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December 14, 2010
Listening In the Internet 'Hallway'
 
You're going to be hearing more about this as we get further into the social media age, but  Alex Greenwood outlines the case for monitoring social media as a means of growing a business (or other organization) and protecting its interests. Isn't that what PR is about? And thanks to our colleague Kelly A. Meyers at our sister blog Digital Pivot, we can introduce you to a great monitoring tool for Twitter and Facebook.

Kelly calls it information aggregation. But that's what monitoring can accomplish, bringing together streams of information. Alex Greenwood likens social media monitoring to being out in the hallway, say, the Internet, listening to the talk there. How do you know your organization's name will come up? You don't until it does, or a reporter calls. But even if your organization doesn't come up for a while, the names of competitors, or the emergence of new business conditions, will be generating buzz. If you're listening, you'll be gaining valuable new business intelligence. 

"Companies and organizations that monitor the social media space today – and use the data to address problems and opportunities –are years ahead of the game," Greenwood believes. "Aha," he adds, "a competitive edge. Who doesn't like that?"

But who, especially if you're a small business, has the time to sit scanning Twitter and the other social media streams?  Well, Kelly Meyers just introduced us on Digital Pivot to Paper.li, a great means of monitoring Twitter and Facebook, one that allows you to create a free personal "newspaper" of the people you're following there, just like that. And spiral16, where Alex Greenwood is being interviewed, is offering proprietary software to monitor those and other channels. 

Internet listening is on its way to becoming a vocational art. Don't overlook the importance of becoming at least an amateur artist. And if you're in a big enough company, the "hallways" assignment is becoming obligatory. 
 

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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