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Tracking Yourself and Your Blog Brand Across the Online Social World

A while ago I ran across the Yahoo Pipes Social Media Fire Hose, a script written with Yahoo Pipes by Joseph Kingsley. If you want to track yourself, your blog, your brand, or any keyword or phrase across the web, especially by social media sites, this is the tool for you.

The Yahoo Pipes Social Media Fire Hose searches across Twitter, Flickr, Friendfeed, Digg, various search engines, and even includes blog comments. It creates a custom feed you can then add to your feed reader.

Originally created for public relations, advertising, and marketing tracking across the online social networks and media, this is a great way to find out what others are saying about you and your blog, your brand, or anything. I’ve been using it to track information on WordPress such as WordPress Tips, WordPress Plugins, and WordPress Themes, as well as my name, blog name, and URL and feedback from various blogs I work for and with.

To use the Social Media Fire Hose:

  1. Go to Yahoo Pipes Social Media Fire Hose.
  2. In the first form, enter the keyword, title, blog name, your name, or whatever you want to search for.
  3. In the second form, enter the “fragment” you wish to have ignored, such as your blog’s URL. This removes your blog posts from the search results to avoid redundancy. You want to know what others are saying, not yourself.
  4. Click Run Pipe.
  5. With the resulting page, choose the method you would like to track the feed, by feed reader, email, or otherwise, and add it to your feed reader of choice.

In your feed reader or email, you can now track information across a wide spectrum of social media services and sources. You can even incorporate the feed into your blog to track all mentions of your blog or name around the web.

Why Should You Track Yourself and Your Blog?

It’s important to know what others are saying about you and your blog, isn’t it? If you want to be an active participate in the online social community, it helps to know how your online reputation and visibility is working. Got a media campaign going? A contest? Want to know how viral your blog content or campaign is? Then you need to track what is being said around the online social water cooler.

It also helps to be more responsive to potential or current clients. If someone is wondering how to get in contact with you and they twitter it, you can jump right up and get in contact with them. If someone references you as a resource, you can say thank you. If someone is saying unkind things, you can choose to respond or not, but at least you are aware of the noise.

It’s a challenge to monitor references to you and your blog via blog comments. The Social Media Fire Hose tracks comments so you can respond to them when someone mentions you or your blog in blog comments. That’s quick interaction and community building.

If you have a product or service, it is essential that you track the feedback from all over the web so you can respond and react or work harder to provide the answers the people need.

If you write about a particular subject or topic, the Social Media Fire Hose is a great way of tracking all mentions of the subject, helping you get the inside scoop or jump on an interesting article or post on the subject.

Combined with the Google Reader Preview Enhanced Greasemonkey Script (GPE) for FireFox and GreaseMonkey, which I covered recently in Power Blogging Tips: Comment on Blogs From Within Google Feed Reader, you can respond directly from your feed reader to the posts within the Social Media Fire Hose.

Well, you can respond to all except the Twitter posts. To respond to Twitter tweets, you will need to copy the Twitter user name and “at” them via your Twitter program. Or open their tweet in your browser and respond directly from there. Twitter doesn’t offer an easy response method through their feeds or tweet pages that I’ve found.

If you need to monitor the social around you, your blog, and your products and services, this is an ideal way to do so.

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, the author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging.


  1. Posted October 1, 2008 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    Use in conjunction with Addict-o-matic ( …

  2. myideaguy
    Posted October 2, 2008 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    This is a great tip because it goes well beyond Google Alerts (which I currently use).

    Thanks for sharing!

    Stu McLaren

  3. Posted October 3, 2008 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Have you tried Google Alerts? how is Pipes different or better from Google Alerts?

  4. Posted October 3, 2008 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    @ Miroslav Glavic:

    Google Alerts is good but different. It only reports on search results from Google and Google News, not everything it indexes. The Social Media Fire Hose covers EVERYTHING from a variety of sources that Google Alerts doesn’t always include. I recommend you use both if you truly need to cover your bases.

  5. Posted October 5, 2008 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle, thanks for covering the firehose, and hope you find it useful. Please send any feedback my way.

    The difference between the SMF and Google alerts is that the SMF is much more real-time. The speed of Google alerts is dependent on how often Google crawls and indexes websites. The SMF taps into the search provided natively by many social media sites. So every time you load the feed, it goes to a variety of sites like twitter, linkedin, wikipedia etc and performs a search there, and then brings you a de-duplicated, sorted set of results. I hope that clarifies the difference between the 2. In the end, you really just have to try it 🙂

    And yes, I use the firehose to track mentions of itself.

  6. Posted October 5, 2008 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    @ Kingsley Joseph:

    Thank you so much for creating this incredible social media tool. It is so helpful for tracking down so much information. I’m very glad to help promote it. 😀

    I hope you get great feedback from others who are learning about it and using it. I’ve been experimenting with Yahoo Pipes and am constantly amazed at the possibilities.


  7. Posted October 15, 2008 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Thanks to both for the service and the information about it posted here. I’ve already found two mentions that Google Alerts didn’t catch. In addition to the real-time feature, I really appreciate being able to see the information in gReader instead of a bunch of individual e-mails per day from gAlerts.

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] Tracking Yourself and Your Blog Brand Across the Online Social World « Lorelle on WordPress – Interesting tool for tracking your brand. "The Yahoo Pipes Social Media Fire Hose searches across Twitter, Flickr, Friendfeed, Digg, various search engines, and even includes blog comments. It creates a custom feed you can then add to your feed reader." […]

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