This visual by Mark Smiciklas depicts the challenge we have in making sense of what is going on within the social media space. It points to the need for research strategies that enable us to listen and act on relevant signals in the sea of social media noise.
How to find material that will interest your readers, and organize it so you can access it when you need it:
Read, read, and read. Read posts by other writers who are interested in the same subject as you – whether that be urbanism, productivity, photography or social media – whatever it is you’re blogging about. Read comments people have submitted. And also seek out different points of view.
You can find other blogs in your subject area through sites such as Alltop, Technorati, Google Blog Search and Loaded Web. (Tip: Some of these sites, such as Alltop and Loaded Web, will list your blog. Not automatic with Alltop, but make them a pitch.)
Subscribe to those blogs you like through a service such as Google Reader. The folks at Google make it super easy to add a subscription, find others you might like, star items, and share items you like with others. Other items such as Google Alerts and Flickr updates can come through your Google Reader account as well, so it’s all in one handy place.
Now that you’re reading your feeds each day, you’ll soon start accumulating some fabulous ideas for future posts. How to store them in a way that’s easy to access later? Set up an account with a social booking site such as Delicious.
And for fun, check out CEO Merrill Dubrow’s blog. Dubrow is president and CEO of MARC Research, a 100-person market research firm in Irving, Texas. In addition to standard web metrics, his staff measure the average length of comments (106 words), the total number of comments (1,700 in 18 months), and the number of people who have contributed more than four (115).