The first X– rays were discovered in 1895 by Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, and now firms are racing to create an equally prescient technology to scan the great body of internet content. IT firms offer tools to literally x-ray the Internet to extract these precious data. By actively monitoring the conversations that are taking place online, companies including sinotechgroup in China and JamiQ in Singapore can get a good sense of what consumers, clients and industry analysts are saying about products, services, the competition and track any other related content that is published online. CIC Data in Shanghai has real people scanning the blogs and BBS’s in China for clients. In other words, social media monitoring tools (sophisticated crawlers or spiders or researchers) are now able to scan the web to look for all the words that are associated with a brand or a product. The results are usually broken down using indicators like “Influence” (SMI – social media influence) or “sentiment”. The influence is a quantitative approach of the buzz. Measuring the influence means measuring the intensity of the buzz generated by a social media campaign, a product launch, etc. In other words, what is the quantity of discussions, blogs, messages that carry the words we’re tracking. The sentiment is a qualitative approach. It is more difficult because it means that words have to be categorized into “positive” or “negative”. If words like “bad”, “slow” or “crappy” are often used, the sentiment trend will be negative. A good example is the product launch of Windows Vista. Sentiment was probably clearly negative shortly after the first sales. A close analysis of social media trends could have shown these risks when the products was in the testing phase. Here is an example of an Online Reputation Management program (as offered by Sinotechgroup). As you can see, we’re already offering a part of these services: • Consulting and client needs analysis • Online reputation audit • Strategy setting with goals and objectives • Implementation plan • Review of the corporate web site content • Organic search engine optimization (SEO), including web site content development (text, video, images), keyword optimization and link building • Online press release distribution • Blog marketing (blog posting and commenting) • Social media marketing (establish profiles at Google, social network sites, � video photo sharing sites) • Selection and installation of monitoring tools • Data mining • Reporting and evaluation • Continuing online monitoring and reputation management Social media monitoring seem to become the bridge that links traditional PR to web marketing. The monitoring of social media performance has become a key element that we need to develop as we offer clients to help build or protect their brands. Free tools JamiQ and Sinotechgroup, among others, are firms that sell social media monitoring tools and services. As usual, a lot of free tools are also available online. Here is a non-exhaustive list: TREND monitoring tools Google Trends give the possibility to compare the world’s interest in a particular topic by showing how often they’ve been searched on Google over time. Google Trends also shows how frequently a topic has appeared in Google News stories, and in which geographic regions people have searched for them most. Useful for: measuring the impact of a social media campaign, analysing the popularity of a client or an event, etc. www.blogpulse.com (by Nielsen)BlogPulse allows to identify trends generating buzz across blogs. It helps to identifies the topics and subjects that people are talking about in their blogs. Useful for: Media monitoring, crisis communication, measuring the impact of a social media campaign. Blog search tool http://blogsearch.google.com/ Google blog search is a powerful tool to search through blogs that do not always index on the main Google search engine. Useful for: (same than Blogpulse) Media monitoring, crisis communication, measuring the impact of a social media campaign. EMAIL & RSS ALERTS tool Alerts are a good way to get an overview of what is going on . You can use Google and Yahoo alerts to subscribe to keywords or urls. Gigaalert is a paying service. www.google.com/alertsalerts.yahoo.comwww.gigaalert.compipes.yahoo.com/pipes: Yahoo pipes is another powerful tool to aggregate and mashup content from across the web. FORUM search tools Important conversations don’t always happen on blogs. The following tools can help to find topics in forums. www.boardtracker.com� www.big-boards.com In medical terms, too many x-rays can be bad for the health. In PR2.0 the industry standard for X-rays has yet to be found – in 1901 Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen won the Nobel Prize for Physics; will the same prize await one of the many pioneers of internet measurement?