April 27, 2010

No More Input!!!

Do you remember the quirky film starring Ally Sheedy and Steve Guttenberg called “Short Circuit” In it, a robot, named "Number 5" comes alive and proceeds to try and learn everything about human culture. He starts out saying "Need more input”. He ends up screeching "NO MORE INPUT".

I was reminded of this film recently while speaking with a couple of colleagues about the sheer volume of data available today, especially with the Internet. We explored several ideas and shared thoughts on how to sift through the volume of data, finding relevant information while still being productive.

Here are some things we discussed.

Learn how to use a search engine. Go beyond the basic search function and learn how to use the advanced features. Start with Google but also check out others such as Yahoo, Bing, and Ask.com. Look for industry specific ones as well. Focus on the difference in their results.

Save time by letting the Internet notify you. Some services, like Google, have created an email service that notifies you when something relevant has changes with a topic. For example, we have told our sales people to set up Google Alerts for all of their key accounts. They now get email notices when their accounts do something significant.

Blogs are a great way to get information relevant to your field or interest. The challenge with blogs is there are so many. How do you find ones relevant to you? First, decide what you want to know. Then check with colleagues in your industry to see who they follow. Finally , go to Alltop.com. This a great web site that holds a database of the top blogs in multiple categories. To find a blog, simply enter a term in the search field, such as “leadership”. The site will return a list of several blogs covering that topic including excerpts of the five most recent posts.

RSS Feeds:
Okay, you have discovered some relevant blogs, you have subscribed to some cool newsletters, and you’ve set up Google Alerts, now what? Now you should take advantage of RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds. Many sites include a link to what’s called an RSS feed. This is a protocol that packages a web site’s content in a special format that can be read without having to access the site. This process allows you to subscribe to a series of feeds, aggregate them together in one place, and read them at your leisure. I recommend signing up for Google Reader as your aggregator and web-based reader. I then would find a good mobile reader for access while away from your desk.

I hope these ideas are useful. Next month I will review some other areas we discussed.

Until then, No More Input.

Let me know your ideas in the comments.  < See related post http://bit.ly/9AD3PS here. >

Tweet as reference http://bit.ly/cWH7QM


Shirley Fine Lee said...

Daryl - Great ideas!
How to Better Manage the Time You Spend on the Web with Organization
is an article with 2 more ideas plus explanation of RSS. If readers
scroll down to the resource section they will find links to other time saving
ideas for using the computer and email.

Joey said...

Great ideas and tips, Daryl. Thanks for sharing!