We’ve looked at the people involved in a conversation, and at the topics you should be investigating. Where are those conversations happening?
There are hundreds of thriving communities, thousands of forums, and millions of comment threads to cover, but there are a small number of communities that will drive much of your traffic. Fortunately for us, popular communities also follow power laws. We also have tools such as search to help us, and many of the communities make their sites searchable through APIs and aggregators.
Your first instinct might be to register yourself on as many sites as possible, some of which are listed in Figure 13-19, and search for conversations involving your brand.
Figure 13-19. The now-defunct usernamecheck.com allowed you to verify whether your name was taken on popular Web 2.0 sites
That’s a good step, but while it might reserve your seat at the communal table, it won’t let you sit down and interact. Before we delve into the ways we can track online activity, let’s first cover the types of community on the Web today.
Also check out www.claimid.com and similar offerings that manage all of your online profiles with OpenID.
We can divide up models of online interaction according to two important dimensions: the complexity of their messages, and how openly those messages are shared.