I am a bit of an information whore. I’ve always been an avid reader but my pattern of consumption has certainly changed over the years.
Over the past few years, I’ve occasionally thought that I’ve come across a new online tool that might help me manage or sift the information better. I thought like this about digg and delicious and stumbleupon but I’ve never managed to run a social bookmarks account successfully. More recently I started to think Twitter might replace my various sources of information. It doesn’t as there are too many issues about the recall and quality of information. So today I really just dip in to Twitter every now and then. This means that what I read / respond to is often determined by recency and opportunity rather than anything else (although I’ll always respond to anything directed at me, as soon as I can).
Given this at the moment I consume news (my definition of news rather than my wife’s, who thinks I could take in news by listening to the radio or watching TV) in a way similar to the one Alicia describes on the most recent Just Another iPhone blog, i.e. via RSS, email alerts, twitter etc.
However I’m preparing myself to think about changing the way in which I consume information and ideas, and the way in which I record my thoughts and perspectives, as my lifestyle may be changing shortly (due to a new job). At the moment I use the evenings after the kids (and sometimes my wife) have gone to bed to catch up with things. Since I handed in my notice I’ve also had the luxury of using an increasing amount of my train journey to catch up with news, rather than working.
In addition I’ve started listening to more audio podcasts as well, both on the train and when I’m doing the more repetitive or manual tasks at work or at home (for example I’ll listen to a podcast while mowing the lawn).
I think my reliance on audio is only going to grow given that in the new job I’ll be driving rather than taking the train, and I’d quite like to use the 30-40 minutes productively. Tools such as tweetmic and audioboo are opening up podcasting but what isn’t there yet is the search technology to find the sort of things that I’m going to be interested in. Adrian Graham explains this well in this audioboo.
The new job also means that I need to start tinkering with my OPML files for Google Reader and with my Friendfeed, which is the latest tool that I have high hopes for. The search is at least reliable for re-finding anything that I like/comment on/publish, but I will need to think about what tagging I need to do for audio (especially given my previous failures of using tags successfully on social bookmarking sites).