I started my career working with large enterprises on decision-making processes around new product development. It's an area filled with ambiguity and risk but requires executives to make huge bets on a future they cannot see. It also takes years to get valid feedback on whether investment decisions were right and those decisions are very often group decisions with limited accountability back to any one person. It is a squirrely business at its best and for that reason often called an 'art'. But I learned a lot about business decision-making in ambiguous environments. Enterprise decision-making in the social space is very similar.
One of the cardinal sins in decision-making is not understanding the biases and context that underpins the information you have. You will never achieve perfect information but it is absolutely critical that you understand where the information you do have is coming from and how you are selecting and prioritizing the information you find. Understanding the gaps in information is just as critical as understanding the information you have - it helps identify potential risks and mitigate them.
One of the issues that I find, generally speaking, with social media monitoring tools is that it is very difficult to understand the scope of what you are looking at and therefore challenging to make good decisions with the information. Talking about this issue recently caused me to have a striking aha moment about what has bothered me about Google for so long: the algorithms are considered 'secret sauce' and very tightly controlled. This is highly problematic for decision-making because whether it is search engines or social media monitoring solutions we absolutely need to understand what we are looking at (and what we are not seeing) and how that information has been prioritized for us. Without that context, our decision-making is biased toward to proclivities of the tools we use and that is extremely risky.
We don't even like eating chocolates without knowing what is inside... how are we to make good decisions if we don't know how we got to the information we have?
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