I’ve developed a routine for scanning Blogistan for hits on keywords of interest. Technorati is my primary tool for ad hoc monitoring — I would dearly love an RSS feed of those searches — and when I am ultra paranoid or inquisitive I turn to Google Blog Search and Pubsub for a quick scan.
The company does subscribe to a blog monitoring service — I won’t disclose who — and they ping us when they detect a post of interest that may deserve a response. Surprisingly, a lot of “alerts” come from friends who happen upon items of interest to me. In fact, some of the more substantial interactions I’ve had with bloggers has not been due to tools or my own detection efforts, but from direct referrals.
I am beta testing an exciting tool — again, I won’t disclose the details — but in theory it should transform how corporate communications and customer service groups attack the monitoring issue.
The tough nut to crack is triage and multi-language monitoring. Technorati does a great job finding stuff — unfortunately I can only understand half of it, which means I need to find “watchers” in multiple languages to keep an eye on the buzz in Mandarin, French, whatever ….. Triage is knowing how to direct a detected post to the right owner inside of the organization … a tall order if you don’t have a lot of institutional knowledge and know precisely who is the person to deal with a specific complaint or issue.
While a lot of Naked Conversation type of discussion focused on how corporations should blog and comport themselves online, not a lot has been devoted to the monitor, detect, and react element of the equation. I suspect a lot of home grown systems — such as my own, are in deployment, a lot of accidental discovery occurs, and a lot of money is spent on professional monitors which may or may not detect issues soon enough.
The other thing I’ve been thinking about is using blog monitoring to establish a sentiment benchmark of positive or negative comments about a brand, product, or person. There has to be a simple way to rate blog posts and the subsequent comments on a happy or sad continuum.
This is the most demanding stuff in interactive marketing as it crosses a lot of departments, many of whom may not want to hear that there are issues being discussed out in the aether.