Have you Googled yourself lately? You should. It is important to know what the internet community is saying about you and your church. You definitely want to be a part of that conversation! From time to time, I type my name into Google to see what pops up. I have found articles from my blog republished in some interesting places. It is fun to see how my articles spur discussions across Christianity. I have also found some sites that had out of date or inaccurate information that I have been able to correct. I have always thought it would be nice if there was a way to automatically know when someone posts something new about me or my church. Now I can, thanks to Google.
Google has a free service, called Google Alerts, that notifies me anytime my name or my church is added to its search index. I went to Google Alerts and after an easy setup, Google now emails me as soon as they discover that someone has posted something to the internet that meets my criteria (my name and/or my church’s name). I recently had an article published in Leading Ideas, an online newsletter from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary. The next day, Google sent me an email making me aware that my name had popped up in its web search index. Very cool!
This service is also very helpful if you want to follow the latest information on a specific trend or topic. You could put “general conference” as a search string, and Google will notify you any time they index something new on the internet with that search string. You can also tell it to combine all the results in a once daily, or once weekly email to keep your inbox from being overloaded.
Google Alerts is definitely a tool that every web-using pastor and church should know about!