Last November I set up some Google alerts in order to receive automated updates on the latest internet search results on topics that I’m interested in. It distills the results from the first 20 or so pages of its search engine results and sends you an alert. Rather than receive results by email, I set my alerts up as an RSS Feed into Feedly by following the instructions at How to Curate Content With Feedly and Google Alerts . (For those unfamiliar with RSS Feeds, refer to this article for a straightforward explanation.)
A scan of the alerts that I set up shows that I’ve used alternative terms with minor variations to increase the range of search results. You’ll also notice the use of quotation marks around phrases to ensure that results only include items that use the full term,not the indivudal words spread out throughout an article. (Here’s more tips on setting up Google alerts.)
Automating searching allows me to be fed new articles and information on topics I’m interested in. So long as I am reading on Feedly a couple of times a week it is a reliable way to be pushed new content without having to make the effort to do manual searches.
Reading Alert results helps me to stay abreast of industry trends and developments. It supplements the content that the “human filters” in my online Personal Learning Network feed me through Twitter, LinkedIn and the blogs that I follow. It also allows me to increase my value and contribution to my networks by sharing content that may not already be in circulaton in those networks.
Google Alerts have been a valuable addition to my Personal Knowledge Mangement toolkit.