So, Keith Ferazzi is one of my favorite authors on career skills - he wrote an amazing book last year called Never Eat Alone - it's just about the best reference on networking and building a career that I've ever seen. The man is a master networker, and if you do what's in that book, it's hard not to really start building your network.
Keith has a mailing list, and he had a brilliant tip on his mailing list yesterday - it's a use of Google Alerts that I hadn't ever thought of. From the email:
Tip 59 - Use Google Alerts to learn the latest on clients, mentors, friends, and yourself
When something great happens for a client, mentor, or friend it's good to ping them with a congratulatory call or e-mail, but it's not quite as effective if you don't learn the news until months after it happens.
Google Alerts is a great tool to help you keep up with the latest on the important people in your life and work. Obviously, this tool can only alert you to what's posted on the Web, so it might not catch every job change or new child birth, but with the growth of personal blogs, you'll be surprised how much information it can find.
At Ferrazzi Greenlight we use Google Alerts to learn when our clients and friends are mentioned in the news. We even get alerts about our own company name and personal names, which is very helpful for managing our own brands."
This is a brilliant idea, but I'm not a big fan of Google Alerts because of what they do to my email (because some of my friends are rather prolific in the press). However, an extension on the solution is to do this with your RSS reader - instead of using Google Alerts and clogging your email, do a Google News Search, and click on the "RSS" or "Atom" link on the left-hand side. That way, when you're catching up on your blogs each day, you can catch up on your networking, also.