COM0015: Assignment #1, Blog Post #1 – Tools & Sources (Tara MacDonald)

What are your 2 favorite social media trend listening/monitoring tools?

There are so many listening and monitoring tools that it’s hard to choose which ones are better than others. Starting out, I think it’s best to stick to the free tools while I become more comfortable with the different platforms and analyzing the metrics. My two favourite social media monitoring tools are Google Analytics and Google Trends.

Google Analytics:

Google Analytics provides quick and easy monitoring of all my Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and much much more. A click of the mouse will bring up handy statistics, charts, graphs that help me better understand who is visiting my blog, which page they landed on, clues as to what they are looking for and their level of interest in the content presented.

Google Trends:

Google Trends uses real-time search data to help me identify trends, and gauge consumer search behavior over time. I get instant access to information on search spikes, how often a search-term is entered relative to the total search-volume across different regions of the world and clues to how people search for my brand. It’s easy and quick to use and best of all it’s free!

What are the 2 best sources of news and updates of interest to you?

While I know we’re only supposed to choose two sources, in all honesty I have to list three which I use in equal measure depending on type of news I’m looking for: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


When I first started out on Facebook, I used it only to keep in touch with friends and family. In recent years, my usage of Facebook has broadened with the increasing number of group pages, a growing number of colleagues on my friend list, company and organization pages and the amount of news articles posted by my facebook ‘friends’.

With a large number of friends based around the world, I quickly and easily find international news and often find out about things before they hit the evening news. Facebook was also a great resource for me when I lived in Afghanistan. Members from the group ‘Kabul Security Now’ would contribute their knowledge ‘as it happened’. More often than not, sorting through the information obtained on this page was more reliable than large news outlets such as Reuters or CNN, etc… Being able to access this information quickly was tremendously useful in regards to planning safe travel arrangements and keeping track of what was happening where.

As an expat living in a foreign country, Facebook groups are also very useful for finding out about local events, job openings, professional networking and a useful resource when looking for location-specific advice (e.g. immigration, health, taxes, housing, etc…).


During an emergency situation, or for up to the minute information on natural or man-made disaster situations, I haven’t found anything better than Twitter.

Twitter users provide real time updates, photos and videos, without needing to wait for official news sources.

Examples of specific times when I used Twitter as my primary source of news information and updates are: hurricanes, earthquakes, terrorist attacks, the 2014 shoot-out on Parliament Hill and more recently to follow search updates for little Elijah Marsh in Toronto last February.


For industry news, trends, resource, and professional development opportunities, I rely almost solely on LinkedIn.

I’m a member in a number of highly active industry and sector groups. Emails are sent to my personal account several times a day from the different groups that I follow. From there, I can scan through events, job listings, news items, trending discussions and other information. I can easily delete or click to open and read in more detail at my leisure.

LinkedIn Groups are easy to use, convenient, interactive, informative and a great networking tool.

Do you have something to add?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions.

Please comment below! 

Want to learn more?

This post was written as a requirement for COM0015: Applied Social Media in Business. If you’re interested in learning more, check out Algonquin College’s Social Media Certificate programme today!

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