Social Media Measurement Twitter Chat: Evaluating Impact of Social Media on Foundation Outcomes

How do you know if your organization's network is growing stronger via social media? Does social media help strengthen perceptions of your organization as a valuable information source? The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation hosted a Twitter chat to explore evaluating social media's impact.


  1. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) will host a national convening of leaders from 11 foundations, as well as experts in evaluation, social media, and communications to develop measures for evaluating the impact of social media on foundation outcomes in April.

  2. In advance of this convening, Debra Joy Perez (@djoyperez), assistant vice president, Research and Evaluation, and Tina Kauh (@tinakauh), program officer, Research and Evaluation, hosted a Twitter chat on April 18, 2013. The chat, moderated by Kami Huyse (@kamichat), founder of Zoetica Media, offered an opportunity to engage with other meeting participants and a wider network on Twitter around current practices, assumptions, and opportunities to measure the impact of social media on philanthropic outcomes.
  3. Leading up to the chat, Debra Joy Perez shared her perspective on the subject with the Foundation Center on the Transparency Talk blog, where she offered her take on how the use of these tools—which have become essential to our communication efforts—can be measured to reflect the impact of our work and rooted in a context of achieving social change goals.
  4. Beth Kanter also shared her take on measuring outcomes while balancing and upholding the principles of being networked.
  5. Wednesday's chat involved folks from philanthropy, communications, evaluation, marketing, nonprofits (and fire safety!) interested in measuring the impact social media can have on social change efforts.
  6. Kami kicked off the chat with topic 1 (T1) by asking which tools work best for measuring the impact of social media activity, and who else is talking about measuring social media on Twitter.

    Participants experiment with a ride range of tools, with good old spreadsheets coming out as a frequent go-to option. Clarifying the purpose behind activities was also emphasized by many.