“If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books reads.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
Today, Emerson might encourage us to ask about blogs instead of books. While there will always be a special place for books, blogs and other online resources provide an abundance of valuable information. (You’ll even find great stuff from some of your favorite authors without having to wait until their next book comes out. )
These days, there is so much information published that it might seem impossible to keep up. For a little perspective on how much information is being put online, here are a few things that are happening every minute of every day:
- Facebook users share nearly 2.5 million pieces of content.
- Twitter users tweet nearly 300,000 times.
- Instagram users post nearly 220,000 new photos.
- YouTube users upload 72 hours of new video content.
- Email users send over 200 million messages.
How can anyone find the valuable, relevant needles in this infinite haystack of information? The key is creating a personalized way for the content you want comes to you, so you can read important stories efficiently. This type of personalized reading helps you keep up with your world and get better at what you do.
Right now you might be thinking, “Sounds great, but how to I create this magical, personalized system?” The answer is news feeds.
What are news feeds?
Feeds are a way for websites to distribute their content without requiring people to actually come visit their website. Feeds permit subscription to regular updates, delivered automatically via a web portal, news reader, or in some cases good old email.
This type of technology (RSS, Atom, XML) enables anyone to keep track of a large number of your favorite websites or blogs, without having to remember to check each site manually or clutter your email inbox.
Subscribing to feeds lets you keep track of a large number of your favorite sites without having check each site manually.
Watch this video to see how it works:
(Note: Google Reader no longer exists-Feedly works basically the same way)
Create Your Own Personalized Feeds
Fortunately, you can start building your own tailor-made reading list of the topics you’re most interested in less time than you spend in line at Starbucks. Not only will you be more efficient, you can also segregate your reading to times when you can browse and read at your leisure. For example, you might want to peek in on your professional interests during work hours, and save your personal interests to read at home in the evenings or over the weekend.
Personally, I like to read in the Feedly iPad app over my morning coffee every day. Here are a few options for you to choose from that will let you subscribe to feeds and start building your own custom reading experience today:
- Feedly – My personal choice and I prefer the iPad app to the web version.
Website | Tutorials | Chrome extension | “Add to Feedly” Bookmarklet Apps
- Flipboard – This app has a beautiful magazine-like display and has a feature to help you discover new sources based on the ones you already like.
Website | Tutorials | Apps (iOS) others also available
A Few L&D Sources to Get You Started
Here are a few good learning and development sources to get you started.
PRO TIP: When you see an article you really like, go look for the authors website or Twitter account and subscribe to those.
Activity 1: Setup Your Feed Reader
Create a feed reader account. Why not try them both?! (Both have add-ins for your web browser and apps for your smartphone or tablet)
Activity 2: Subscribe to your favorite sites
Think of the websites you frequent and plug a few of them into your reader. Try subscribing to at least 3 sites you already know and 3 new sites. To help each other, share a professional site you added and why you like it in the comments below.