It's important to stay on top of the buzz, to see who is talking about your brand. There's not much excuse now that there are such great tools to do this online. Here are a couple of examples:
Technorati and other blog search engines will tell you who's linked to your blog. I track this but forget to check, and as a result missed that Buzz Canuck named us as one of Canada's top 20 talking about WOM (Word of Mouth) and related issues. And Converstations gave us an honorable mention in their blue-ribbon blog list. [By the way, thanks! You guys made my day putting me in such good company!]
These search engines can also be searched for your brand name, and will tell you who is blogging about your brand. [Bloggers just do this for fun.] You need to do this to stay on top of the buzz. It needs to be on at least one person's job description to monitor, summarize and distribute. Or hire a service to do this for you. And if no one talks about you in a blog, you are either dead or really boring -- a finding in itself.
Google alerts will send you an e-mail anytime a given topic has something new that they've indexed. This is how I keep finding out about other people who share my brand name -- the artist, the PR consultant, the joke-book author, the career counselor who specializes in creative types, and one day recently, the crook.
Social tagging software such as del.icio.us allows people to tag and categorize things they find online that they want to visit again, without using bookmarks on their browser. It's a very handy tool. See how many people have saved access to your web pages by putting your company name into their search box.
I know I'm not the world's expert on this topic -- anyone care to add a few more tips to this list?