The blog world is populated by folks who thrive on racing to be first to post news and getting others to link to, or “blogroll,” them. They’re naturally the opinionated, hyperconnected influencers marketers crave. Jonathan Carson, president and CEO of BuzzMetrics, a New York-based firm that mines message boards, listservs, and blogs to see what’s being said about companies, says his clients ignored blogs nine months ago. Today, more than half specifically ask whether his monitoring includes the blogosphere. “If companies focus in on what’s going on in the blog world, it’s an amazing leading indicator on what’s going to break in the real world,” he says.