Free Social Web Presentation: A $495 value!

I’m about to go do a presentation on social media. The topic this time: How to use various search-and-discover tools to monitor what’s being said in the socialwebosphere about you, your company, your partners or competitors, your spouse, your enemies, etc.

The audience is a group of people who do PR, marketing and communications for non-profit groups in the healthcare field. The people in attendance paid $495 to hear my presentation–though, to be fair, a lunch, dinner and a bunch of other, far more interesting speakers are part of the deal too.

But I thought I’d share the useful stuff right here in my blog, where everything is free. And–this is a guarantee–worth every penny.

The presentation lists a bunch of tools you can use to monitor what’s being said out in the social web. I know there are many others, but the ones I’m listing are both user-friendly for late adopters and likely, at least as a group, to produce a good scan of what’s being said in blogs, on Twitter, on discussion forums and hyperlocal news sites.

If any readers of this blog know good tools to supplement or replace the ones I’ve listed here, please leave a comment below. I’ll update the list and republish the full list in a later post.

Anyway, it’s about 12:30 p.m. and I’m on at 1 p.m. Better run.

Here’s the handout I’ll give out.

Learning to Listen In

The following tools help you monitor the many conversations happening all around the Internet. Some comments may involve your business, institution or key people. You may not want or need to respond. But knowing what people are saying is vital.

Listening is also an easy way to familiarize yourself with the baffling world of social media. Later on you may want to use these same techniques in marketing, branding, communication and customer service efforts. Talk like a marketer, though, and they’ll hate you.


Most of these tools let you save your searches. Some send results to your e-mail, your iGoogle page or any RSS reader [Yahoo360, Netvibes, Bloglines, etc.]

Be sure to “listen” not only for your institution or firm’s full name, but for its nickname, short name, common misspellings, etc. Don’t forget about the names of key people.

The following tools are listed in approximate order of value. Start with Google Alerts, and see which others turn up content you’d otherwise miss.

  • Google Alerts The most basic way to monitor what’s being published on important topics and events. If nothing else, set Google Alerts for keywords and have results delivered to your e-mail box.
  • Filtrbox Can dig deeper and help analyze content that turns up. Monthly fee for high-level use. For some, it may be worth it.
  • BlogPulse A Nielsen service, it monitors blog content
  • Omgili or Twing Both of these monitor the “deep web”—message boards where most search engines don’t prowl or
  • Twitter Search To listen in on what’s being said on this annoying, oddly compelling platform For alerts:
  • Topix Aggregates local news better than most. A good way to see what your local press is reporting without having to visit their sites
Explore posts in the same categories: Health 2.0, media, search, social media, Uncategorized, Web 2.0

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7 Comments on “Free Social Web Presentation: A $495 value!”

  1. Paul Says:

    In addition to Google Alerts, I use Yahoo Alerts. There is some overlap in what they return, but enough is different to make it worth it.

    You can get similar alerts about tweets in Twitter with Tweet Scan ( Its a great way to watch what is being said about your company or a particular topic you care about.

  2. Marc Needham Says:

    I came across last night. They seem to be ironing out some bugs still but the breadth of the search potential is phenomenal.

  3. Ed Says:

    This is self-serving, I guess, but there are a couple of ButtonALL Channels that might be useful to your audience (I use them to track our own coverage):

    Blog Search
    Google Search (especially the “updated in the last 24 search”)
    Social Bookmarking News

    (go to once or it’ll continue to add that row)…you can delete rows by clicking on customization…

  4. Termeh Says:

    Thanks Craig! I’m a PR pro, but hadn’t heard of Filtrbox till now. I’d also recommend google blog search (
    And of course, there’s social bookmarking sites like Digg, Reddit, etc..

  5. Jessica Says:

    Well, I’m not sure what’ the issue is with the “handouts” coding on your page but at least in IE, it’s in accessible.

    Marc, I’m not so sure this tool you are touting owrks at all – common search terms that return oodles of google alerts for me bring up NOTHING on

  6. Craig Stoltz Says:

    Thanks all for the comments–Marc the the point to, Jessica’s note about the lousy coding of my handout [good reminder of me to remember the folks who use Internet Explorer. Paul: Thanks for the reminder of, oh, yes, Yahoo. Termeh: In my testing, BlogPulse finds stuff Google Blog search doesn’t. I’d love to hear otherwise, though.

    Keep the suggestions coming!

  7. newyorkbuzz Says:

    I can’t comment too much on BlogPulse yet, but here’s an example:

    Search for Alijor in BlogPulse and it comes up with 2 results

    Search for Alijor in Google Blog Search and it finds 75 results

    Sorry for the client plug Craig, but hey, you asked…. 😉

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