Back in February, we mentioned how useful Google alerts are for easily keeping up to date with what people are saying online about you, your competitors and your customers.  If you've been using them, you'll know how well they work delivering useful information directly to your inbox.

If you're also using Twitter and want to be alerted when something you're interested in is contained in a tweet, then Google alerts can help you with that too.

Simply set up a Google Alert in the usual way and change the "Type:" to "Realtime" to monitor a range of social media sources including Twitter. If you need to act on a tweet, then changing the setting "How often:" to "As-it-happens" can also be useful to minimise delay.

You can find out more about Google's realtime search facility at where the video will give you a good introduction to its capabilities.