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Q & U
January 6, 2009, 7:48 am
Filed under: Digital Strategy

semantics

lizstrauss Grown-ups like numbers. When you tell them about a new friend, they never ask questions about what really matters. 2:23 PM yesterday

lizstrauss They never ask: “What does his voice sound like?” “What games does he like best?” “Does he collect butterflies?”.

lizstrauss They ask: “How old is he?” “How many brothers does he have?” “How much does he weigh?” “How much money does his father make?”

I saw this stream of thought from the lovely Liz Strauss on Twitter yesterday and it got me thinking. Which is not uncommon after having any kind of contact with Liz*

And I’ve been having brilliant chats, as ever, with Sean about the struggles of building meaning and defining relationships that bring value to a domain.

In the space between these conversations, I found something:

When we ask for numbers all we get is a definition. We can’t build an understanding of humans with numbers alone.

I’m loving the tension between grown up definitions and that child like discipline of asking to understand. I think that this is the core of where social media is really quite different from the grown up ROI language of impressions and click throughs. It can’t be measured in the same way, because it’s language, a protocol,   a hand lens for the empathic and  inquisitive.

So, what if we asked people about what really matters? Questions for Understanding? I’m looking forward to building some Q & U.

* (My first comment on Liz’s blog: I feel like I’ve just dunked my head in icy water-wooooosh- a million dancing particles of life celebration just sparkled into existence)


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Beautiful stuff! I made some banner ads the other day and it nearly made me cry, thank god the client has budgeted as much for social media as they have for CPM-based hogwash!

Comment by Matt Granfield

Love this line of thinking. Stay with it … I wonder where it will lead you.🙂

Comment by Liz Strauss

Nice one.

Ultimately people want to feel comfortable. They want equilibrium. Numbers are neat. Humans are not.

Comment by Kate Richardson

Neat post. Numbers only make sense in relation to other numbers. That’s not always true of people.

Comment by blaiq




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