What to do with Social Media and Market Research?

Social media is the interesting guest at the market research party that the hosts don't quite know what to do with. (My past blogs on this topic include: Social Media, Even Home Home on the Range, and Will Private Online Communities Transform Qualitative Research

Vast numbers of people are congregating online to discuss a vast variety of issues, ranging from their social lives to what is the best server to buy for their business. It is so vast, that it is troublesome getting a handle on it. Surely, any specific online community has lots of systematic biases, so it can't be treated as projectable to anything but that community, right? Of course, the same can be said of any qualitative research. Some of the approaches and techniques that are of interest to market researchers include:

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