Social media makes everybody …
A NEWS STUDIO – sites like Daily Me allow republishing of personalized news
A MOVIE STUDIO – “You Tube Video Lands $30 Million Movie Deal”
A PUBLISHING COMPANY – social publishing
A GOSSIP COLUMN – Perez Hilton became one of the most read columnists in Hollywood.
With everyone contributing something on the web, attention becomes our most sought after commodity. How is anyone supposed to listen with all this chatter? The way I do it is pretty simple. Between Google Reader and Alerts, my iPhone, and Twitter I can keep a pretty good tabs on all the things I want to hear. This is my abbreviated step-by-step guide to filtering out the noise.
Get a Google Reader account.
This will allow you to aggregate subscription content from webistes through RSS feeds usually by clicking the little icon that looks like this:
You will then get updates whenever the site content changes. The best way to use your RSS Reader is to scan the headlines for anything that looks like something you want to digest. Star items that you want to come back to or email them to yourself (there are other applications for reading RSS items later, such as Readitlater or Instapaper, but I want everything in one place). Google Reader keeps starred items in a separate folder for you. Using this method will allow you to get through your RSS inbox rather quickly, keeping it from piling up. If you’re anything like me you get about 400 updates per day – reading everything is not an option and stopping to read while you are doing your sorting will only result in more pile up.
Get a Google Alerts account.
RSS subscriptions are great for keeping up with the sites you know about, but what about those sites you don’t know about? To listen on the web you need to be able to customize what content gets fed to you. Enter Google Alerts, step 2 of setting up your listening post. Simply type in the term you want to receive alerts about, change the preferences to receive updates in your Google Reader, and you are done. Anytime that term or terms hit Google’s index you will be sent an RSS alert. You can customize alerts for immediate delivery or daily digest.
NOOB quick tip: put terms like “social media” or other multiple word searches in “quotation marks” so that Alerts look for the full term.
Get an iPhone
We are not going into the details of getting an iPhone, but the takeaway here is that having a mobile device to read your feeds makes filtering, maintaining, and digesting the information much easier. I will check and filter feeds while walking the dog, waiting in line, and sitting on the bus. The app I use to read my feeds is called MobileRSS, a totally free reader that has a lot of functionality. My favorite feature is the ability to send feed items to Twitter, Email, or other places with 1-click. This allows me and my network to follow up on items of interest that I find. For example, after seeing and scanning Martin Reed’s post Online Community Metrics: numbers you need to pay attention to, I emailed the item to my team from MobileRSS. While I filtered the rest of my RSS list and then came back to the post to read it in depth, other team members had set up a meeting to discuss metrics in our community, drafted an agenda, and looked forward to discussing the issue. We recently had a productive meeting and figured out some new strategies based on this golden nugget from my listening post.
A Word About Twitter
Besides Google alerts, I also use Tweetdeck to listen. Tweetdeck is a 3rd party application that lets you maintain columns which monitor Twitter. The columns can watch your network’s activity, mentions about you, direct messages, Twitter trends, or any topic you specify in search. The usefulness here is when I’m working on Twitter related items and don’t want to keep checking my Google Reader. Since I have Tweetdeck open anyway to send messages for the company, I can simultaneously monitor Twitter for chatter about our company or any subject I am interested in. We will have to see how Google Real-time Search changes the usefulness of Tweetdeck, but for now I find it to be a good tool in the box.
So there you have it: the ways I listen on the web. What are your methods? Do you use any of these tools or something different (ex/ Net Vibes)? Does your company use a service like Radian6 to professionally monitor?