Find good information without asking a social media expert

I’ve been building websites on the Internet since 1998, so doing Google searches is second nature for me. If I want to find out the latest on Facebook Pages vs. Groups, I know how to formulate an exact query that will get me good information on that subject.

Searching the web has gotten harder lately, partly because there are so many websites competing for your attention. So here are a few pieces of advice.

If you want to look up ‘how to’ information related to new technologies like social media or mobile apps, you need to find recent articles. For example, you don’t want an article from 2007 about Facebook. Unfortunately, Google tends to give older articles a higher ranking, which doesn’t work well for many topics.

My advice would be to do your search on Google, but filter by ‘time’ through the options listed on the left of the search results page. If you see ‘Past Year’, then click on that to narrow down the search results. If that option isn’t visible, you may have to click on ‘Timeline’, or click on ‘Advanced Search’ to see the time options. Once you’ve filtered the results by time, you’ll probably see some quality articles that are also very current.

Another suggestion is to start by looking for an expert on a topic. This is a good technique if you are looking for general background information, rather than the answer to a specific question. To perform your expert search, go to Amazon and look up books that have been published recently and received good reviews. You don’t need to buy the book. If the author is savvy at social media, they will probably have lots of useful information on their blog, their Facebook page, and their Twitter stream.

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