It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the different silos of information that we’ve begun distributing our lives across: email, RSS and social media to name but a few of the contenders in the battle for our attention. The problem is only accentuated with the proliferation of smart phones so now there’s no excuse for not staying in touch when you’re in transit or held hostage to bodily functions in the smallest room.
So I thought it’d be useful to share a few tools and tips that help me juggle my daily tasks in an age where if you hide from information … it’ll come and find you:
- Bring the web to you. Any good web site (i.e. that produces fresh content on a regular basis) will offer an RSS/ATOM news feed – look out for the orange square icon next to the address bar in your web browser. Here’s my tip though: use a smart aggregator like Feedly that’ll organise all your different feeds, smarten them up and give you tools to manage featured posts and keep a record of what you’ve read. If you’re new to this, try Alltop as a way of finding RSS feeds relevant to your sector.
- Instant messaging makes the web less lonely and lets you share knowledge, well, instantly. Bundle all of your messaging accounts into one place with Pidgin (or Empathy if you’re using Linux), soon you’ll have MSN, Google Talk, IRC and Facebook chat all in one place.
- Be disciplined about blogging. You should produce fresh regular content if you want to capture a readership and improve your search engine rankings. So if you’re not hiring me to do it for you, check out these excellent tips from the Social Media Examiner.
- Get a to do list. Google Mail offers one built in, but it’s not quite fully-featured, so try Remember The Milk or Todoist instead.
- Pull all your social networks into one place. Easy when you install TweetDeck – but don’t be confused by the name, it also covers Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Buzz and MySpace.
As you can see, these tools and tips are just clever ways of putting something in front of you and the relentless onslaught of information: effective filters if you will. And to quote a popular web 2.0 phrase: “It’s not information overload. It’s filter failure”- so choose better filters and make them work properly for you.