E Mail Alerts

E-mail alerts are a really great way to stay updated on news everyday without even having to go to your RSS reader. I used Google Alerts to deliver a daily e-mail alert based on the following query [detroit|"southeast michigan" "public transportation"|"public transit"|"mass transit"|"light rail"]
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I maintained this e-mail alert for awhile, making sure to post them all to this site. However, in late November, stories about the Big 3 domestic automakers basically began to take over this query. Once I noticed this, I made an important change to the query by adding [-"big 3" -bailout] to my original query in order to eliminate the problem of having my alerts dominated by stories about the automakers. The example I am posting below does not have any stories specifically about Detroit mass transit, but we can't expect that there is going to be news about that topic every single day of the year. What is important to note, however, is that most of the bailout stories have been eliminated and we now see a focus on the topic of mass transit systems. From this you can learn that your e-mail alerts do not have to be set in stone, and that adapting them as the times change is probably a good idea. Perhaps as transit systems like the Ann Arbor-Detroit line start to become more of a reality and there is more frequent news about them, you can create individual alerts for each project. These Google Alerts have the potential to be very useful because you can set them to be comprehensive, meaning results include not only news, but also web pages, video, blogs, etc… making it more than just an RSS feed in an e-mail!

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