feedback, designing them to record adoption and transformation as it is happening. And to understand the worth of the communication, the meaningful stuff, before and without it being manipulated by visitors’ post-rationalization.