Did you grab attention? Did you deliver delight? Did you cause people to want to share? Did you initiate a discussion? Did you cause people to take an action? Did your participation deliver economic value?
— Avinash Kaushik

The tricky thing about these metrics — conversation, amplification, applause, economic value — is that they may or may not reflect what we care about, which is change. It’s assumed that more conversation, more amplification, more applause, and more economic value == good. And that correlation == causation. We can assume neither, despite the digital reams of data that are available to us.

Online facilitation is like in person facilitation, especially if your intended outcome is change. Consider likes, favorites, follows, friends, comments, and shares like you consider test scores, which do not reveal much except for truncated measures of retention, attention, and recall. Clicks of mouse, taps of a finger. These touch points do not reveal the complexity of a human heart, mind, or identity.  Understanding how a person changes based on their interactions with us, how those interactions shape who they are and combine with their past and future experiences to produce change inside of them — healing, harm, openness, closedness — is probably impossible. 

Learning and change are super complex. Consider we may never know the effects of our work. Every snapshot lacks context in some way. Proceed with listening, kindness, observation, and experimentation. Accept that there will be uncertainty, as in all things, and move forward anyway.