From the Perception is Reality Dept.

Interesting perspective on the current economic events and the media from a friend and fellow 90's Internet boom/bust refugee (Viant Corp), Andrew Frank of Gartner Group.

The Economy and the Media

"Whether you believe America is on the brink of another ‘30s-style Great Depression, or you quietly suspect a wave of manic exuberance could turn back the slide as quickly as it came (or, more likely, you’ll take the bell curve in the middle), you must recognize how the media’s growing use of filtered feedback from the audience has formed a trend amplifier that’s taken on a life of its own. Stories from people for whom the economy remains an ominous cloud on the horizon but have yet to miss a mortgage payment don’t make for good listening. They may provide some contrast to put the story in relief, but the story is clear, as told and retold by the audience to itself."
"So what, you say? This means that, even if you are carefully monitoring and analyzing social media, you may well be focusing your efforts on the wrong things. You may be focused too much on understanding the content of conversations (especially the subject and sentiment of messages), and not enough on understanding their velocity and resonance. We search for keywords that define the baseline of relevance – our brand, our competitors, our category – but how many are actively looking for fast-spreading stories in the places where they are germinating? And then, how many are defining their own roles in these stories, both through action and communication?"