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How to Manage the Info 'Stream' Before It Manages You

Keeping Up With Blogs, Twitter, Social Networks

By Published on . 6

Tweets, texts and feeds -- oh my. It's enough to make anyone go batty -- if it lets you. But like it or not, as I mentioned in my last column, we need a new set of skills to "keep up" and manage our streams, rather than let them manage us. Here are my three favorite tips.

Steve Rubel
Photo: JC Bourcart
Steve Rubel is a marketing strategist and blogger. He is senior VP-director of insights at Edelman Digital.

  1. Find a Digital Curator You Trust and Stick With It
    Years ago I met with one of the more influential thinkers in the social-media space. I asked her how she keeps up. Her answer surprised me. She only reads the SmartBrief on Social Media, a daily digest newsletter. I, too, find myself turning to curators such as the SmartBrief, as well as TechMeme, Tweetmeme and Regator. Find one that tracks the verticals and people you need to follow.

  2. Archive, Search and Skim
    In the personal productivity world, some eschew sorting documents and e-mails in folders in favor of just throwing them into an archive where they can be easily searched later. The same approach works well for managing your stream.

    Use a tool like Google Reader to subscribe to lots of content, including say all your friends on Twitter. However, view it as a personal, searchable database rather than another collection bucket you have to read and clear.

  3. Make Unusable Time Usable Again
    Since I got my iPhone two years ago, I can't remember the last time I was bored. Time that was once wasted -- waiting on line at the DMV, riding the subway, even waiting out a rain delay at a ball game -- is now once again usable.
  4. One site that I rely on more than any other is Instapaper.com. You add a special bookmark to your browser that can be used to clip any article on Instapaper for later review. Then, pull up Instapaper on any mobile phone and it will present you with lightweight versions of those articles. There's also an iPhone app that makes all articles available offline.

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