I want you to first think about how you measure success. With your job or your blog or your day to day life, how do you measure success? Then I want you to think about how others measure your success.
I’m so pissed off, SweetPeas! That’s right! PO’d!!! Of course, this all started from another Xtra article on “How Facebook and Web 2.0 are changing the nature of gay activism” It’s not necessarily the content of the article that is upsetting me but more the growing gap that Xtra has with the rest of the Web 2.0 queer community. Xtra interviewed a couple who were bashed and fought back by building a Facebook group. To get another angle, Xtra then interviewed an author who wrote about activism and Web2.0.
I’m very happy that the couple fought back by building a Facebook group. The group ballooned to 13,000 people; definitely something to celebrate and be proud of. It’s a success! To reach out to 13,000 people with this issue.. just amazing. But why did Xtra pick this group out of the hundreds (if not thousands) of queer Facebook groups in Canada? Why did Xtra think this group was a success? No big surprise, Xtra chose the group solely because it had 13,000 members.
I would think by now people wouldn’t measure success of a queer Facebook group solely by the number of members. Why are people measuring success with a very basic quantitative approach? Why aren’t we looking at it qualitatively? Here is a definition of qualitative research from http://www.wikipedia.org
Qualitative marketing research is a set of research techniques, used in marketing and the social sciences, in which data is obtained from a relatively small group of respondents and not analyzed with statistical techniques. This differentiates it from quantitative research in which a large group of respondents provide data that are statistically analyzed.
Basically the definition means “don’t use numbers to analyze people”. Instead we get feedback! For instance, we could look at how engaged people are in the facebook group by asking people what they have done since joining the group. Or perhaps we could ask how the Facebook group was able to connect people together or share their thoughts. But why do people look at it quantitatively and crunch it down to the simple numbers? I truly believe that we are missing out on a major indicator of success when we just look at the number of people who have joined a Facebook group. Go beyond the numbers.
I now have to talk about the author that Xtra interviewed. I’m not even going to mention her name. I’m not upset at what she said. What was quoted in the Xtra article was very accurate and true. However, I’m concerned with Xtra’s choice of interviewees. The interviewee is framed by Xtra as an expert on activism and Web 2.0 when, in fact, it appears this interviewee isn’t even an active member of the Web 2.0 community (besides the fact that she has a Facebook profile). Can we call this person an expert on Web 2.0 if they don’t engage in Web 2.0?
Am I being nit-picky? Perhaps I am. I will freely admit that. But I personally believe that anyone who wants to talk about Web 2.0 should have at least been engaged with Web 2.0 at one point. Do you have a blog? Do you have Twitter? Have you posted a video on YouTube? Have you done it lately? It’s very similar to the argument “Are you a golfer if you haven’t golfed in 20 years?” Sure you are a golfer, but you aren’t up to par 🙂
I think Xtra lacks a comprehension of Web 2.0 almost entirely even though their website is Web 2.0 enabled (blogs, comments, forums etc). Perhaps there is a gap between the content creators/writers and the designers and agregators? I’m just not sure. I am happy that they are engaging in Web 2.0 tools. They have their own YouTube profile that posts videos from Western Canada (Vancouver mostly). They even have a Twitter account. But what about the writers? Do they have a clue?
I would love to see Xtra try and reach out to the queer Web 2.0 presence on the web. Look at me! lol! Okay, so maybe I am a bit upset that they chose some unknown thesis author over someone such as myself. Someone who has maintained a podcast, blog, facebook presence, etc etc for years sitting in the trenches fighting the good fight for a queer presence focused on Queer Kingston. Besides myself, there are many other queer Web 2.0 people out there. Look at Adam Gordon Fox of GLBCRadio. He has been podcasting for some time. There is even a group in Vancouver called VanCubz who does a podcast called CubzCast (only posting podcasts to iTunes and not on their website). That’s just the queer podcasters/queercasters! Think of all the Canadian queer bloggers out there and all those YouTubers creating Queer Canadian Content! (QCC)
Nonetheless, I am happy that Xtra is exploring the topic. I just hope they explore it a bit more.