We used to live in the information age, but now we live in the too darn much information age!
That’s a pretty bold statement, but here is what I mean. The Internet, more specifically the World Wide Web, has flooded us with information. So much so that we are constantly bombarded from the time we get up until we go to sleep. We are assaulted by email, text messages, phone calls, social media, and of course the old school newspapers, magazines, radio and tv are still hammering at us too.
In addition to all of the above ways that we are hit with too much information, there is a quiet revolution taking place. And that is that we are moving into the age of referral or recommendation. People are increasingly turning to each other to make purchase decisions as a way to make sense of it all. They are using sites like www.Yelp.com and other social networking sites to help them make decisions about what products or services to use.
In speaking with an agent a few weeks ago he told me that he was selected as the agent for a buyer because she found his name in a www.Yelp.com posting by one of his previous satisfied clients! And he had no idea what Yelp was nor how he was mentioned there before she brought it to his attention. In his case, it was a positive commentary, and it brought him a transaction. But, what if it wasn’t good? Would he have even known about it?
How many other places are people talking about YOU? And what are they saying? How can you find out?
Here is a painless, two step process:
Step 1: do a Google search on your name. Enclose the name in quotes and see what gets returned. Try a few variations of your name like this: “Jerry Kidd” or “Gerald D. Kidd” just to make sure you get it all.
Step 2: then setup a Google Alert (http://www.google.com/alerts) for your name and the various permutations that you discovered in step 1. It’s free and it’s fast. You can search on videos, News, Blogs, Web Sites and Google Groups. You can choose to aggregate the searches into one or more emails per day if you wish.
As soon as you set up the alert, Google will send you a confirming email which you must respond to in order to start the process. From that point on, every time that Google indexes a new page that contains the search that you wanted, you will receive an email containing a link to the relevant page!
Take it a step further, and set up searches on your competitors to see what people are saying about them. Set up searches on your hobbies or news items that you want to follow. To make life easier on yourself, set up a free Google account and you will be able to manage all of your alerts on one page.
And for comprehensive information on how to sign up and use Google Alerts, go to the Google Alerts FAQ.
So, make life easier on yourself and still stay on top of the things that are important to you and setup some Google Alerts. After all, it’s your name that people are talking about!
NOTE: This is an updated version of the article that I originally posted on April 27th 2008! http://realtytechbytes.com/we-dont-live-in-the-information-age-anymore