Thursday, June 3, 2010

It's MY Car - I'm Gonna Do the Drivin' Drivin'

Flickr!Image by Sam Stoner via Flickr

You can get plenty of help putting together a social media strategy for your small nonprofit. But do you just blindly have to trust the experts? Should you go with your gut or are you looking for something a little more scientific?

A post I read recently on the Sources of Insight blog gives a breakdown of why we make bad decisions. We might begin by determining the basis for a decision on a social media platform using Bernoulli's Formula:

Expected Value = the product of two things (odds of gain) x (value of gain)

That is, what are the odds that we will get the result that we want and what is the value of what we expect to gain? Then, is the value of what we stand to gain high enough to justify the risk of the odds against it?

But Who Determines the Odds and the Value?

Well, you do. And that's where we run into trouble, apparently. We tend to underestimate the odds and overestimate the value.The author of the post, J.D. Meier, suggests three strategies for lessening the risk of under and over estimating and they're worth a look (link follows this post). Read the comments, too. Part of determining value can be found in following your heart, as one exchange between a reader and J.D. makes clear.

My take-away from J.D.'s post in terms of social media and small nonprofits is that, when deciding value it's best to think in terms of concrete goals. And if you haven't a lot of experience using social media, it's best to start out with a small goal. Once you have the goal in mind, you can better calculate the odds of one or more social media platforms or combinations of platforms in assisting your small nonprofit in reaching that goal. And I would insert an effort factor into the equation - what kind of effort will be required from you in order for the odds for success to be more favorable than not?

It's your car, you have to do the driving, so it's a good idea to make sure the trip might be worth it before you hit the road.

The blog post referenced here is: Why We Make Bad Decisions by J.D. Meier

The title of this post is from "It's My Car" by one of my favorite 1980s bands, The Waitresses, from their album Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful?

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