COM0015 – Blog #1: Tools & Sources

When it comes to listening tools and news sources there are plenty of options to choose from! I personally prefer using Google Alerts (combined with Feeder) and Social Searcher as my listening tools. When it comes to news and updates, I turn mostly to Twitter and The Big Story Podcast (The Big Story, n.d.), but I must admit also turn to traditional media often for my daily news. 

Favourite Listening Tools

1. Google Alerts (with Feeder!) 

Photo by Serpstat on

Google Alerts was the very first listening tool I was ever introduced to, but I have to say, it has always been a favourite! It is very simply to put your keywords into (or remove and change if they aren’t working) and gives you the very simple option of receiving your updates by email or RSS Feed. When you combine this with Feeder, your RSS feeds show up in a well-organized page that you can quickly skim through and click on links for more information. I find this very helpful when I conduct my scan early in the morning. I enjoy this tool over others as is scans the internet and brings all related articles into one place. While I do have to filter out the non-related articles, I have been working on my keywords to help eliminate this. Google Alerts works extremely well in my field and I am always the first to bring the new stories to the office. 

2. Social Searcher

Photo by Armin Rimoldi on

Social Searcher is a program I learned about just a few months ago. This is one of my favourite listening tools as it searches 11 different social media platforms in one shot. Once it pulls up all the relevant hits based on your keywords, you may then click on each link, or look at the breakdown of all the hits based on sentiment, users, what links they are clicking, and what keywords are being most used. This not only helps you understand your audience’s emotions and what they think of your organization, it also lets you get ahead of any problems before they become too large. Additionally, since it gives you common keywords, this helps you update your keywords on other listening tools. Social Searcher also allows you filter your search by language, post types, and social media platforms – this can be very helpful when trying to find information relevant to your geographic area or commonly used platforms. 

Best News Sources

1. Twitter

I enjoy using Twitter as a news source because I can quickly see what is trending and being talked about right on the first page without digging. This is very helpful in my profession so we can get ahead of any major events and be ready to post our response to international crisis. 

2. The Big Story Podcast

I enjoy a variety of Podcasts, but for news specifically, I enjoy The Big Story Podcast (The Big Story, n.d.). This podcast focuses on real Canadian issues, it appears to be well researched and very informative. It also has very informed guest speakers – which makes each episode different and interesting. This podcast discusses topics such as the COVID-19 pandemic, major news stories, and consumer reports. It always provides a unique view and I enjoy listening to it.  

Those are just some of my favourite listening tools and new sources, what are your favourites? Have you used something different? Tell me about it in the comments below!


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Rimoldi., A. (September 21, 2020). Serious student reading document with homework in park. Retrieved From

Serpstat. (August 30, 2017). Silver Imac Displaying Line Graph Placed on Desk. Retrieved from:

Social Searcher. (no date). No title. Retrieved from

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COM0015 – Blog #1 Tools & Sources

I seem to be behind the times when it comes to using social media listening tools. I have never used an RSS feed or thought to use Google Alerts. If something doesn’t make obvious sense to me, I tend to shy away from it instead of trying to figure it out. Unfortunately, I have always thought of these tools as being complicated. Thankfully, after learning a little bit more about RSS feeds and other trend listening tools, I am no longer intimated by them and will try them out. This will help save time and garner faster results.

In my industry, we do a lot of work with major corporations and I have found the two trend listening tools that I use is Google News and Twitter. I like Google News because of the search capabilities. I can look for a specific corporation within a certain time frame and I can find many different articles quickly to gather information on them. We then turn around and use that information to help sell ourselves to them in hopes to get their business. I also use Twitter for mainstream news. Twitter is a great tool as you can search using hashtags to find topics you’re interested in. It’s also great because of the way it uses short headlines to grab your attention. If you’re not interested in a particular tweet, it takes no time at all to just scan over it and move on.

In my personal life, I use BuzzFeed and Facebook, as well as Twitter, as my main sources of news. I find these social media platforms give you a wide variety of information on many diverse topics. I believe it is very important to be in the know when it comes to current events. It allows us to have intelligent conversations with our peers, and also to make informed decisions in our everyday lives.

In my job, being up to date with what is happening in the world is very important. It’s not always obvious to us when a corporation has an issue that we believe we can help them with. More often than not we have to go looking for issues that they didn’t even know they had. Being able to get out in front of a problem is key and having the right social media tools to do that has proven helpful.

COM0015, Blog 1: Tools and Resources

I have a full-time job, which limits the amount of time I can spend on social media work for (FDS). I created a Feedly dashboard as part of the Social Media Monitoring and Measurement course; however, I found it limiting. I prefer Hootsuite. I spend a half hour on the bus going back and forth to work each day. Hootsuite allows me to be productive during my commute. Through the Hootsuite app on my tablet, I can monitor my various streams and like, share or retweet effortlessly. Feedly does not have that capability. On weekends, I use Hootsuite’s online interface to schedule a week’s worth of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts. Hootsuite also connects to Drop Box, making organizing and posting images that much faster and easier. I sometimes use shortened URLs to track traffic.

