It can be challenging to figure out what social media monitoring tools are best for you when you are just getting started in the field. There are a plethora of services out there designed to monitor media for you; however, most of them are paid services. Like most things, knowing how to do the basics on your own will help inform your decision when it comes time to invest in a paid service.</span>
To monitor what is going on in my field, I primarily use Google Trends, and RSS feeds.
Google trends track search terms over time. It also allows you to compare trends. With Google Trends, you can look for keywords related to your industry and see how people are using these terms to search. For example, suppose you are a climate scientist, and you want to write an article for the general public on climate change. You know that Climate Change is the correct scientific term, but you know a lot of people use the phrase ‘Global Warming.’ You can use Google Trends to see what terminology is used in which region. This can influence how you use jargon in your article.
Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a tool I like to use to gather articles on topics related to my business. I work in Web Development and Multimedia, so there are several sources where I want to read their entire feed (A List Apart – for example). If I want an entire syndication from a publisher, I add the RSS link to Feedly where I can categorize my feeds. I can create my custom RSS feeds with Google News, then I can add them to my feeds on Feedly. On my various devices, I then use applications to aggregate the feed into something I can easily read.
I’ve found it useful to use Google Trends and RSS in conjunction with each other. Articles on RSS will often mention something in my industry I’ve never heard of. If I hear of it a few times, I’ll check Google Trends to see if searches for the mention from RSS is spiking at all. If it is, I’ll add that specific feed to RSS for a while to further monitor.
I prefer deep reading. Twitter and linked in are valuable sources of information in my field, I use them all the time for distributing my content and engaging others. When it comes to monitoring what’s going on in my industry, neither of these platforms has the depth I’m looking for. Too much chatter going on.
Sources of Information
The two best sources of news and updates in my profession are Smashing Magazine and Shop Talk Show.
Smashing has excellent articles where they discuss ideas, ethics, coding practices – everything that has to do with my day to day work. I like the material, I like the User Experience of working with their content, and they are very friendly and engaging.
ShopTalk Show is a podcast about front end web development. They explain new things technology trends, discuss hit might stick and what will pass. The advantage Shop Talk has over other channels for me is the format. Because it is a podcast, I can listen to it while driving to and from work.
Both Smashing and ShopTalk have excellent production. The attention to detail means a lot to me. There are other websites and podcasts for sure; it is the quality of the material covered in combination with a high bar of excellence that keeps me coming back.