This isn’t anything new, but I’m surprised at how few people make use of it (or heck, even know about it.)
Google Alerts is a tool from Google that will alert you whenever something is added to their index(es) regarding a certain keyword or phrase. It’s rather simple, but it can be rather fun, and relatively easy to allow you to keep up with things that you care about.
For example: I care about me.
So one of the alerts I have setup is “Justin Gehring”. Anytime those two words show up side by side, Google sends me a little email to let me know. It’s nice. Most of the time it just lets me know that Google’s blog search engine spidered a post of mine (always a good thing to know), but sometimes it shows me something really cool. Like tonight:
Tonight, a blogger I don’t know posted my name on their blog. It was in reference to a post that I made 4 years ago on another website. For the most part, I thought my comment had gone unnoticed and probably wasn’t any use to anyone… However, not only did this person notice, but he gave me credit for putting it there. In reality, that’s pretty dang cool. It’s nice to know that something you did, no matter how small, helped someone you didn’t know if even in the smallest way.
I think because of that, I’m going to start blogging using other people’s names in my post a little more often… Just so that from time to time they might accidentally get a Google Alert that means something to them.