Google Updates is a beneficial tool to find out what the online community is talking about in real time. It is extremely easy to use and offers valuable insight.
First type your key phrase (perhaps your practice area) in to Google’s home page (I used ping as an example). Next, select Updates from the left hand column. Here is what you’ll get:
1. Find out exactly what time people are talking about your topic of choice. This is valuable information for two reasons: helping you decide when to interact online and second, when your blog posts will be best received. Convinced yet?
2. Find out which social networks discuss your topic most often. See how Ping was discussed in Twitter, FriendFeed and Facebook above? This is valuable insight when deciding where to focus your time and effort.
3. Find out who (my favorite) is discussing your topic. This will help you determine how useful social media is for building your practice.