I wonder how many of you really know what others are saying about you in public. I monitor a lot of social media streams -- and I can tell you that your students and participants (past, present and future) are talking about your office, your program, YOU. I see it every day. I've seen students complain online -- in blogs and Twitter, for example, about their study abroad office and study abroad advisors in blunt, unfiltered terms.
So how can you monitor what's going on? A very easy way is with Google Alerts - a simple and powerful tool Google Alerts is a free service offered by Google that provides automated search notification by email or web feed about the latest information appearing online that matches the queries (searches) you have set up.
Google Alerts are useful for providing automated searches and notifications in a wide range of functions including:
- Monitoring online references to your office, organization, programs, individuals (you might want to track your own name!)
- Tracking new information about partners, competitors or areas of international education
- Following a news story
- Tracking specific personal or professional topics of interest
- Following a political/policy issue
You can search on all types of keywords and phrases -- but be aware that how you set them up will affect the amount and quality of the alerts you receive. For example, setting up an alert for
will get you every single notification of "international" AND "education". You'll be buried in the avalanche of notifications.! However, setting up an alert for
"international education" (notice the use of quotes)
will notify you only of those sites, etc. that use the phrase "international education". Much more targeted. You may need to play around with your alerts to get them just right. Don't worry, they are all editable at any time!
TYPES OF ALERTS
Your Google Alerts queries can consist of keywords or phrases or variations of a phrase. Google alerts allows users to configure one of 6 variations of alerts – Blogs, Groups, News, Video, Web, and Comprehensive. The latter includes all of the other five alert types -- and that's the one I recommend.
FREQUENCY OF ALERTS
With Google Alerts users can also configure the frequency of your automated search notifications – from "as it happens" to "once a day" to "once a week". I recommend that you set your alerts to, at the miminum "Once A Day". If you're in crisis mode, you may need to use "As It Happens".
While you won't catch everything with Google Alerts, you may be surprised at what you get -- and it may enable you to respond to problems before they get out of hand!
- Google Alerts and SEO (marketing.yell.com)
- Use Google Alerts as an Identity Theft Personal Watchdog [Security] (lifehacker.com)
- How To Use Google Alerts For Quick and Easy Domain Alerts (seomoz.org)
- Why Should I Set Up Google Alerts? (theworkathomewife.com)
- Google Public Alerts launches to provide information in crisis situations (tnooz.com)