I was recently asked the question, “How do you stay informed of the latest trends and techniques in the industry?” While the answer could be different for everyone, I have found myself using non-traditional media outlets.
My personal Internet usage and tools has directed me towards two primary, reliable sources on data.
Twitter has a bad wrap for having too much noise. I am not here to say that there isn’t noise on Twitter, but isn’t the noise to filter every mass communication medium. I have found that connecting with the right people and resources on Twitter brings me the kind of information I want/need in a real-time environment. To me Twitter has even overtaken traditional news outlets (sorry newspapers and TV stations).
But I don’t use Twitter straight up, I rely on 3rd party Apps to help me traverse and share information. For my needs the best Apps out there are TweetDeck, Seesmic, and Hootsuite (in that order). I fancy the TweetDeck family of apps because of the interface and how I have created and make use of sorted columns based upon topic. TweetDeck enables me to browse the Twittersphere for the information I am looking for when I want to look. Not to mention TweetDeck has an iPhone App, desktop App, and a Chrome App.
Really Simple Syndication. The growth of Blogs has nurtured the adoption and acceptance of RSS. I use RSS to subscribe to content of leading industry blogs. And when they post new articles to their blog, I receive it in my RSS reader. I don’t have to periodically check their sites for new content. I would never be able access those sites and get any work done.
Like twitter RSS feeds can be daunting to monitor. Enter the Apps. I subscribe to RSS feeds with Google Reader and then have two 3rd party tools to view the feeds. While in a web browser I use the feedly extension. Available in both Firefox and Chrome, feedly is a great tool to read review the RSS feeds. feedly uses and syncs with your Google Reader account. When I am ‘mobile’ I use an iPhone App called MobileRSS. IMO the best RSS reader for the iOS. Like feedly, MobileRSS uses and syncs with your Google Reader account. Because the tools sync with Google Reader I stay connected with my blog reading and don’t have to worry about what I have and haven’t read. With over 100 subscriptions, double reading entries will any model of efficiency.
Being a web developer may tilt my view of the Internet up, but I have successfully relocated my source of information. This relocation has me operating more efficiently.