We already know how thought leaders, marketers and even Everyman go to online comments, ranging from those following articles in The New York Times to what's posted on Facebook, to get a finger on the pulse of public opinion.
In Tech Crunch, Ingrid Lunden reports, "Thomson Reuters is now incorporating sentiment analysis gained from Twitter for its Eikon market analysis and trading platform." The company will capture and present, using state-of-the art graphics, the sentiment which could provide insight into the value of what is traded on financial markets. Here is that coverage in Tech Crunch.
In December 2012, Nielsen announced a partnership with Twitter to build the Nielsen Twitter TV Rating. That would be an add-to its iconic way of monitoring and measuring TV viewing. This new metric would focus more on engagement. Here is the coverage.
Obviously, those seeking to influence have these new low-cost tools. Should they become adept in using them they could carve out a fresh competitive advantage. Investor relations at Company X could create a contest for MBA students to tweet analysis of their positioning in the global toy market. The most insightful tweeter will receive a scholarship and job interview. Sure, there is risk. But that's the fundamental of capitalism.
However, as with every human creation, this one can be gamed. A hedge fund, planning to short a stock, can plant glowing perspectives on Twitter. Other investors go long. For this reason, it's imperative to know one's source. If it's anonymous, beware.
Also, for potential influencers in social media there's the danger of relying excessively on what is attracting followers and likes. That prevents their own experimentation. Consequently, they don't craft their own unique voice. Influence takes time to build.