Why have one? Well, it provides a lot of information in my inbox without having to spend hours "googling" for it on my own. It's a free virtual assistant (well in a very limited capacity).
For writing, I track a variety of topics. I have an alert for a specific medical condition that relate to my memoir: Locked-in Syndrome and brain stem strokes. I have one for specific writing jobs. I have one for contests and submission possibilities.
I also use it for personal topics. I have one for my subdivision, so I can keep abreast of information about my community and the bankruptcy proceedings currently under way. I have one for my city, so I can read multiple stories from multiple news sources.
At a former job, I helped my boss set up a Google Alert, so we could see what people were saying about his travel business online. The business thrives on reviews, so it was important to see what folks were saying — good and bad.
When I apply for a job, I create an alert for that company. This way, I can learn more about the business.
You can use Google Alerts to:
- Find information about a specific topic for your book.
- Keep track of current events.
- Monitor what is being said about YOU on the Internet.
- Cultivate contacts in a specific field. Through alerts, you can find blogs about your area of expertise. Once Google has created the list, all you have to do is search through the ones you want to contact.
- Check out what's happening in the city where you plan to visit on summer vacation.
You fill in a search term. Decide what you want, how often you want it and where it should be delivered to — your email address.The beauty of the Google Alert is that you keep the alert as long as it is useful to you. Google gives you the option to manage your alerts at any time. So you can delete them when you are finished. Found more than enough information on vampires, then delete that Google Alert.
If you haven't discovered them, you should check Google Alerts.