It’s an axiom of public relations that good word of mouth can buoy a product/service and bad buzz can kill it.  It seems the marketing industry is learning the facts all over again in social media.  This time, however, marketers are trying to measure the exact effects of buzz in Twitter, blogs, Facebook, etc.   Some are finding effects. others not.  In other words, they have the same measurement challenge PR has been living with since its inception.  That is, we know it makes a difference and we can see change, but it is damnably hard to reduce it to numbers.  Since social media is coming to the fore as a force in marketing, there is a push to capture it in numbers.  Maybe this time analysts will find an algorithm that works across the board and is simple so everyone can use it.  Thus far, there doesn’t appear to be one.  However, the power of the hive mind shouldn’t be discounted.  What is concerning is that analysts will rest on near-measurement that doesn’t conform to reality such as gross ratings points or clicks. 

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