A couple of weeks ago, Advertising Age began ranking various products (which they call brands, though I don't think it's quite the same thing) by the weekly increase in Twitter mentions. The rankings are accompanied by an assessment of the role that television commercials played in generating buzz.
While it is yet another "top ten" list, the results provide an aggregate window into where buzz or hype is trending. Top of the list, for example, are Starbucks (new fall coffees) and FIFA Soccer 13 (a new version of the EA Sports Game, promoted on television and elsewhere).
The launch of the iPhone 5 and iOS 6 seems to have landed Verizon and Google on the list, though for different reasons. Verizon was selling the iPhone 5, while Google was the beneficiary of widespread disappointment that iOS 6 dumped Google Maps in favor of a less robust Apple product.*
It's easy to look at the list and think, "Okay, Twitter is a reasonably accurate reflection of what people are talking about. Who cares?" An unrelated post by Devon Glenn of SocialTimes explains why we might care.
According to Glenn, the Financial Times (FT) is finding that social sharing generates page views. Moreover, referral traffic from social media platforms to the newspaper's online site is growing at a faster rate than any other source.
The SocialTimes post includes a graphic, supplied by the FT, that suggests the newspaper's online reach totals 3.9 million people, overwhelmingly using either Twitter or Google Plus. A survey of this community indicated that 91% use social media; 70% "find it helpful". Only 13% say it is a "waste of time".
Presenting at Firebrand's community conference last week, I suggested that metadata will increasingly have to be "global, integrated and evolutionary". Underlining the last of these, I captured a comment heard when preparing the presentation: "Collect everything that's being said about a book".
Whether for a book, a newspaper or a non-publishing business, the conversations around products are increasingly visible and trackable. It's something of a "big-data" challenge to track it all, but the FT example shows that there's an upside in all that chatter.
*If you are listening, Apple, you'll want to know that this loyal customer has repeatedly turned down your suggestion to upgrade to iOS 6. The absence of a robust mapping solution is the reason why.