Google Alerts

google-alerts.jpgOne of the strangest experiences I’ve ever had as an author came about a few years after Uncle Frank’s Pit was published. I was doing an internet search on my books to see if there were any reviews I had missed (don’t give me that look – all authors do it) and I stumbled upon a very peculiar link. Somewhere in Pennsylvania, an desperate preacher had used my book as the core of a Sunday sermon.

Reading it felt a little like stepping into the Twilight Zone. There was my book, summarized and interpreted in ways I never intended or imagined. A brief excerpt:

“We can laugh at Uncle Frank’s antenna, coat hanger and pie plates. The fact is we all have antennas – – – hearing, seeing, feeling, smelling, tasting. We also have sophisticated electronic extensions of these antennas … Living the Christian life is like being Uncle Frank. We receive and analyze the data we sense to the best of our abilities. We never get all the data (after all perfect knowledge is infinitely expensive) and our analyses are often wrong. We feel like we’re in a pit.”

Wow. Anyway, ever since then I’ve been very curious about what else is out there. Thankfully, the good folks at Google have invented a nice tool to feed my obsession. It’s called Google Alerts and it works like this: You enter a search phrase and an email address, and once a day Google scours the web for you. If it finds something new, it sends you an email. Simple as that, and it’s free. It’s like your own personal clipping service. I love it.

I’m sure you can come up with a much better use for it than me.