(Ed. note- updated this in Oct. 2020, changes noted below)
From time to time, I am asked how I can keep up with numerous blog topics, twitter accounts, and Facebook pages while not making myself crazy.
Well OK, maybe I am actually crazy, that is up for debate.
However, what isn’t up for debate is that it takes a lot of content to keep all those accounts going and sharing new information every week. Truth is though, it’s not as much work as you might think. The trick is to let the tools do the heavy lifting. In this series of posts I want to look at how I manage to do this without spending every waking hour online. (Only most of them…)
First, I need to make sure I have good stuff coming to me. For that, I rely on a few things:
- RSS Reader. – I use Feedly. There are other options out there. Let’s face it. None of us should just rely on our social networks to unearth all the news for us. That’s a good way to miss out on things that fly under the radar, or that aren’t being shared. RSS allows me to subscribe to the sites and blogs that I want to absolutely be sure to see every day. Feedly is usually my first stop for interesting posts about the various topics I most care about. If you’re not familiar with RSS, I highly recommend spending some time with it.
per.li – Twitter is a fantastic font of information, but no one has time to sit and watch it all day. There’s no way to possibly keep up with what is being shared by the thousands of accounts I “follow” there. Enter Paper.li. No matter how much, or how little, I may look at Twitter on a given day, during the early evening hours, I’m going to get an email from Paper.li with a link to my daily newspaper, which just so happens to consist of the links being shared by the people I follow on Twitter that day. I have a separate one for each of my Twitter accounts. I browse it, typically in the evening, but sometimes with my morning coffee, finding interesting articles that I may want to share, or blog about. –Paper.li has moved to a paid model, where the free newsletter is limited to 5 stories per day. I have since started using Nuzzel to collect links from my Twitter feeds for later browsing.
- Tweetdeck – My absolute go-to Twitter program. Sadly, it is no longer available as a desktop application for Windows, or an app for my smartphone, however the website version is great. It’s by far the best way to instantly interact with multiple Twitter accounts at the same time, or follow multiple hashtags at once. (Like say, following a conference hashtag). Again, I don’t necessarily spend a ton of time on Twitter (Unless it’s interacting with other fans during an Ohio State/Dodgers/Islanders game.), but when I want to dip my toes in and see what’s happening, or respond to any mentions, retweets, etc. that’s the place I can go and get it all done across my accounts quickly and efficiently.
- Flipboard – An awesome app that let’s me “subscribe” to topics across the platform, and browse any of the latest posts from my iPad or iPhone. A great way to kill some time when I’m not at a computer, like waiting rooms, eating by myself, etc.
- Facebook and other social networks. – I don’t necessarily depend on Facebook and other networks to provide my news, but I am absolutely willing to browse them as time allows.
Each of my Facebook pages follows other pages in that interest area, and I will dip in and see what else is being shared on Facebook when time allows.The pages feed for a page, the newsfeed for items shared by pages that you follow using a page, mysteriously disappeared from Facebook earlier in 2020. I no longer rely on Facebook much at all for news.
- WordPress Historian Plugin – It hasn’t been updated in awhile, and I do have some concerns about possible security issues that may arise eventually, but until I find a replacement, I do rely on this plugin to show me what I posted during this current week a year ago, two years ago, and so on. Those anniversary dates are a great time to reshare some evergreen posts from my blogs. Not everything, but the ones that still matter.
So that, in a nutshell, is where I’m finding things to share while still limiting my time commitment. On the next installment, we’ll talk about what I do when I find an article that I want to share and how I can quickly do that with some automation.