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Listen First!: Turning Social Media Conversations into Business Advantage by Stephen D. Rappaport

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Chapter 2

Evaluate and Select Listening Solutions

Conversational listening methods are rooted in the tradition of media-content analysis, a process that enables researchers to learn what people are saying, writing, or commenting on. Used during and since World War II, content analysis has provided insights for military, academic, and business purposes. For many years, the process relied on trained individuals (“coders”) to manually extract terms, brand names, people, organizations, issues, actions, relationships, and sentiments from all types of published materials: magazines, newspapers, journals, transcripts, images, and proprietary comments from open-ended questionnaire items. The ability to process the coded information for statistical analysis has advanced from manual methods to mainframes to smaller, more powerful computers and, more recently, Web-based services.

Free or low-cost blogging tools from such service providers as Blogger, Twitter, and WordPress, along with the creation and deployment of customer feedback and ratings systems for products (Bazaarvoice), video and photo sharing (YouTube, Flickr), social bookmarks (Digg), and social networks like Facebook, Orkut, and CyWorld have broadened content analysis from the study of mass media sources to everyday conversations, especially those held online. With a few mouse clicks or touchpad taps, anyone can become a writer, replier, publisher, producer, commentator, reviewer, pundit, advocate, or even jerk, on a new and ...

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