Comcast is eavesdropping on you. Are you doing your required listening?

Comcast is monitoring your blog (and probably mine) to see what you are saying about them. Obviously, if they find blogs from University of Washington students as described in this morning's NY Times story, then they are watching everywhere.  Having a big communications company monitor communications for mentions of their brand can be a bit creepy for those who unexpectedly have someone pop in on the conversation, but it's the right thing for Comcast to do.

Comcast is protecting their brand.   And the story, while giving us pause, really should be more instructive than cautionary. The web, and especially twitter, forums and the blogosphere is a giant collection of public conversations. It would be a mistake for any business, large or small, not to pay attention to what people are saying about their brands. It's free research and quite probably will yield more useful information than most focus groups.  It's an unfocus group, that focuses on you without your effort or control and the feedback is completely candid.  Your customers are talking.  Are you listening?

How to listen to what people are saying about you (for free):

  1. Create Google News Search and Blog Search Agents to scan for your company name.

  2. For good measure, back this up with a Yahoo News Search

  3. Create a Summize (now Twitter Search) query to see what people are saying right now.

Have all of these delivered to your inbox on a daily basis and then review those emails on a daily basis.  It will only take a few minutes and you may be surprised to learn what people are saying about you.  More importantly, you may geat early notice of potentially bad news and the opportunity to head it off before it becomes a mushroom cloud.

Sample: Here is a Twitter Search Query that monitors me, the GSATC, and our Tech After Five event to see what the twittersphere is saying: (link)

About Phil Yanov

Phil Yanov is a Technologist, Columnist and Public Radio Commentator.

He is the founder of Tech After Five as well as the founder and President of the GSA Technology Council and the IT Leadership Council.

His personal technology column appears in Greenville Business Magazine and the Columbia Business Journal.

He co-hosts the Your Day technology shows heard on NPR radio stations across South Carolina and is a frequent contributor to technology stories appearing on radio and television.