There are several different tools that can be used to listen or monitor social media. Google Trends and Netvibes are probably the ones that I use the most often. They are simple, easy-to-use engines that can conduct multiple mechanics, searches and record the number of hits. They help to monitor a blogs online presence and the popularity of certain articles. By monitoring the views and likes, an analysis can be done and from this data new directives or actions can be undertaken.
I prefer Google Trends and Netvibes to other tools for a number of reasons. For one, Google Trends is great when comparing two or more terms because it allows you to easily observe the volume of searches between them. Another aspect of Google Trends is its ability to show how news events affect search popularity. This can be useful when looking at long term trends and seeing how people react on mass to different stimuli. Netvibes is also great because it allows you to customize your dashboard, so you can examine multiple elements of a topic at one time.
I think the two best sources of news are Facebook and Twitter just because it’s accessible to everyone, and all major businesses have a Facebook page or Twitter account. Most of the population are on these platforms, and it is so easy to disperse information because of the user ability to share information. As well, on the homepage you can see what’s trending at the moment and from this you can find the big news stories. Twitter and Facebook update by the minute, so you can take advantage of what trends are most popular and adjust accordingly.
If I were able to move into a field that studies social media, I can definitely see myself using these tools and surfing through these sources on a daily basis to try and find what interests people and advise my clients.