The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article recently that profiled several online influencers who search and post news and information on social bookmarking sites, and then other users vote on their favorite submissions.

Aside from discovering that these influencers range from 12-year-olds to computer programmers to news junkies, what I found interesting is the implications for the future of research.

News and information is gathered by everyday people, ranked by the community and posted online. If you want to instantly gauge the pulse of a new product or promotion, these sites are the place to do it.

Speaking as a news junkie myself, I can’t stress enough the importance of RSS and monitoring the Internet – for clients, for your own company, for your job knowledge. Sites such as Digg, Del.icio.us and TechMeme are good starting points to find out what’s being said about your company and your products.

— Tonja Deegan