What is Return on Involvement?

return on involvement remember that time on facebook

Return on Involvement is what you get back from involving people offline and online. Most of the time it’s value in the form of love, fame or business.

I started 2013 out in a great way. The term, well my term: “Return on Involvement” had made it to the mashable 2013 buzzword list. Involvement is what I breathe everyday. I guess involvement was my revolution against social media tools becoming mainstream. I felt like I needed to go above the buzzword bingo and clichees attached to social media and the fact that everybody suddently where a social media expert because they had created a facebook page back in the facebook hey-days.

Return on Involvement is a term I have been working with for the past 4 years and also the title of my danish book. It’s mention on the mashable buzzword list increased the traffic to henrietteweber.com and toothlesstiger.com, my personal website and my business website dramatically. Now, I can’t say that I directly had a say in having them select Return on Involvement as a 2013 buzzword – However I have a slight feeling that my preaching to the choir had done it’s share of the work. That and the fact that I have been announcing that I am launching the second edition of my book “Return on Involvement – how to use the social web to create business unusual”, this time in english, summer 2013.

Return on Involvement is not rocket science. It is however something I consistently remind social media experts about when they start getting all social media tool geeky.

Why is Return on Involvement so important for social media ?


Social media tool geekyness is something we have build a whole media industry around. For me, this industry is the same as looking at a hammer and observing that people who invented the hammer keeps adding features to it. The hammer is important in itself, but do we need to hear everytime it has a new feature ? “Oh, you just added a flashlight to the hammer.” Good on you. It’s not the important part – not to me at least. I have added the stuff  I think is important around involvement in my involvement manifesto – which you can pick up on my website.

Has anybody ever said to you: “do you remember that time on facebook?”

And then told a great story around what you had experienced on facebook together?

Never happened to me. And I have been a lot on facebook.

The important part is how these social media tools gets you closer to people. Close enough to maintain an offline relation for sometime without seeing people all the time. I have people in the US (I live in Elsinore, Denmark) who I type (not talk) more with than my neighbour or people in my city. For better or worse. I have friends I don’t see anymore because we stopped talking and started a consistant social media relationship instead. The sort of relationship where we like each others updates a lot, but we don’t connect or meet. We don’t know each other anymore. Not in that way at least. I see a lot of her photos though. I also have a business that is facilitated by social media, so it’s a double-edged sword. But I encourage you to see it as a facilitator instead of the core of the relationship.


Typing isn’t the core of the relationship not personal or business wise.

Talking, meeting and hanging out is.” Ah those champagne nights in Stockholm”. “That one time we ran through the streets of London at 2 o clock in the morning”. “The food at that restaurant that we loved.” Business wise you can see these meetings as strategic dates. Generating stories together.  To know people. To have something in common that can’t be set as an “interest” of ours on social media. Those are the experiences we need to share in order to deepen our relationship. In order to get from know to like to trust- and to love.

That is why you need to use social media in addition to stories and use online involvement as a facilitator for offline involvement. In combination you can measure the return on involvement through hardcore online analytics tools.

So it’s not rocket science – but it is real sweet and smart, facilitated by social media.


Get on with it.






  1. Rodrigo February 6, 2013

    Hi Henriette.
    Thank you for this blog. I was surfing the net for a human-warm definition of return of involvement and this blog made it.
    I am working on a social media project and the main focus is return of involvement with community and people…how the project will be able to help/benefit more people in more communities…which is something that I feel has been lost in social media, replaced by profit, profit, profit…
    Big thank you from Costa Rica and keep it up with sharing your thoughts!!


    • Henriette February 7, 2013

      Dear Rodrigo – you are SO Welcome. I have been working around return on involvement for the past 4 years and it’s the title of my danish book ( coming out in english this summer). I’m a community girl by heart myself and think that profit is good but love and caring and actually working around involvement people is SO much better!. Im looking forward to see your project!


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