“A candidate’s boast: Just look at all the ‘likes’ (when Facebook’s paid to promote),” the April 6 article regarding “like” versus “engagement,” could have been written without reference to the governor’s race.

In fact, Crystal Canney (Eliot Cutler’s communications director) notes a known metric, whereas Ryan Davis (vice president of a New York website) focuses on a metric called “engagement,” which is posited as a more accurate metric of Facebook.

According to Davis and Sean Carlson, a digital consultant also quoted in the story, engagement is based on “the number of people ‘talking’ about” a specific page. Yet engagement is not precisely that, and this metric is rather unknown to me and most of the public. So, I Googled it. Please, please read the following and determine for yourself if the report accurately reflects anything about the candidates, particularly their conclusion.

The Socialbakers Analytics website talks about public and private metrics. It describes the engagement rate as tied to the relative size of a page, not as described in the Portland Press Herald article.

They point out that the Facebook metric “People Talking About This” is only a seven-day activity metric and that it does have some issues. Finally, they conclude by noting that the combination of three public metrics – engagement rate, interactions and shares or shareability – is much better and more accurate.

After reading about several social media metrics garnered from Google, this Portland Press Herald article seems to be to some extent misleading, somewhat about the candidates’ standings, but more so about the use of social media metrics. In statistical terms, the Portland Press Herald uses descriptive data as if it’s inferential data, a common reporting error.

Mark Schwartz

South Portland