In an article on the evaluating the every-growing array of social networks, Craig Daitchadded his method of thinking about new offerings:
- Observe - What is the purpose of the channel?
- Define - What value do you bring to the community?
- Develop - How do you plan on engaging?
- Learn - What are the metrics you will apply to help define success?
- Optimize - How will you use your metrics to create deeper levels of engagement through insights?
[from You Are Here The Confusing Landscape of Social Networks Just Got More Confusing]
Doesn't that look like your favorite improvement loops? OODA (oobserve, orient, decide, act) or PDCA (plan, do, check, act) or many others. The whole idea to me is that in the world of social media and just about everywhere else you cannot merely take a single action and expect to be done. The business world changes too much for that to be the right approach.
One of the fun things about social networks and other online services is that they go through learning and growing loops of their own. As a result, the observations that one might make on first introduction to Pinterest or Google+ or [fill-in-the-blank] are bound to be different from observations today. This means the strategy for observing these tools requires that you revisit your take on them from time to time - particularly if these tools are part of your job.
For people on the bleeding edge of of technology, this is always a challenge. There are always new tools and services coming out - or remaking themselves. Do you keep your toes in the water to see how things evolve, or do you dip in one time and then make a "permanent" decision?