The blogosphere's take on the Wall Street meltdown

The financial crisis and proposed $700 billion Wall Street bailout is the current topic of conversation at virtually all traditional news outlets. BuzzLogic turned its attention to blog entries posted September 1 or later to determine whether it was consistent with traditional media's take that America is dealing with the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

The financial crisis and proposed $700 billion Wall Street bailout is the current topic of conversation at virtually all traditional news outlets. BuzzLogic turned its attention to blog entries posted September 1 or later to determine whether it was consistent with traditional media's take that America is dealing with the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. There were a number of trends.

•    When Buzzlogic looked at the term “financial crisis,” influential blogs included Financial newspaper, Fabius Maximus, and Hullabaloo. Some of the mainstream media blogs that also come in as influential are The Corner on National Review, The Atlantic's Daily Dish and The Wall Street Journal's Real Time Economics. Influence is determined by factoring over a dozen criteria including posting habits and linking activity.

•    Influential bloggers saw through the semi-rosy outlook that the government painted in early September and many have taken a cynical tone towards the crisis. A post on September 19th by Analog Giant describes the author's extreme disgust with the rich being irresponsible and the unfairness of making taxpayers pay for their mistakes, an entry that echoes Pajamas Media blogger John Cole. YesButNoButYes's influential post on September 29 titled My American Dream, Come True! sums up the overall influential blogger commentary, stating that the American people would become corporate titans and land barons when the bailout plan goes through.

•    Other influential bloggers are trying to be proactive about personal finance situations, writing about sites that will help consumers find financial information on the Web, for example. Financial newspaper had the second most influential post on September 1st, which urged people to plan for the future by consolidating debt, because we are far from the end of a recession.

•    Looking at the terms “Wall Street” and “bailout,” we found that 32% of the influencers are discussing banks, 21% are discussing AIG, and 16% use the term “crisis.” Influential blogs on these terms include Punditry, Firedoglake, and The Washington Note.  

•    BuzzLogic also took a look at what the blogosphere was saying about the two companies that kicked the crisis into gear last week: Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers. During the time frame, 1,788 posts discussed Lehman Brothers and 2,757 discussed Merrill Lynch; however, more influential posts talk about Lehman Brothers -- 112 on Lehman to 72 posts on Merrill. Interesting to note: Of the 112 influential posts on Lehman Brothers, 26% include Merrill Lynch while 36% of the posts on Merrill Lynch include Lehman Brothers.
 
Virtually everyone agrees that we're in dire financial straits. (Well, almost everyone -- an influential post from Valleywag claims that the Valley is not yet feeling the affects of the problems.) Like the traditional media, the blogosphere is anxious to see if the government's bailout plan will make a difference.

Brand marketers and PR execs have their work cut out for them, and it's not just around budget cuts. Consumers, often identified as part of the influential blogger mix, have seen through the traditional media spin early in the month, and are now watching to see how this will really impact their bottom lines. When targeting these influencers, marketers need to take into account the tone of the conversations within the blogs, as it has a much more cynical slant than the traditional media coverage. 

Evaluation and analysis by BuzzLogic's Insights. Insights determines blog influence by factoring over a dozen criteria, including posting habits and linking activity. Based on the analysis of 2,536 blog postings from September 1-21, 2008. 

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