Monday, May 22, 2006

PRO's and the news - get some help

A simple question - what external information is needed by communications people?

Answer – not so simple….

Would an effective, rapidly updated web monitoring system provide the solution? Probably not, if the volumes are at all large, particularly if the brief is to collect data on the competitors and markets as well. Most see the need to receive a resumé of key facts presented in an accessible (ideally graphical) manner, into which the receiver can drill, eventually arriving at the media source.

However, there is news - we seem to be entering the age of semi-intelligent automated searching (well possibly)

Each morning you will open your desktop, be greeted by a review of quantitative data relating to your organisation and a designated selection of contemporaries. This continuously updating review of media output will be directed to collect only what you tell it to, plus it will learn about you, your interests and job patterns, presenting you with an increasingly intelligent selection of relevant data.

Could be a far-flung wonder….?

Possibly, but a series of developments have recently been launched which will help with this process and shows the way the developers are thinking.

The new Trends component introduced to Google (www.google.com/trends) could provide one of sizable step on the way to fulfilling this need, particularly if it could be taken with a RSS feed and combined into something a bit like the new Factive2 module.

The Google solution warrants investigation – all you do is put in a company name and a few competitors and see a graph over time illustration of searches on the name, plus a comparison with news featuring them. It also looks for ‘spikes’ in the news and provides links to news items relevant. While it is only a test module and a bit clunky, it is a genuine step in a new direction and certainly worth a look.
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