Let web news alerts read the Internet for you

Web alerts save you time by having websites notify you when chosen key words appear online

By Public Relations Staff

February 24, 2011—If you want to know what people are talking about on the Internet, you need to read, watch and keep up with constantly changing articles, stories and webpages. That’s a lot of work for busy practitioners. Enter website news alerts.

Various websites can do much of the work for you, allowing you to sign up for web alerts. You’ll receive an email notification when your chosen key word, name or phrase appears in news stories, blogs or webpages. Many of the services are free, and they let you dictate how frequently you should be notified.

Google alerts is the most popular service. Even if you don’t have a Gmail email address, you can still use Google and its many offerings. Sign up for a Google account with your preferred email address.  Once you sign up for an account, you can set up the alert with any number of keywords.

Some possible words and topics to monitor:

  • Your name So you’ll know if you are mentioned in an article, blog or elsewhere online. This isn’t important just for ego’s sake. It keeps tabs on what people are saying about you–good or bad. The Internet is a big place, and this helps you better keep an eye on what’s happening. If your name is common, add the word “psychologist” or “therapist” or your city to help weed out mentions of you from any doppelgangers. Web alerts of your name are also particularly useful if you do any interviews with the media. The Public Education Campaign (PEC), which promotes the message that good mental and emotional health are vital to overall health and well-being, is open to APA members who would like to help spread the word through the media and community outreach. Learn more about the PEC and how to get involved

  • Psychology-related key words “Psychologist,” “stress,” “mental health,” “mental health parity,” and “lifestyle change” are just a few of the many possibilities. Think about the types of topics you care about and are interested in sharing. To narrow down the search, add the name of your state or nearby city. 

  • Legislative issues Particularly useful if you are urged by the APA Practice Organization or your state psychological association to take action following an action or information alert. 

  • Hot topics in the news If there is a piece of news making the rounds in your community, set up a web alert so you can read not only what your local newspaper is writing about or the local TV news is reporting. Keeping up with hot news topics is useful if you do local media interviews. But it also gives perspective on what your clients may be talking about or concerned about during sessions. 

  • Names of writers and bloggers you like You may enjoy the works of a certain writer, but not have time to follow all his or her works. A web alert can notify you when the writer has published a new piece or if he or she is talked about in a different article.

To set up the alerts, you’ll want to search for the key words in Google news. At the bottom of the search results, you’ll see a link, “Stay up to date on these results. Create an email alert for …” From there, you’ll have the option to specify how frequently you receive updates and how to be notified. You can set up as many alerts as you want.

With Google alerts, the notifications can be discontinued at any time. If you are worried about too many emails jamming the inbox, you can choose not to have the alerts emailed to you. Or you may want to set up a folder or filter so all the alerts go into one place in your inbox.

There are other services that can be used instead of Google or as complements.

  • Yahoo alerts – If you don’t already have a Yahoo account, you can sign in with your new Google account. It’s free and works much like Google alerts. 

  • Giga Alert – There’s a monthly fee, but you can search for up to three keywords, names or phrases for free. 

  • Bing Alerts – Free. You’ll need a Windows Live ID. 

  • Twilert – For those on Twitter, this is one of the many services to alert you about mentions or talk on Twitter. 

  • Social Mention – Another free service for tracking and monitoring social media.

Additional Links and Resources About Alerts