infooverload-cYou know me… I live, eat, and breath social media.  Believe it or not, though, I’m not the most prolific poster among my peers.  I chime in when I see fit, and I’ll throw out a blog link or retweet now and then.

For the most part, though, I’m content erring on the side of posting paucity unless I have something worthwhile to say.  Instead, I prefer soaking it all in; wallowing in the mud of information overload…. and what a mudhole it is!

Even for a niche as specialized as voice-acting, there is more to read in one day than any of us have time for.  Derek Chappell’s ever-expanding compendium of voice-over blogs is impressive.  FaceBook VO groups abound.  Add in VO Twitter Lists, Google Plus VO Communities, Stumble-Upon, Reddit, Delicious, VoiceOverXtra, Johnny HateBait, Voice Over Herald, and Steven Lowell, and you’ve got a full plate.

People ask me all the time how I navigate all the info out there to keep a consistent upper-hand on “the latest”.  Well, it helps that I’ve been dealing with information overload in my broadcast news job for decades.  I’ve established a few protocols that have even survived the explosion of information that came with the internet, PLUS some tools that help separate the wheat from the chaff online.

CourVO’s 5 Tips for Handling Info Overload

Be loyal to sites that have earned your trust over time  Most successful information sites from before the internet have managed survive the digital world too.  Wall Street Journal, CNN, Reuters, Wired, and Time Magazine are excellent examples. Digital-only publications have had enough time to earn a reputation, so ask around and get referrals from your friends, pay attention to the sites that seem to get a lot of traffic, and do your homework.

Triage your email, favorite websites, and blogs. Set your priorities before you begin browsing for the day, and don’t get swept in to click on anything but those subject headings or headlines that meet your priority.  Content providers are being trained to write great “hooks” to get you to click.  Don’t let them.  As you go through your email first thing in the day, cruise through all the subject lines and sender names looking for known quantities, clients, friends, and expected mail FIRST.  The rest can wait until later.

Use a feed reader.  Yes, there is life after Google Reader.  A “reader” is an online program that collates and displays all the content (without ads) from your favorite sites in one place.  It does that by utilizing the site’s “feed”.  That lingo is actually fairly arcane these days.  All you really need is the site’s URL, and you’re good.  Top Feed Readers these days are Feedly, FeedSpot, Kouio, and FlowReader.

Browse on your laptop without plugging it in.  When the battery runs out, you’re done. It’s that simple, and it’s for those days when you just can’t seem to stop surfing…and there’s just that one…more…site…

Consider a News Aggregator.  I like The Tweeted Times the best.  Tweeted Times is a personal newspaper generated from your Twitter account.  It sure beats mousing through your Twitter stream forever.  Paper.li is another service like this.  Both are free, and you get to configure what’s included.

Honorable mention Online search.  Yes, I mean Google, Bing, and YouTube.  UNBELIEVABLE how good they are. Use short keywords on the topic you seek, and I’ll be amazed if you don’t find what you’re looking for.  Wanna go deeper?  Try Twitter’s advanced search or LinkedIn’s amazing search engine.

What have I missed?

CourVO

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