Google alerts delivers periodic search results to my e-mail box. I’ve been impressed at how it helps me detect new bloggers that might be worth reading, and helps me manage my own reputation.

I have several topical search terms that I use to watch for interesting new authors and sites. I currently have alerts set for “Association for Software Testing”, “exploratory testing” and Debian Linux testing. I’ll eventually add search terms for SharePoint 2010 and evidence based management.

I also have search terms which search for specific authors I’ve found interesting in the past. The search results on those authors have lead to other interesting writing on topics I follow.

I even search for my own name. I realize that is more than just a little vain, but it provides one way to monitor how others might perceive me. I use an exclusion term or two to avoid the writing of the journalist who shares my name and writes at a newspaper in Nevada. Someday I may add an exclusion term for the person who shares my name in Georgia.