By B.L. Ochman
The question I’m asked the most is “how do you stay informed?” And indeed, keeping up with the flow of news and information that bombards us daily has become Sisyphean.
Many people have given up, and their skills have very quickly become fossilized.
Yet some people manage to not only keep up but also to keep ahead of the curve. They read, they blog, they Tweet, they write articles for a variety of online and traditional publications, they not only attend but also speak at conferences. And they have a life outside of work too!
How do they do it? Here – in a piece that, ironically, will add to the information deluge – is how some iconic online personalities told me they stay ahead of the curve.
To find out how some of the best and brightest people I know I asked marketing strategist Toby Bloomberg, my editor at Ad Age, Michael Learmonth, Ford Motor’s social media director Scott Monty, analyst and strategist Jeremiah Owyang, Adrants publisher Steve Hall, blogger and social media maven Tamar Weinberg, author and blogger Seth Godin, the prolific and ubiquitous Robert Scoble, and author and consultant Shel Israel to share their daily must-reads.
My questions: 1. What are your daily must-reads? 2. Do you still use an RSS feed?
What they had in common: all of them are always reading. They all use Twitter, they all read blogs and they all read some traditional media.
Michael Learmonth, Reporter, AdAge :
I don’t want to single out daily reads/tweeters because it really shifts given the day and context. I should say, though that the way the web is evolving, I can be reasonably sure that a story I need to know about will find me, not the other way around. That’s a big shift from a few years ago. I’d like to say it’s more than Twitter, but it really is mostly about Twitter. I use Google RSS but don’t’ rely on it much anymore. I read NYT, WSJ, several news sites, the competition media aggregators, some email newsletters and big news sites like CNN.com.
Seth Godin, has written 12 bestsellers that have been translated into 33 languages, and says he:
reads “about 100 blogs, newsletters, newspapers, magazines – “I use an RSS reader, but my list changes daily. The list isn’t important, what’s important is the approach…”
Like several other respondents, he didn’t want to give specific a list of what he reads. How you approach reading, he says, is what’s important “I don’t like the idea of “buy the same golf clubs Arnold Palmer users and you too can play good golf” The idea is to use Palmer’s method, not his clubs. And that means experimenting, surfing, swapping things in and out. The minute I gave your readers a list would be the minute they could stop looking.”
“I do research so I’m interviewing folks on a regular basis. However my daily media diet includes: Techmeme.com, Digg. Google News, and a list of a few people I follow on twitter of industry news makers.
I try not to get caught up in the churn of the noise as my job is to find out what’s next. As a result, I don’t use an RSS feed reader.”
Shel Israel , consultant., writer, author of Twitterville and co-author of Naked Conversations:
reads Google News, Tweets & NY Times and says that all of them point him to myriad other content sources.
Israel says he rarely uses an RSS feed reader anymore. “I never used Delicious or Digg–just played with them for a while to confirm they were not right for me.” Find him on Twitter @shelisrael
Tamar Weinberg, freelance writer and author of The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web (O’Reilly, July 2009) says:
I have really diverse interests in social media, reading content from social media influencers in addition to search engine optimization bloggers. I subscribe to all my friends’ Facebook updates via RSS and read content from other blogs like Lifehacker http://lifehacker.com/ and Consumerist. www.consumerist.com Yes, I still use an RSS reader to consume all of my news; I still like consolidating everything into one place where I can read everything at my leisure.
Scott Monty @scottmonty on Twitter, head of social media for Ford and a blogger said:
“Great questions – it really strikes at the heart of an issue that we’re all facing, in one way or another.
My top daily reads are the local papers (Detroit Free Press, Detroit News), the NY Times, WSJ and Financial Times. In addition to the print version of those, I read the digital version of the WSJ & NYT – paying particular attention to the “Times People” function to help introduce me to topics my network is finding of interest. This saves me time and helps me get the perspective of a wide variety of people.
In addition, Twitter is a great news source for me. In addition to articles and posts that my network sends to me, I also use the Lists feature to categorize some of the people I follow and check out those limited streams regularly. My RSS reader is still active, but gets less attention than I used to give it. I use Google Reader to share items that I think are interesting, which are then placed in my blog for my readers. Significant blogs I pay attention to in that platform are: Mashable, Techcrunch, Autoblog, ReadWriteWeb, and A Suitable Wardrobe (hey, a guy’s gotta have some fun!).
Daily newsletters I pay attention to: Fast Company, AdAge, PRWeek, eMarketer, and MarketingCharts.
