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How to Drink from the Media Firehose (Without Drowning)

What's Your Daily Media Diet?

By Published on .

B.L. Ochman
B.L. Ochman
The question I'm asked the most is "how do you stay informed?" And indeed, keeping up with the flow of news and information that bombards us daily has become Sisyphean. Many people have given up, and their skills have very quickly become fossilized.

Yet some people manage to not only keep up but also to keep ahead of the curve. They read, they blog, they Tweet, they write articles for a variety of online and traditional publications, they not only attend but also speak at conferences. And they have a life outside of work too!

How do they do it? Here – in a piece that, ironically, will add to the information deluge - is how some online personalities told me they stay ahead of the curve.

To find out how some of the best and brightest people I know I asked marketing strategist Toby Bloomberg, my editor at Ad Age, Michael Learmonth, Ford Motor's social media director Scott Monty, analyst and strategist Jeremiah Owyang, Adrants publisher Steve Hall, blogger and social media maven Tamar Weinberg, author and blogger Seth Godin, the prolific and ubiquitous Robert Scoble, and author and consultant Shel Israel to share their daily must-reads.

My questions: 1. What are your daily must-reads? 2. Do you still use an RSS feed?

Seth Godin, author of 12 bestselling business books:
I use an RSS reader, but my list changes daily. The list isn't important, what's important is the approach. I don't like the idea of 'buy the same golf clubs Arnold Palmer users and you too can play good golf.' The idea is to use Palmer's method, not his clubs. And that means experimenting, surfing, swapping things in and out. The minute I gave your readers a list would be the minute they could stop looking.

Jeremiah Owyang, analyst, blogger and Forbes columnist:
I do research so I'm interviewing folks on a regular basis. However my daily media diet includes: Techmeme.com, Digg. Google News, and a list of a few people I follow on twitter of industry news makers. I try not to get caught up in the churn of the noise as my job is to find out what's next. As a result, I don't use an RSS feed reader.

Michael Learmonth, digital editor, Ad Age:
I don't want to single out daily reads/tweeters because it really shifts given the day and context. I should say, though that the way the web is evolving, I can be reasonably sure that a story I need to know about will find me, not the other way around. That's a big shift from a few years ago. I'd like to say it's more than Twitter, but it really is mostly about Twitter. I use Google Reader but don't' rely on it much anymore. I read NYT, WSJ, several news sites, the competition, blogs, media aggregators, some email newsletters and big news sites like CNN.com.

Shel Israel, author of Twitterville and co-author of Naked Conversations:
Reads Google News, Twitter, NY Times o that all of them point him to myriad other content sources, but rarely uses an RSS feed reader anymore. "I never used Delicious or Digg--just played with them for a while to confirm they were not right for me."

Toby Bloomberg, Diva Marketing Blog:
Her never-miss daily reads are Tweets, Facebook and, of course, lots of email. Daily reads include: 4A, eMarketer, Ad Age, Interactive TV Today, Media Life and LinkedIn Groups. Bloomberg was using Bloglines, which closed its virtual doors recently. Delicious? - "not so often." Digg? - "no, can't be bothered."

Tamar Weinberg, author of The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web:
I have really diverse interests in social media, reading content from social media influencers in addition to search engine optimization bloggers. I subscribe to all my friends' Facebook updates via RSS and read content from other blogs like Lifehacker and Consumerist. Yes, I still use an RSS reader to consume all of my news; I still like consolidating everything into one place where I can read everything at my leisure. As for the content I never miss (and will save for later if I'm too busy): The Future Buzz, Outspoken Media, Viperchill (viperchill.com), and Seth Godin.

