In the history of mankind it has never been easier to figure out who's talking behind your back. Anything published on the Internet is available to the whole world — so you should be able to see it right? Well, many people still don't realize just how easily you can find out who's talking about you — in real time. This kind of tacit knowledge is vital for successful businesses in the fast paced world of the Internet.
I've been using several great tools to find out what people are saying about me for a while now. Its really cool when I can respond to potential customers who are having troubles — without them even contacting me first! I've been able to do this many times and it inevitably leads to a great relationship with these people. Its funny how confused they are when I contact them — they generally have no idea how I could possibly have seen their blog post or tweet.
You can find out when people are happy with you and when they are not — but either way it gives you the opportunity to build great relationships.
Here are 3 tools that I use on a consistent basis:
- Google Alerts — http://google.com/alerts
You can set up search terms into Google Alerts and Google will actually email you on a daily basis with any content it finds on the Internet about the search term. You have several options with Google Alerts, you can just grab an RSS feed or have it email you. You can set it up to update you in real time (as soon as Google sees something) or once a day. Typically this pulls information from any indexed websites on the internet so you can get a really good idea about what people are saying.
I actually set Google Alerts to monitor my name “Blair Williams” but in my case, it showed me just how little people are talking about me … but I have learned plenty about the beautiful female character from Terminator Salvation named Blair Williams who apparently “Kicks Ass and is All Girl!” Luckily, my monitoring of “Pretty Link” has gone much better — naturally, the more unique the term you're searching is to you, the more relevant the results … So if your name is John Smith, it may not do you much good.
- Twitter Search — http://search.twitter.com
This is a great way to search for what people are saying about you in real time on Twitter. Twitter search isn't foolproof — some users aren't even included in the search results (a problem I haven't seen Twitter acknowledge anywhere — but my Twitter username: @supercleanse isn't included in the search results for some strange reason) — but for the most part it ROCKS! I can type in “Pretty Link” and see any tweets containing that phrase within the last 7 days.
Twitter Search is novel at best when used as a search engine for tweets — because who wants to sit there and refresh the search results all day. The real benefit is found when using Twitter Search within a tool like TweetDeck: http://tweetdeck.com/beta/ … In TweetDeck you can setup a feed that regularly updates the most recent tweets on any given search term.
- Collecta — http://collecta.com
Collecta is a brand new search engine — the first “real-time” search engine that I know of. It aggregates all kinds of information on the web as it happens and so it will show all of the tweets about a given topic, any blog posts, blog post comments, videos, or photos anywhere, anytime they are published!
Collecta has a great User Interface — I just open a new window in my browser and get a few searches going. I leave it on all day … so if anything comes across, I'll see it immediately. I still use TweetDeck a bit more just because I have to set everything up again if I close my browser — but hopefully soon there will be a tool that works with collecta.
I'm sure there are several tools I've omitted from this list — if you have any real-time search tools you like to use feel free to share 🙂 … But hopefully these will help you to start monitoring your online presence.