I was catching up on some blog posts this evening and one of them sparked an interest in sharing.
Earlier this year a couple of other devs and I were gathered around talking to Jeff Blankenburg while he was cleaning up after doing a presentation for a .NET user group. During our discussion he popped up something like this on his computer screen (well, with his name instead of mine):
He said something like “you guys don’t use Google alerts?” and after the only thing we returned was blank stares he went on to explain how Google Alerts works. Basically you define some terms you want to watch and then Google send you an email when it finds a reference to them. Jeff explained that he likes to use it to track mentions of his name or projects that he’s working on or that he’s interested in.
At the time I thought to myself “I’m not an MS evangelist and I don’t do marketing so what would I need to track?”. On my drive home I realized my initial reaction was wrong. I am in the marketing biz. We’re all in the marketing business – marketing ourselves at the very least. I also blog about the company I work for, the products I work on, my team, my own creations, etc.
Since that time I’ve been using Google Alerts to follow my name and some of my web sites. Being able to read and respond to those references has been a tremendous experience. After doing a presentation at a Day of .NET event I found a blog post a few days later where an attendee of my session said that the material was good and he learned a lot. Awesome! I’ve also used it to leave “Thank you, glad you liked it” comments on blogs that mentioned finding the AspDotNetMVC site and saying that it was a good resource. In fact, one blogger mentioned that the main RSS feed of the site provided way too much information and he had to unsubscribe after a couple of days. As a direct result of reading this feedback I created a second feed for the site that included a lot less “noise” and responded back in a comment to the original blog post that I had done so.
Along with Google Alerts, Jeff provides some other great tips in his Seven Steps to (Shameless) Self Promotion post. It’s definitely worth checking out. Thanks for the reminder about personal business cards, Jeff. I ran out a couple of months ago and need to re-order.