We are the canaries in the buzz mine
: Virginia Postrel had a fascinating column yesterday on buzz and efforts to capture it online. The topic was TV and Usenet groups, but there are implications for weblogs and politics, media, culture, business, and more.
To see how word of mouth might affect new TV shows, Professor Godes and Dina Mayzlin, a marketing professor at the Yale School of Management, tapped this recorded form of conversation [in Internet forums]. Using online archives, they tracked postings in Usenet discussion groups at the beginning of the 1999-2000 TV season. (The paper, now under review at the journal Marketing Science, is available at www.som.yale.edu/faculty/dm324/papers.asp.)…
Looking at the relation between this online word of mouth and the programs’ ratings, the scholars got two significant results.
First, they discovered that online conversations did help predict which shows would succeed