Often in the course development process, professors look for articles, videos, graphics, or other items to augment the text book or lecture material, seeking to connect course content to current events. But where do you find this supplementary content? Go to Google and hope for the best? Give BuzzSumo a try!
BuzzSumo is a web analytics service that allows you to see the pieces of content on the web that are being shared the most via social media, filtered by topic. The service looks at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, and Google+ to see how many times a particular article or item has been shared in a given time period. BuzzSumo was built by a search-engine optimization company to help content creators and marketers looking for information about what content is most popular on the web to increase traffic to their websites, but it can also be leveraged for education. By seeing the content that is driving conversation, and therefore likely to be more engaging, you can find content to include in your courses that may lead to productive discussions and responses.
You can search any topic. For instance, here’s the result of a search for “Conflict management“:
The more total times an item has been shared the higher it appears in the results. All of the results may not be relevant to your particular course, but it is a more targeted approach to finding content to share as opposed to wading into an unfiltered Google search. This is where some discretion is necessary; a high number of Linkedin shares may not be as relevant to a music appreciation class as they are to a business class.
It can also be used by students looking for up-to-date information on certain topics.
You can filter your results by social media service, date range (from last 24 hours to up to within the last year), language, country of origin, and even content type.
There are some limitations to the free version of the service, including a daily search limit (5) and limited access to the deeper analytical tools BuzzSumo offers, but for most academic cases the free version of the service should be sufficient. Take a look at BuzzSumo, see if you find something you can use!