What would be the keep performance indicators that can tell me whether my site/institution is mentioned/popular on the blog sphere?

Probably the best way is to:

Get an RSS reader program and set up alerts for the results pages of your key phrases.

So like your name.. name of site.. and url of site.

Google News
Google Blog Search
Ice Rocket
Serph
Google, Yahoo, MSN,
technorati

Go to these and search the three things and then rss feed that url and you will get update when your site or name is used online.