Power Tip for Information Curation

I process a lot of information, in the form of news items through trends analysis and “how-to/lifehacking/business strategies posts.” Here are some suggestions based on how I work, that might help you:

  1. I use social media to connect with and discover thinkers. Social media is my way of finding people who regularly publish things I want to read.
  2. I subscribe to email newsletters from these thinkers and regular publishing outlets, that arrive in my inbox. I don’t have to worry about missing what someone says, because it automatically comes to me.
  3. I use a variety of ways to access news items (eg newspapers, magazines): Flipboard, Feedly (RSS Feeds), Tweetbot (with a curated list on Twitter), and a curated list of links (stored in a Google Doc) that takes me straight to the specific pages on a newspaper (eg NYT World). I use these different ways at whatever time is convenient (Feedly on desktop, Flipboard on phone, and so on) – but (and this is most important) whenever I find an article, I save it to Pocket. Whatever you use to save is unimportant – I’ve tried different mechanisms – the point is that the broad “funnel” of news sources gets narrowed to one, shared, central location. (That way you don’t have to go back to each system’s way of “saving” articles).
  4. In email (I use Gmail), I use filters to automatically sort incoming newsletters by frequency. I do this because it’s the simplest way (trying to analyze “topic” is too hard for most newsletters) and because frequency is a great sorter – weekly newsletters typically have a different kind of content from daily newsletters (often deeper) and newsletters that share the same frequency often share the same quality of content. Plus, if I don’t sort by frequency, monthly and weekly newsletters can get lost in the clutter of daily.
  5. (I also sort out “daily link recommender” type emails from “daily news summary” emails, as these two are quite different – I have some Google News Alerts set up.)
  6. I have learned to very rapidly skim all of these items for things I want to go deeper into. When I encounter something, I immediately save the link to Pocket (usually right-click, save to pocket). Then, in the mornings, I go back through these for material for this Daily Blog, which eventually feeds into the Weekly Blog.

The point of all this is to have a broad net, yet have a way of quickly moving things from level to level in the net. I can’t give equal attention to 1,000 twitter posts, but I can decide for any single poster a “yes/no” about whether I want to hear more from them. Then, for any single emailed newsletter, I can decide “yes/no”, for a bit of the newsletter (e.g. a link or an article or whatever) whether to save to Pocket. This gradually reduces, by a series of quick decisions, the number of articles I need to deal with.

prioritize learning

A 2×2 matrix to help you prioritize the skills to learn right now” (HBR). This is an interesting approach to figuring out what we should “learn next.” It also lends itself to identify phases for just-in-time training. It would be potentially useful to identify the skills in CPM/DMM (or in any other large missiological body of knowledge; for example, BAM) and break them down by “time” and “utility” as this article suggests.

Editor’s Note I do continue to update old…

Editor’s Note: I do continue to update old posts with new articles & links about the subject; for example, this post about the Kurdish referendum has been updated with several new pieces. These will eventually make their way to the Roundup, but checking justinlong.org/blog will let you see updates.

Also, want to read an article often behind a newspaper paywall? Often, right-clicking the link, opening in an Incognito or Private window will get you in.

double income invisible kid

China’s modern families: double income and invisible kid.“: “Child-averse young couples are increasingly succumbing to social pressure to start families, only to foist the kids onto older relatives.” This is a fascinating piece of research; I wonder how widespread this trend actually is? “…expressed a general dislike of children… difficulties with raising a child… chastised for dim view of parenthood… pressure to continue family line… had a kid for our parent’s sake… hounding us about it constantly… gave our child to our parents to raise, while our lives remain centered around each other…”

9/27 “My parents say hurry up and find a girl”: China’s millions of lonely ‘leftover men.’ By 2020, 30 million more young men than women in China.