How I manage the deluge of social information

Posted by gminks in Social Media how-tos | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

I’ve been an information junkie my entire life. I will read anything I can get my hands on. When I was a little girl I read almost all of the books in my school library, but during the summers there was a problem. We lived pretty far away from the public library. Luckily there was a bookmobile that came around, and read almost everything on that too.

I was an expert at researching the Reader’s Guide to Periodic Guide Literature (kids that’s what we used before Google). I’ve always loved to tap into whatever it took to get the scoop on a story, and to find out how something worked. I’m sure this inner librarian bug I have is why I love social media.

me-at-library

Me perusing the Reader's Periodic Guide to Literature

In this post, I’m going to explain how I curate social information using Twitter and my RSS Reader. I may update this in a few weeks once I obtain my Dell SMaC certification. From what I understand,there are some pretty cool tools to tame the social data deluge that are available once you get that certification – I’ll report on that later.

Twitter

In addition to using clients that allow you to separate tweets into streams, I use lists and favorites to capture interesting nuggets of info.

Here are the Twitter directions for making lists. You only get 20 lists, and you can have up to 500 Twitter accounts on each list. I have some huge generic buckets for my lists (edupeeps, emcpeeps, storage). I have a list for my family, because their tweets get lost (and they get mad at me when I miss something). You can also follow lists that other people have created. I love following conference lists, because it gives you an organized list of people who are in the same industry, but don’t necessarily tweet about the same topics. Also, most Twitter clients allow you to access lists you have created on Twitter.

I use Twitter favorites to bookmark tweets. Most of the time I’m on my Android when I do this. I’ll see a tweet with an interesting-looking link but I don’t have time to really read the link. I’ll bookmark it, and then several times a week I go through the bookmarked tweets.

My biggest Twitter advice: don’t try to read every single tweet. You will just make yourself crazy. Create lists to organize the folks you follow. If you are new, follow lists other folks have created, you will probably make some new Twitter friends that way.

RSS Reader

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. Most social content will allow you to pull the RSS feed of their content into an RSS reader. I tried to find a nice list of RSS readers, but there doesn’t seem to be one, maybe that will be a future blog post. If you want a more detailed explanation of RSS, check out this video.

I use Google Reader. I am subscribed to 276 RSS feeds. I have those organized into 29 folders. I always have more than 1000 unread blog posts. I like to browse through the reader at least once a week. I follow all sorts of feeds on topics ranging from storage, technology, our competitors, online comics, women in technology, food, autism, and general geeky goodness.

You won’t be able to keep up

Maybe the key is to managing the deluge of social information is to understand that you won’t be able to keep up. Do your best to organize the information you pull from social sources. If you are doing social for work, pay the most attention your work filters (ignore the geeky goodness if you start getting overwhelmed!). If you start pulling lots of information, be sure to set a filter for your family. And remember to leave time to be social, share some of the info you find with others and interact with the people who have shared the information with you.

4 Responses to How I manage the deluge of social information

  1. Kris says:

    Oh em gee, you are me! Right down to the childhood love of the periodic guide, bookmarking of tweets to go back to later, and number of RSS feeds and unread posts. It’s uncanny! I finally installed a decent RSS reader on my iPhone, so now when I’m waiting (aty child’s softball practice, dentist office waiting room, etc.) I can peruse some of my favorites.

  2. Ann Shea says:

    Gina,

    I enjoyed this post and classic pic of you reading Reader’s Guide to Periodic Guide Literature! Pre-social media junkie days for me saw me as a kid actually reading the encyclopedias at home to try to find some interesting stuff. (I supposed I was inspired by my hero, Encyclopedia Brown, remember him?) I don’t remember much that I read from those musty books today, except the sign language alphabet. My sister and I learned it and had a blast signing in our “secret” silent language.

    I also remember the bookmobile with that anticipation and delight that you describe. It was like a Santa’s sleigh on wheels, and it came ’round more than just once a year!

    Anyway, thanks for the Twitter tips & tools. I will look for your edupeeps list, as well as future instruction on taming the overwhelm. Especially as I just got my droid yesterday (fun and danger?), you can be my guide.

    my best to you and your readers,
    Ann, Miami
    (@annieinthesun on twitter)

  3. gminks says:

    OMG I LOVED Encyclopedia Brown!! I think the interesting thing about social media now is that some of us are realizing this is just an extension of old ways of sharing info. I think its so important that we remember the information is what is important – not branding, not messaging. When you think about what an incredible channel this is for connecting and sharing – its like the bookmobile x a kazillion! We can’t let that go to waste…

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