Its important to keep an eye on what is happening in the social side of the net and there are now some great tools that are free or free to try, check out the following:
HootSuite is a social media communications dashboard often used for online brand management. It publishes to websites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn among others.
Seesmic is a suite of freeware web, mobile, and desktop applications which allow users to simultaneously manage user accounts for multiple social networks.
PostRank delivers objective, real-time data and analysis on any topic, trend, or interest relevant to you or your business. Recently acquired by Google.
Share, compare, and leverage social media. Find new social networks by searching snikiwiki’s comprehensive encyclopedia catalog of social media.
Social Mention is a social media search engine that searches user-generated content such as blogs, comments, bookmarks, events, news, videos and more.