The End of Human Interaction online? Or just the beginning?

I recently had an “Ah-ha!” moment. And the conclusion I arrived at was so basic, so “well….duh, Carrie”, that I wanted to smack myself upside the head.  And here it is:

To truly measure your online success, you can’t just rely on online analytics. You also have to incorporate what I call “Human Analytics.”The End of Human Interaction online? Or just the beginning? 

My definition of Human Analytics: a physical response from a person in relation to something you’ve put online. The response could be an email, a chat message, a comment on a post, any sort of acknowledgment really. But real honest-to-God, someone takes the time to tell you how they feel. Perhaps someone else has coined this term, but it’s the first thing that popped into my head.

My Ah-Ha moment:

I’ve been actively blogging here for 3 years. Just this past week, I was out in my community taking my Goddess cardboard cutout to various businesses for photo opportunities (yes, I actually do this. Because nothing says modesty like walking around holding a giant cardboard cutout of yourself. But I digress).

I dropped by our local print shop and after taking the photo, the employee said to me, “I really enjoy your blog.” “Oh?” I asked. “Do you read it regularly?” “Yes,” he replied. “You put out valuable information and I enjoy it. I really liked your recent post about radon gas in your home.” I thanked him and walked back to the office, lost in thought.

And here was my conclusion:
Google Analytics Ain’t Got Nothing On THAT

As much as I enjoy using Google Analytics (and a variety of other analytics programs) and get some pretty valuable information, Google Analytics can’t hold a candle to THAT. It doesn’t measure the fact that someone actually TOLD me they got value from my blog. It DOESN’T measure the “warm fuzzies” someone got from reading my content and feeling a true connection with me.

But I think we all get so hung up by our online interactions that we risk leaving the most basic component of engagement out- simply being human. We can automate until we’re blue in the face. We can look at graphs and statistics until our eyes cross. But without human interaction, you’ve got nothing. I’ve decided that I’ll take real-life interaction over a bunch of statistics anyday.

Some of this is definitely contingent on the industry- Amazon doesn’t really care that a person got a warm fuzzy from a book, but rather that they placed the order on their site. And I’m thinking retail industries are probably way more invested in the online analytics. But what about an industry like mine? Or other service-based industries? Are the human analytics important? Or not?

So my question for you-  if success online is all about engagement, then isn’t the true test of that success an actual human response? Or am I hopelessly naive and way off base here? I want to know your thoughts please……

 

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About Carrie Reynolds
  • brentmkelly

    Great post Carrie and so true. All the numbers from Google analytics can’t replace the satisfaction of having someone tell you they enjoy your information and that it has helped them.

    At the end of the day, it’s not always about numbers, it’s about providing value. You certainly do that.

    • carriereynolds

      Thanks Brent. I wasn’t going for a pat on the back with this post, but I do appreciate your compliment. It’s so challenging at times isn’t it? One camp says “You gotta pay attention to the numbers.” The other says, “Numbers aren’t everything.” It’s exhausting really. I’m simple I guess- I just want to write and use it to help others ;)