Although there are numerous social media monitoring platforms to choose from, I have found in my own experience, that Topsy and TweetReach can be among the most handy. Not only are they free, but they are also straightforward and easy to use. In my opinion, one of the most important aspects of social media monitoring is the ease of access. While it is best to have an understanding of the technology, it is equally important that the technology be user friendly.
With Topsy and TweetReach, you can monitor specific hashtags, mentions or Twitter handles simply by punching them into a search bar. The platform then aggregates the information and presents you with a report detailing the number of tweets, links, influencers, timeline and a host of other components associated with your search. TweetReach, in particular, can also show you how far your tweet has travelled – meaning, the number of clicks, impressions, etc.
While there are platforms out there that are much more advanced, albeit expensive, that go so far as to predict when a protest might be taking shape, Tweetreach and Topsy (and some might prefer Hootsuite), in my opinion are best for the everyday user.
When it comes to news aggregators, Google News has been my top choice for a number of years. Google has agreements with thousands of news outlets around the world and aggregates news to suit your individual location, history and preferences. In my opinion, it’s the closest thing I can have to a personalized local newspaper.
Google News is the only news aggregator I use on a daily basis, while Twitter is my secondary source of the up to the minute news updates.
As a news junkie, I follow a number of publications and journalists on Twitter covering a number of beats that pique my interest. Over the years I have curated the list of Twitter handles that I follow to suit the subject matters that I am most likely to be interested in – from politics, to foreign relations, to travel news, to entertainment updates, with a hint of DIY.
Of all tools online, Twitter may be one of the most comprehensive in its timeliness and brevity. This is especially useful in my line of work that requires me to remain abreast on a number of current events.