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Needle in the Haystack

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

With the reams of information available on the web, it can seems a daunting prospect keeping up to date with whats new and going on in your industry. 

  1. RSS is fantastic - if you're not using it already find a good RSS reader and get involved, you'll never look back.  I recommend Google Reader or the RSS reader integrated into Flock.  Mashable has an excellent guide on RSS tools
  2. Once your RSS feeder is set up, set the default RSS reader in Firefox/Flock to your reader (Tools > Options > Feeds).  Again Mashable has a fine guide to keep your RSS running smoothly (How to Track 500 business Blogs in 10 minutes a day)
  3. Twitter is great, but I find it only really shines if you have a client like Find some interesting people/sites to follow like, or
  4. As Aldous Huxley postulated in his 1954 book "The Doors of Perception", the human brain isn't an inclusive device - it excludes most of the data running through our senses so we concentrate on important aspects.  Apply the same principle to your reading habits - its not important to read everything, just the most important!  Do not be worried about pruning your RSS feeds, bookmarks etc. - you want to keep the signal to noise ratio high else you'll never find the information you want.  If you find yourself reading an RSS feed or twitterusers tweet that is just a waste of time - get rid!
  5. If you're participating in forums or newsgroups, most give the option for weekly email updates (daily if you prefer).  This keeps you in touch with whats going on without having to visit the forum.
  6. Aggregator sites take all your social media accounts and presents them in one place.  Find your favourite Aggregator site and stick with one - there's no real need to keep up with all of them.  My favourite at the moment is SecondBrain although is the most popular, and are also contenders.
  7. Keeping up with internet memes?  Only one site needed: POPURLS
  8. I usually start the day with iGoogle, which displays feeds from Google Reader and separate RSS feed for your favourite Aggregator site  This way you can keep track of sites you've liked over the past week as well as new stories coming in.  An alternative to iGoogle is NetVibes
  9. Start up a Tumblr account, then when you find something you want to read later on hit the bookmarklet and save it to your tumblr blog in 10 seconds.  This keeps all your interesting reads in one place for when you have time.  A variation on this technique would be to have a special tag in or other social bookmarking service and tag the URL [READLATER], although I find I never do read these later as its not on one page.
  10. Always be prepared to ask for personal recommendations - embrace the social aspect of social media.  And so it is, I leave point 10 as an exercise for the reader (please comment below! :) )

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Michael Thomas

Cheers for the tip on the Tumblr account I will download that now. Netvibes seems interesting I will take a look into that! Cheers.

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