Next installment of "Learning about Social Media from Your Desk" (I know it’s a new month, and we’re supposed to be moving to a new topic. But we’re going to stay on the topic of blogs for a bit.)
The second reason to monitor blogs is to know what certain bloggers are saying about your industry. To get started, you need to identify which bloggers you want to watch. By ego-surfing regularly, you may start to see which bloggers are focusing your topics of interest (pro, con or otherwise). You will also see which ones are most influential by virtue of them having a number of comments and inbound links.
Then you can go back to Technorati, Blogpulse and Google blog search (or others like Ask or Blogdigger as suggested by a commenter) to search for key terms. Be sure to search in “posts” and in “tags.” Searching in posts will give you a list of blog posts that use your term. That’s handy, but depending on how generic your terms are, you may get a list of irrelevant and random posts.
A tag is the key term that the blogger has assigned to his or her post. Usually there are a few tags per blog post. By searching in tags, you’ll see posts that are specifically about your term. Of course, you can subscribe to tag searches too. Over time, you’ll learn which terms give you the most useful results.
There are good reasons for searching posts and tags. For example, not every blog uses tags (like this one, due to software troubles). But start paying attention to tags. It’s one tool that makes social media so dynamic.