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 and Sources

Every day at 12:05pm I receive an email. I hear the ding, look at the time and instantly know that I’ve received my daily Google Alerts email. I have this set up on my work email so I can receive the latest news around words that I have flagged related to my job and employer. Words include the name of the organization, certain tourist attractions, different townships as well as the name of our CEO and Board members. This helps me keep an eye on what is being reported about our organization and to alert the Executive team of any red flag.

To keep up to date on the latest trends, I subscribe to Mashable through Snapchat. It’s the easiest way for me to get the latest tech news. If you aren’t familiar with Snapchat, the Snapchat Discover feature gives organizations full access to publicly visible snaps. They are updated daily and provide live breaking updates. For this reason, Snapchat is my main source of news.

What exactly is Snapchat Discover?! G2 explains it well: “Snapchat Discover is all about keeping you up-to-date on current events, pop culture, and more. Long gone are the days of Snapchat being used just to connect you and your friends. Now you can get the lowdown on breaking news, big events, and celeb gossip all at your fingertips. On the Discover screen you can watch your friends’ Snapchat Stories, Publisher Stories, Shows, and Our Stories.”

When I first started using Snapchat in 2013, the only “stories” users could see were posted by friends or celebrities. Snapchat Discover started in an effort to reach a wider audience and encourage people to sign up. Snapchat users are typically between the ages of 18 and 24, with the next largest demographic being 13-17. Although I am not part of this demographic, it is still a very attractive and centralized place for me to get all my news.


Users can subscribe to their favorite stories to ensure that they are seen first. I can honestly say that I rarely use Snapchat for its intended use of sending real time photos to friends, I spend most of my time on the app catching up on the latest. In one location I can get news from Vice, Now This News, CNN, The Washington Post, NBC, The Telegraph and The Daily Mail (to satisfy my gossip sweet tooth, of course). Each “story” can have anywhere from 10-20 screens. Each screen includes a headline, brief description and as the above video mentions, a full article that can be found by swiping up.


My second source of news is Buzzfeed. I subscribe to them on multiple platforms and get a lot of my information there. Their extensive cross-platform network includes things like articles, lists, quizzes and videos (which I LOVE) but I also spend a lot time on Buzzfeed News. Although they may not always be viewed as credible, they do provide the latest in “world-class reporting and investigative journalism”. As of March 24th 2019, 60% of millennials are reached by Buzzfeed and 70% of Buzzfeeds total site traffic comes from mobile devices. Social Blade reports that so far this month, Buzzfeed News has had over 1.45M views and in April of 2017, the website had an impressive 8.58M views.

I use these tools and sources because they became integrated into social media platforms that I have been using daily for years. It was not something I was looking or asked for but appeared over time. It is definitely out of convenience because all the sites I would need to visit individually are all in one location.


Reints, Renae (July 17, 2018) A New Snapchat Initiative Will Help Journalist Find and Verify Breaking News:

Wahl, Jordan (October 10 2018) What is Snapchat Discover: Fresh Content at your Fingertips:

Kunova, Marcela (July 13, 2018) How The Telegraph is reaching teenagers with news stories on Snapchat Discover :

Smith, Craig (May, 11, 2019) 38 Amazing Buzzfeed Statistics and Facts (2019):

Social Blade, Buzzfeed News: