February 16, 2010
/ by jay.krall
Photo courtesy of jbaker5 via Flickr
In the week since Google announced its newest social Web tool, Google Buzz, bloggers have been doing what bloggers do when a new tool arrives: expressing their excitement, exposing its flaws, debating its significance and impact on competitors, and so forth.
Using the Cision Social Media Dashboard, I analyzed about 200,000 blog posts, tweets, forum posts, videos and other social messages online discussing the launch of Google Buzz, which integrates new social features into Gmail. Below are the 10 most influential blog posts based on a formula which weighs three factors in decreasing order of importance: comment count, inbound links and votes on social bookmarking sites like Digg. (I chose to employ that specific formula but there is plenty of flexibility in the Dashboard regarding how you choose to weigh influence.)
I noticed that in conversations about Google Buzz on the whole, positive comments outnumbered negative ones more than 7 to 1. Generally, people seem pretty excited about the opportunity to work with content from Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and elsewhere in the same place where they send and receive email. In the top 10 posts below, however, you’ll notice a higher proportion of skepticism and negativity.
Five of the 10 most influential posts about Google Buzz focus on a privacy flaw in the initial release (which Google later corrected) which caused some personal contact information to be published unwittingly.
A rule of thumb about influence in news coverage and conversations is at play here: flaws and conflict are more compelling than enthusiasm. Just about every time I slice and dice data on a topic like this, I find a higher proportion of critical commentary in the most influential posts. That’s something for PR professionals to keep in mind generally: for every highly visible criticism, often messages of enthusiasm await further down the list.
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