In the world of online measurement it is easy to think of it as similar to traditional media (well similar) but with the additional necessity to measure influence. In traditional media influence is not such a major factor as the medium is finite in volume, with the individual media titles having their own discernible character against which influence can ascribed.
In social media this walled-garden has been thrown open to all comers. The result is a melting pot of unlimited dimensions. In a weeks time I am presenting on media research at the CIPR and central to the presentation is some pointers on the measurement of social media and crucially some discussion on the measurement of influence.
To quote Shel Israel it is not easy to measure. He makes the point that it is easy to mistake popularity for influence, largely because popularity of easier to measure. You can consider the number of comments and the level of engagement as an proxy for popularity. The challenge to PR in the future is find who has influence in the space they are working in. The process has to start with a concise understanding of which areas of the social media space are relevant to the market place.
A key PR skill is communication and needs to be combined with the ability to research the media market. I'm imagining that we need to get used to asking the question 'who are the key media players in this space?'. Everyone will have a different take on this and only after mapping the responses will we be able to appreciate how the lines of communication run, taking us a valuable step nearer to a picture of influence.