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Social Media Monitoring vs. Social Media Discovery

By April 30, 2010 3 Comments
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Image by Will Montague via Flickr

The problem is that there are two different social media problems, and I’m using a solution on the problem that the solution I’m using doesn’t solve.

The two different types of problems are social media monitoring and social media discovery.

Social Media Monitoring

If you’re a brand, then your problem is that you care about what everyone says about you. Partly because you’ve been brainwashed that you need to join the conversation, but also because you really should listen to and act upon feedback. The customer helps get the bills paid, so they need to stay satisfied in order for the bills to keep getting paid.

For this problem then, we need to crawl everything on-line, because we wouldn’t want to miss what anybody says. This is what social media monitoring is all about.

Social Media Discovery

However, if you’re developing a new product, then your problem is that you care about concepts people are talking about. This is a completely different problem, and I’m finding that the solution for social media monitoring, which is crawl and return everything on the internets, doesn’t really work for social media discovery. It doesn’t work because there is too much out there on-line, and a lot of it is irrelevant if you’re looking to connect with people.

For this problem then, we need to crawl a much smaller subset of sites on-line, because we don’t really care what everybody is saying… This is what social media discovery is all about.

Start With Curation

Since crawling the entire web doesn’t really work when you’re trying to quickly make a list of networked influencers around specific keywords and visualize how they’re connected to one another… what if that initial list of bloggers already existed around multiple topic areas? If a list of bloggers around a certain topic already existed somewhere (I wonder where I could find one), then, theoretically, each of those blogs could be crawled and some kind of visual could be created to illustrate the networks around topics you care about.

Then your product managers can attempt to befriend those connected bloggers as a human being.

Does such a social media discovery tool exist today?


  • […] also been talk about social media monitoring and discovery versus curation done manually by […]

  • marksysomos says:


    I think a combination of social media monitoring/discovery and curation would be an effective one-two punch. By having a target list of influencers or key opinion leaders, it makes it easier to identify and act upon the data that a monitoring/discovery service generates. That said, an advantage of monitoring/discovery is that it puts the spotlight on people (bloggers, etc.) who are influential but may not have a high profile.


    Mark Evans
    Director of Communications
    Sysomos Inc.

  • Hallicious says:

    I understand what you're saying Mark. And thanks for the comment by the way. 🙂 I'm more interested in discovering how a list of individual bloggers, people of twitter, etc. are connected to one another around the topics that I care about.