Scott Monty, head of social media for Ford and a blogger:
My top daily reads are the local papers (Detroit Free Press, Detroit News), the NY Times, WSJ and Financial Times. In addition to the print version of those, I read the digital version of the WSJ and NYT - paying particular attention to the "Times People" function to help introduce me to topics my network is finding of interest. This saves me time and helps me get the perspective of a wide variety of people. Twitter is a great news source for me. In addition to articles and posts that my network sends to me, I also use the Lists feature to categorize some of the people I follow and check out those limited streams regularly. My RSS reader is still active, but gets less attention than I used to give it. I use Google Reader to share items that I think are interesting, which are then placed in my blog for my readers. Significant blogs I pay attention to in that platform are: Mashable, www.mashable.com Techcrunch www.techcrunch.com Autoblog, ReadWriteWeb and A Suitable Wardrobe (hey, a guy's gotta have some fun!). Daily newsletters I pay attention to: Fast Company, Ad Age, PRWeek, eMarketer, and MarketingCharts.

Daily newsletters I pay attention to: Fast Company, Ad Age, PRWeek, eMarketer, and MarketingCharts. Finally, at Ford we have an internal publication called our Clipsheet that I not only read, but manage the team that edits and publishes it. The Clipsheet contains news from the previous 24 hours about Ford (our product, technology and corporate stories), our competitors, our industry and the wider business and economic climate.

Steve Hall, publisher AdRants:
"Top daily reads are Ad Age, Ad Week, AgencySpy, AdFreak, Make The Logo Bigger, Illegal Advertising, Copyranter, Adland, eMarketer. And my Twitter stream, of course. Yes. I know there seems to be a shift away from RSS readers but I still find them useful. Don't use Delicious or Digg. Oh, and I don't read any email newsletters at all."

Robert Scoble, Rackspace evangelist, prolific interviewer:
I follow 21000 Twitter accounts and I dive in and out all day long, clicking on what sounds interesting. If I only have five minutes I will look at Techmeme. I read news online...hundreds of them – BBC, CBC, CNN. I don't read newspapers. Why kill trees when everything that's in them is something I read online 12-24 hours before they come out. And you can't share something cool that you find in them! I'm a journalist, I want news before everyone has it. I look for things my readers will be interested to learn.

Drue Kataoka, Silicon Valley's Artist-in-Residence, blogger:
I don't like to be a slave to Twitter or news feeds - which lead to very superficial interactions. It is good to scan a lot of information and stay abreast of it, but perhaps even more important to engage with at least a few things deeply. I like to read news on my iPhone and iPad (Pulse News Reader for iPad is good) I'm trying out the new Digg but lately I like to immerse myself in the news source, so I block half an hour a day just to browse around and explore interesting stories. My dad used to read the entire New York Times cover to cover every day. Unfortunately I don't have the time to do that!

My daily reads: New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Women's Wear Daily, lot of great fashion blogs, TechCrunch, Mashable, AllThingsD, VentureBeat, CNN, BBC, Asahi Shimbun, my friends' tweets and blogs such as What's Next, Edge Perspectives with John Hagel, Daniel Sieberg's Blog, Presentation Zen, Global Choupal by Ashu Garg.

E.B. Moss of MossAppeal www.mossappeal.com:
As a marketer who is called on really frequently to incorporate social media into client work, there's a lot of pressure to keep my slim lead of being two steps ahead and be something of a pundit in their eyes...and not let a ball drop or a new tool go unknown. So, not only is my schedule filled with every conference and meet-up I can muster, but I end up with 17 windows open on my poor Mac with articles that I've started, that have had links to other articles that I had to open, each one promising "Five Must-Know Tips for a Solid Social Media Marketing Strategy.

Then I have to bookmark my bookmarks, in fear that I won't be able to find that article with the "10 Signs You Might be Missing Out on The Latest Social Media Tactic." So far, so good. Now I'm even conducting social media basic trainings. But I'm exhausted."

BL's list: my daily must-reads:

Being well-informed isn't just about knowing what's happening in your industry. It's about being inspired by ideas, events, people, places and beauty. The smartest people often forget the details in favor of the concepts. Where creativity is concerned, concepts almost always trump news.

I'm also making an effort to follow content from sources I disagree with so I don't just read stuff that reinforces my views. Hence, I am watching FOX News, reading the Wall St. Journal, and popping in on various other places I'm not a fan of. What does your daily media diet look like? Tell us in comments.

B.L. Ochman is managing director of emerging media at Proof Integrated Communications and can be found Twittering, at WhatsNextBlog.com or with her newest venture, Pawfun.com.
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