On weekends, I use the Google Analytics plug in on the WordPress website to monitor traffic on the FDS website, which is one of the key success indicators. On a monthly basis, I can dig deeper into the website traffic and audience reports through the Google Analytics website. This is particularly useful to see who (demographic information) is coming from where (our social media networks or elsewhere). Having updated websites as far back as 1999, I am so thankful I no longer need to sort through raw website user data.

Of course, I also use Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics and Bitley to monitor and track social media activity, but I spend more time on Hootsuite and Google Analytics.



I have many sources of news. I think my best source of information is a set of Google Alerts (which I view through Hootsuite) that shows photography contests, exhibits and other events happening in the Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto triangle. As well as providing content for the website, blog, Facebook and Twitter, Norm and I use the information to plan our photo excursions and submit images to contests. When I finish well in a contest, I post it on the FDS social media networks. It is a testament to the quality and creativeness of my images.

While most photographers are aware of all the magazines, stores and manufacturers on social media, few know about Science Daily’s photography research RRS feed (which I also view through Hootsuite). Having worked with medical and academic journals for more than a decade and with newspapers and magazines for longer than that, I can understand complex ideas and explain them in plain, everyday language. I rewrite the photography research media releases with information from the published research paper and post as Technology News in News Flash, the FDS blog. These have included advances in lens technology and how researchers are data-mining social media photos to guide land use policy, conservation planning and development decisions. This is well suited for our more advanced photographer audience and positions FDS as being knowledgeable of the cutting edge.

My Tools for Social Media Monitoring


Sourced on Pixabay 





The social media trend monitoring tools that I use are Google Alerts, my Twitter feed, LinkedIn, Vimeo, and Youtube.

I do advanced searches on Keyword Planner on Google Adwords with an eye to keywords on topics I want to follow.   From there I create Google alerts (although some are saying Mention is better, and Alerts might disappear), and content feeds in my TweetDeck.  I spend time on LinkedIn and use Groups and Interests to monitor influencers and join groups that can provide me with interesting information on trends.  It’s a bit of a feedback loop as I find that they all feed into, and amplify one another—subject matter can influence who I follow and who I follow can lead to a deeper dive into subject matter.   I also use keywords, and other search methods, to subscribe to relevant channels that interest me on YouTube and Vimeo.

I am a freelance digital content provider specializing in video production, and I am usually working to monitor trends in two main streams.  I follow subject matter and influencers relevant to my clients, and I follow specific marketing content niches, like branded content and video marketing in branded content.

In terms of news sources and updates, I don’t know if I can isolate that from the trend monitoring tools.  I do use Flipboard and follow topics and people there.  Why Flipboard?  I like it is ease of layout and user interface.  I would say it’s a bit of a proverbial feedback loop between listening tools and news and updates.   Am I missing something?  Does anybody else have some ideas on that one?  I haven’t really made a lot of use of RSS streams and I think I might be missing out there.

Why these tools and not others?   Well I think part of it is that over time I have found there’s a simplicity to my method that works well for me.   I need to be a generalist and a niche specialist when it comes to information so the broad search and then the drill down is effective.

I haven’t found much use for Facebook, but I am not sure that is because it isn’t useful, or I just haven’t put energy into figuring out how it might be.  I use Facebook on a personal level, but not so much on a professional level.  Again I welcome thoughts.

I also have found that to date I can make my world overly complex with monitoring, and when I have it hasn’t served me well.  I prefer to niche, niche, and niche some more.   The other way leads to information overload and diffuses the desired results.

There are some monitoring tools that I tend to use more as delivery tools like and I want to get going with Buffer to program my Twitter activity.

I think there is probably a lot more strategy and intelligence I could do with paid tools.  I would be keen to mine more insights with options available from companies like Radian6, but I would perhaps be more likely to run into it through a client using it.


COM0015 – Blog # 1: Social Media Listening Tools and News Sources


In social media, listening is the essential process of understanding your customers. Who are they? Where do they gather? What are they saying? Why are they saying it and how are they saying it?  People are talking and as a brand you need to know what is being said so that you can understand how to build a trusting relationship and engage with your customers appropriately.

Two Social Media Listening Tools

Talkwalker Alerts

Talkwalker Alerts is a favourite because it is a free and easy social media monitoring tool that provides email updates of the latest and most relevant mentions  as they happen.


Hootsuite is a great tool for managing multiple social channels and applications by allowing an individual or teams to measure marketing analytics, insights and campaign results. It also allows users to efficiently monitor conversations, track social mentions, and social influence.

Two Sources of News and Updates

For me, one of the best sources for real-time and up-to-date news is Twitter. Whether it’s current events or industry news you wish to follow, the information on Twitter is instantaneous.

Another go to source of mine for news and updates is Facebook. I regularly read relevant posts and stories that appear in my feed.

What are some of your essential social monitoring tools and sources of news?