COM011 Blog Post #1 – Tools & Sources

Back to school!

I love the questions I get to ponder here at Algonquin – such as – “what are my two favourite social media trend listening/monitoring tools?”

The two I like the most, and thus use the most, are Hootsuite and Google Alerts.  Now I have to preface this by saying that I am less inclined to use Google Alerts on a regular basis now that Google Reader has been discontinued.  I chose the tools because I liked the simplicity and the user friendliness aspect as I was already extremely comfortable with the Gmail (Google mail) set up/format.  The cleanliness of the format, if I can say that, is really what attracted me to and kept me using the tools.

Hootsuite on the other hand drew me in because I needed to use a tweet scheduler and Hootsuite was suggested by a friend and although I’ve looked at others, I like the simple format and numerous things I can do with Hootsuite like look at statistics, schedule tweets, keep track of mentions, messages, hashtag uses etc.  I currently Hootsuite on a regular basis to develop and manage Twitter content for a local non-profit and I really enjoy the simplicity of the tool in the sense that it does what I need and helps me to help the organization to achieve its goals in terms of connecting and maintaining a presence on Twitter.

The next question ‘du jour’ is “what are the two best sources of news and updates of interest to me?”

I will be brutally honest: cbc.ca and globeandmail.com .  The way I see it, if anything hits the proverbial fan, these websites will tell me in an instant.  The day the world waited for Kate Middleton to give birth I was checking cbc.ca, not Twitter or Facebook.  Perhaps this is because, as much as I am on the social media bandwagon, I am still a believer in traditional sources of information (especially for news) and then turn to social media for supplementary commentary as it’s usually more interesting, more relevant and more accessible.

I also must explain that I have limited privacy in my cubicle at work and when I want to take a brain break or check on a developing story, it is much quicker and less frowned up (all my perception of course) to glide over to globeandmail.com or cbc.ca than to take a few minutes to sign into Facebook or Twitter.  In this sense, using the former rather than the later contributes to my professional development in the sense that I will keep rather than lose allies in the office and it’s probably in my organization’s best interests for me to have my eye caught by an article on the former websites rather than the later.  All of that said, you can read interest stories on the former, you just have to hunt a little more for them than you do on Facebook on Twitter.  I suppose that I inherently regard Twitter and Facebook as social tools rather than authoritative, work-related tools, except of course if I am tasked to use them in the course of my work.

These sources, of course, are for personal rather than professional use.  When I am developing and managing content for the local non-profit I don’t solely rely on traditional media as I am seeking to share interesting tidbits, events and culture through social media and must thus embrace various sources.  I am almost fearful of your reaction to my reliance on the traditional media sources of yesteryear, but would be curious to know if other social media bandwagoners (??) are also still keen on traditional media.