Finally, at Ford we have an internal publication called our Clipsheet that I not only read, but manage the team that edits and publishes it. The Clipsheet contains news from the previous 24 hours about Ford (our product, technology and corporate stories), our competitors, our industry and the wider business & economic climate
Toby Bloomberg says:
“never-miss daily reads are Tweets, Facebook and does eMail count? She also reads eZines: 4A, eMarketer, Ad Age, Interactive TV Today, Media Life, LinkedIn Groups .. dependent on topic.
Bloomberg was using Bloglines, which closed its virtual doors recently. Delicious? – forget so not often Digg? – no, can’t be bothered “
Steve Hall – publisher AdRants says his:
“…top DAILY reads are Ad Age, Ad Week, AgencySpy, AdFreak, Make The Logo Bigger, Illegal Advertising, Copyranter, Adland, eMarketer. And my twitter stream, of course.
Yes. I know there seems to be a shift away from RSS readers but I still find them useful. Don’t use Delicious or Digg.
Oh, and I don’t read any email newsletter at all.”
“Rackspace employee who grew up in Silicon Valley and has interviewed more than 3,200 geeks. Has 140,975 followers on twitter, where he’s @scobleizer
I follow 21,000 (!!) Twitter accounts and I dive in and out all day long, clicking on what sounds interesting.
If I only have five minutes I will look at Techmeme
I read news online…hundreds of them – BBC, CBC, CNN. I don’t read newspapers. Why kill trees when everything that’s in them is something I read online 12-24 hours before they come out. And you can’t share something cool that you find in them!
I’m a journalist, I want news before everyone has it. I look for things my readers will be interested to learn.
The ever-fabulous Drue Kataoka, Silicon Valley’s Artist-in-Residence, blogger, fashion queen, and Master Sumi-e Artist sharing a Zen perspective on modern life, Silicon Valley and the world. Find her on Twitter at @DrueKataoka
“I don’t like to be a slave to Twitter or news feeds – which lead to very superficial interactions. It is good to scan a lot of information and stay abreast of it, but perhaps even more important to engage with at least a few things deeply.
I like to read news on my iPhone and iPad (Pulse News Reader for iPad is good) I’m trying out the new Digg but lately I like to immerse myself in the news source, so I block half an hour a day just to browse around and explore interesting stories.
My dad used to read the entire New York Times cover to cover every day. Unfortunately I don’t have the time to do that!”
Here are a few things Kataoka reads daily:
On Art & Fashion:
New York Times & Wall Street Journal
Women’s Wear Daily
A lot of great fashion blogs
My friends’ Tweets
My friends’ blogs such as What’s Next, Edge Perspectives with John Hagel, Daniel Sieberg’s Blog, Presentation Zen, Global Choupal by Ashu Garg
E.B. Moss of MossAppeal says:
“As a marketer who is called on really frequently to incorporate social media into client work, there’s a lot of pressure to keep my slim lead of being two steps ahead and be something of a pundit in their eyes…and not let a ball drop or a new tool go unknown.
So, not only is my schedule filled with every conference and meet-up I can muster, but I end up with 17 windows open on my poor Mac with articles that I’ve started, that have had links to other articles that I had to open, each one promising “Five Must-Know Tips for a Solid Social Media Marketing Strategy.”
Then I have to bookmark my bookmarks, in fear that I won’t be able to find that article with the “10 Signs You Might be Missing Out on The Latest Social Media Tactic.” So far, so good. Now I’m even conducting social media basic trainings. But I’m exhausted.”
BL’s list: my daily must-reads:
o Tweets and links from my Twitter lists (first things I read) because they lead me to links by people I follow. And those invariably lead me to search new topics.
o NY Times & Daily News print editions (yes, really. My commuting reads)
o My FriendFeed subs for interesting links by people I respect.
o AdRants and AdAge
o Email newsletters:
o Mobile Commerce Daily
o Read Write Web
o Marketing Vox
o Silicon Alley Insider
I’m also making an effort to follow content from sources I disagree with so I don’t just read stuff that reinforces my views. Hence, I am watching FOX News, reading the Wall St. Journal, and popping in on various other places I’m not a fan of. How about you?
Being well-informed isn’t just about knowing what’s happening in your industry. It’s about being inspired by ideas, events, people, places and beauty. The smartest people often forget the details in favor of the concepts. Where creativity is concerned, concepts almost always trump news.
Keeping up and squeaking ahead takes a toll, of course, mostly in sleep. But let’s face it: sleep is over-rated. And beauty sleep is for those who need it.
Illustration by Drue Kataoka