The days of searching through reams of newspaper print for stories that are applicable to our lives are in their twilight. RSS feeds (aka blogs) and Google Alerts change the way that valuable information is delivered. In this segment, I would like to specifically deal with Google Alerts and how they can change our information flow.
For several years, I have used Google Alerts to comb the Internet for specific topics, and basically I thought of the alerts as a little geek secret. However, when I heard a popular talk show host discussing Google Alerts the other day, I realized the pervasiveness and utility of this tool and kicked myself for not sharing.
Basically, you can think of Google Alerts like an “always on” Google Search. Without being technical, as soon as Google becomes aware of a web page that is pertinent to your specific search criteria, you are sent an email with the link(s) to the applicable pages. For example, I have an Alert for (“Internet real estate marketing”), and whenever web pages/blogs are posted on the Internet that fall under that criteria, I am sent an email with links to those pages. To keep from receiving hundreds of emails, I set the alert to only send me one email a day (at most), but you can also set the alert to work in real time.
If you are watching a specific market carefully, Sevierville, for example, you can set a Google Alert to (“sevierville, tn real estate development”), and if your scope is even narrower you can tailor your terms (“bearden tn retail”). Of course, if you are watching global trends you can expand your search criteria (“baby boomer second home”).
Of course, you may still want to pick up the newspaper from time to time (for old time’s sake), but embracing this technology is like hiring a personal research assistant (for FREE!) to keep you abreast of your hot-button items.