J.F. Jenkins: "Monitoring your web footprint with Google Alerts"
_Dragons … there’s something inherently awesome about those powerful, magical beasts. Some writers portray them as noble and honorable, others as vicious and dangerous, but most resign them to a medieval sort of setting. Astraea Press author J.F. Jenkins choses to paint them as romantic and modern shapeshifters who interact with humans, and the image of a dragon texting his girlfriend is one that fascinates me. And it’s not surprising that an author who came up with such an image is familiar with the ins and outs of this modern digital age. Join us as she describes how to use Google Alerts to monitor your web presence.
Using Google Alerts is easy and an essential part to keeping track of important information that’s constantly being updated. For example book reviews being posted on blogs or a specific newsworthy item, and they get emailed right to you so you don’t have to search for it on your own. It’s a great way to get information that you might not always find on your own. I use it to keep up with my book reviews and anyone who’s posting blogs about my work. In fact, any time my name or book title pops on a website as a link, I get a notification. Pretty awesome right? So I can see who’s reading it and who’s doing what with it.
So how do you set it up? First, log into your Google account. If you have a gmail address, that acts as your login information. Then go to http://alerts.google.com and it’ll direct you to the Google Alerts starting page. Where it says “search query” type in the topic you want Google to look up. Then there are several drop-down options.
“Result type” will give you options on what kind of information you’d like to receive. Everything is, well, everything. Then there are news, blogs, discussion boards, videos, and books. Usually I do everything.
The next drop-down option is how often you want to get your results. You can choose from as they come in, once a day, or once a week. Depending on the topic is how often you’re going to want to do results. Bigger, more popular items are going to have a lot of information coming in constantly and it will flood your inbox.
The next option is to choose “how many” you receive. You can choose between two things. All search results will give you everything under the sun involving the keywords you’ve selected. Best results will give you the clearest and most efficient matches.
Finally, you get to tell Google where to email your results. That’s all there is to it!
Now, when I’m setting up information for my work to be emailed to me, I set up different alerts based on the projects. I have one set up for my pen name. I have them sent to me once a day, all results, and everything so I can catch who’s blogging, who’s linking, and who’s talking about me. Then I have one set up for my series title the same way. And another for my actual book title. Sometimes I get things that aren’t relevant, but sometimes I get some awesome surprises.