Social Web Apps Design
Online Community Development

SM Talks Value, Rewards Volume

by Saul Fleischman on June 25, 2011

“Social media pleads for quality content but secretly encourages quantity by rewarding those who participate most often.”

- Fabiola Vicenova

I say, it provides proof for the masses. Numbers speak, they say, right? Nevertheless, that VERY question has been aching me for quite some time. I think the simple answer is that quality is so hard to assess; but regardless of quality, value, benefit, from way before the day of a social web, numbers do resonate with the masses. And thus, whenever site reward users by recognizing them, invariably, they just show those with… the most followers, right?! But yes, its a matter of numbers, quantification is easier to judge, and so people do that. It provides proof to the common man.

From Ben Werdmuller von Elgg:

More content overall is likely to lead to more quality content, for sure. It’s also true that there isn’t an objective standard for “quality”. Different people value different things.

But think about how most of these tools make their money: advertising. The more participation there is, the more eyes there are on their ads. You’re much more intrinsically more valuable to these platforms if you draw more impressions.

From Eric Swayne:

“There’s no doubt that the scales of social media are currently weighted in favor of quantity – in fact, this fascinating study goes a long way towards proving it.

The secret sauce is, and will always be, value. To the right audience, even content published every second can be valuable (stock tickers, anyone?), but to the wrong audience that same content is spam. @DellOutlet publishes deals and has driven millions of dollars in sales off of content some tools would consider “low quality.”
The key for social marketers is in identifying the needs/desires of the brand’s audience, and tailoring content to match. Proper measures should determine the success of that goal, not scoring against a normative standard.”


About Saul Fleischman

Founder of emerging social media tool sites. Bootstrapping innovation with lean startup development teams. I do project management, user experience, PR, marketing and community development. size it!

Related OsakaBentures Must-Reads

  • Fabiola Vicenova

    Shouldn’t some sentences be in quotation marks for the clarity of the source? :)

    • Saul Fleischman

      Wow, right you are – thanks, doing it now!!

  • Eric Wittlake

    Saul, you are right, today social media, measured most frequently on clicks, post-click activity (revenue) or even comments, are driven by quantity more than quality. Tools like Klout make the situation worse. Even if you are focused on quality engagement, Klout and other influence measurement tools have a strong bias towards activity quantity.

    You image captures it perfectly. We need to get back to appropriate (safe), valuable (quality) and then quantity in our content.

    – @wittlake

    • Saul Fleischman

      I like how you finished your comment, “we need to get back to [safety > value > and then, quantity] in our content.”

  • Samantha Bangayan

    Yikes! I so relate to this post, Saul, and you’ve encouraged me to reassess where I’m putting my efforts. Janet Callaway had me thinking about this the other day — what do those numbers really mean? I’m motivated and pushed to increase followers, but is that really what I want to be working toward? Thanks so much for having me reflect on this, friend!

    • Saul Fleischman

      Funny one for you, Sam: log out of @triberr:twitter then go to They used to recognize their “supporters” (see the photos, clickable) based on precisely one thing: no. of followers. In fact, I got tired of finding that I would invite people into Triberr, and while they would qualify for the Triberr top-page, I did not!

      I suggested that they show a little appreciation, and while kow-towing before those with the huge Twitter followings, maybe also include in those Twitter profile images those that are clearly evangelizing Triberr?

      They did it, at least somewhat. (Surprised to not see you in there, but at least Janet and the Loris are in there, and me as well.)

      Also, I asked them to show some stats on members, recognize who i doing this and that with Triberr. And now, in the Member List we see “Largest Reach” and “Most Valuable Tribesmen.” This is a good start. While its impossible to spend the time to do everything – such as note how the most engaging of us, such as you are guest-blogging and comment, interact with so many Triberr connections, the guys are quite open to ideas, it seems.

      • Samantha Bangayan

        Had no idea about this! Thanks for pointing it out and great to see you and Janet up there! =) Love how receptive Dino and the other Triberr guys are! =)

  • Pingback: Gaming Twitter Can Cost YouOsakaBentures

Previous post:

Next post:

All rights reserved, OsakaBentures 2012