Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Measuring the Impact of Thought Pieces

A new acquaintance recently published a provocative piece addressing the subject of social enterprise in an influential business media outlet. He was curious what kind of post-publication life his article was commanding in terms of press pickup, social bookmarking, reader feedback, and the resulting footprint of organizations and peer-experts linking to it on their own sites.

Most of the territory covered is aimed at the vain anxiety our names and effects will go public but escape our notice. There's more than a few utilities designed to consolidate our social media profiles: "our interfaces don't miss a single interaction, blah, blah, blah."

What I liked about this exercise was that it wasn't email or password-based. The only detail was the article itself. This is actually plenty if we're pursuing the power of an idea (as opposed to the browser used by our site visitors).

As far as recipes go the easiest and most literal way to trace an article on the web is to perform a link analysis. To do this you save the URL and then see who's linked to it.

A second more effective way is to allow for your keywords to appear in the "anchor." Anchor means the words that the linking party uses to describe the page it's linking to. As you'll see this gives a more thorough result -- including some cheeky tweets.

Capturing the social media piece is a little more fleeting than garnering page links. As we saw in the Yahoo example we're limited to the exact URL. URLs are becoming less static over time -- especially as they age and publishers pull them offline. This largely limits the amount of conjecture you'll get. It's not that Dashboard to end all buzz factors.

Again it helps to be less specific but there is no definitive source. Here's another example of a selective media universe where first and last name are the only terms in play.

When the promise of comprehensive profiling turns into the scattershot footprints of puny indexes I do what any rationale researcher does. I retreat back to Google. This is a Google query that focuses only on a news aggregation tool called Digg.

... and on Facebook.

Finally, here are two novel visuals for depicting links. The first from Google captures all links into ft.com that mention the author's name.

The second is not a search interface but a multi-dimensional view of recent media generation on the topic called Silo Breaker -- not specific to the original article but a big picture view to rival the most panoramic thought piece.

Happy fishing.

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attentionSpin is a consulting practice formed in 1990 to create, automate and apply a universal scoring system (“The Biggest Picture”) to brands, celebrities, events and policy issues in the public eye. In the Biggest Picture, attentionSpin applies the principles of market research to the process of media analytics to score the volume and nature of media coverage. The explanatory power of this research model: 1. Allows practitioners to understand the requirements for managing the quality of attention they receive 2. Shows influencers the level of authority they hold in forums where companies, office-seekers, celebrities and experts sell their visions, opinions and skills 3. Creates meaningful standards for measuring the success and failure of campaigns and their connection to marketable assets.