Here at FishbowlLA, we know first-hand just how much of a game changer Google alerts have become. Many times, within minutes of posting an article, we hear from the person profiled, their publicist or other associated party. Especially if there is a typo or mistake in the item.
Over the weekend, author and veteran journalist Amy Wilentz shared a great op ed in the LA Times about this topic. For years, she writes, her pieces about Haiti in The Nation and TIME magazine felt like they were disappearing into a vacuum. But in 2013, even a humble blog post reverberates directly onto the radar of anyone and everyone:
Now, when I write about Haiti, it’s noticed not just by my closest friends and family but by the people I’m writing about, and anyone else who could possibly care anywhere in the world. Now, everyone, even that maiden aunt in Dubuque, has a Google alert set to bring instant news of people or topics of interest. Response to the written word is immediate and highly judgmental.
Today, for better and worse, publication is unbearably… public. I composed the post about about the garment factory in Haiti under the old understanding I had internalized as a younger writer: No one reads what I write. But I was wrong.
Wilentz follows this major con with some of pro’s of the Google alert world order. If you don’t already have an Amy Wilentz Google alert, read her full piece here.