Around the Institute

Socially Awkward

November 14, 2014  • David Devlin-Foltz

The Election About Nothing Meets The Internet About Nothing

Pundits called it the Seinfeld election – the election about nothing. No big issues. No substantive debate. But the interwebs were full of weighty commentary on what happened last week – except when they weren’t.  Here’s Alex from Target, demonstrating again to exasperated strategists and evaluators how random “viral” social media can be.

Meet MeRa the Magnificent

Mark Hanis pointed us to this slide deck from SumofUs on “vanity metrics” – that is, metrics that reveal online reach but not engagement. “Reach” is contested space – see Paul Sutton of FutureComms on “true reach.” SumofUs created Members Returning for Action, or MeRa: “the number of unique members who have taken an action other than their first one.” MeRa “herself” looks a little kinky for our taste, but our clients know we love the “measurable and meaningful.”  

The plural of anecdotes IS data?

We like a good story. But do doctors? Writing in the New York Times, Dr. Peter Kramer noted the power of clinical vignettes – case histories – to complement clinical research.  Some responses to Dr. Kramer agree. And he cites an article in the august New England Journal of Medicine that states: “Stories are better at capturing a different type of ‘big picture.’” A big deal, says Dr. Kramer: this approach “stands somewhat in conflict with the principles of evidence-based medicine.” Numbers – and stories, people!


**Calendar check! Our next breakfast event – our own Susanna Dilliplane discussing partisan media effects on voters – will be on December 1st, not December 2nd.**