Probe

The new feature allows you to 'probe the internet'

Credit: Image by Travis Goodspeed on Flickr. Some rights reserved
Imagine how useful it would be if you could set up a Google Alert for a keyword but only be notified if that word or phrase were mentioned in a news story that had more than 50 shares on social media. And would you find it even more useful if you were notified not by email but within an RSS reader?

Consider a tool that could tell you when a news story mentioning a particular word had more than 500 Facebook likes or 100 Twitter shares.

New functionality in free tool Ping.it does just that. And it lets you to determine the number of shares, Facebook likes, Twitter mentions or comments a story has before it is flagged up.

Ping.it is a smart RSS reader and in May launched a feature called 'probes', which lets you set social parameters to an RSS feed. Examples include 'TechCrunch articles with more than 100 likes', 'latest from BuzzFeed with more than 1000 likes', and 'most shared Mashable articles'.

Probes have now been made more powerful and you can create feeds based on keywords.

An announcement email from Ping.it to users states: "The limitation with any RSS reader is of course that you need to supply the reader with RSS feeds. What if you could simply make your own keyword-based probe towards any content online? That is exactly what we've made. You can now omit the RSS feed and make keyword-specific probes that will 'probe' all of the web – not only sites with RSS feeds."

To test it out we created a probe that will surface 'news stories mentioning Breaking Bad with more than 50 shares'.

Ping.it probe

Whatever your beat or specialism as a journalist, creating feeds based on keywords and then adding social parameters could be useful.

A blog post from Ping.it explains more.

We included Ping.it in a list of 16 useful newsgathering tools.

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