While the rise of social networking sites has given unprecedented access to the latest information and news, finding that information can be a daunting task. This guide will teach you which sites to use, provide some tips for successful searches, and use the current unrest in the Middle East as an example.
This is a guest post by Maria Rainier. Maria is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she writes about education, online degrees, and what it takes to succeed as a student getting an online masters degree from home. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.
General Search Guidelines
- Be specific in your choice of keywords, i.e. a search for “Libya protests” will yield more relevant results to the current situation than simply searching for “Libya”.
- Use parentheses to group phrases. This will cause the search engine to give results that contain that specific phrase. Without the parentheses, all pages containing any of the search terms will be returned, and you will have more off-topic results.
- Use the add and subtract operators to narrow the results. For example, say you are interested in Gaddafi’s response to the protests. A Google search for Gaddafi will yield few relevant pages, but by using the add operator, “Gaddafi+protests”, pertinent results will be obtained.
- Use a wildcard operator If you find that your search results are too narrow. Typically an asterisk is used for this purpose. Each asterisk represents a single unknown keyword in a search. This can be particularly useful for finding what phrases others are writing about.
Sources for Finding the Latest News
- Facebook has a large number of news profiles with up to the minute posts.
- Twitter has an up to the minute feed as well and is similar in content to Facebook.
- Twittergrid allows multiple twitter feeds to be displayed at once.
- User created Google maps provides useful geographic information along with the news.
- Flickr and Google Images are useful sources for finding photographs.
- YouTube and Google Video are useful for finding video of current events.
- Most corporate news organizations provide a live RSS feed.
Chaos in the Middle East