Drowning In Information

Help! Between my endless stream of traditional media info and my new “I can find you anywhere.” media information hydrant I feel like I’m treading water just trying to keep up.

(Cue the dun-ta-dah ‘to the rescue’ music.) I’m here to help ma’am (said in my most Dudley Do-right voice). It’s so easy to get carried away in trying to suck up all the info you really want. But c’mon, you have a life, or at least you should. Since Tivo, and podcasting have helped you tame the radio and TV info management issue, allowing you to watch and listen on your terms, I though it might be helpful to share some tips from some interactive friends for taming your online world.

Greg Swan points out that there are “Information Hoarders”, the junkies that can’t seem to get enough info. If that’s you this should be of some real help.

We’ll get to the web in a bit. Let’s start with your own little slice of info heaven, your computer. After years of e-mails, documents, downloaded photos, applications, widgets and what not, you have a treasure trove of info that caters to your interests both personal and professional. Now, if you could only find it…

First, from the makers of online search (and possible owners of the free world), try Google Desktop search. This bad boy brings the Big G’s search capability to your entire hard drive and your MS Outlook sent and received. To bad it can’t do the same for your kitchen junk drawer. Swan shares his ‘word of the day’; taxonomy to point out that it’s a good idea, if you haven’t already, to start tagging your files with the words that will make you remember them. Put that word in the file name or on the document itself.

Alisa Coddington sings the praises of Xobni (inbox spelled backwards…cute). This little doo-dad, also for Outlook,
offers email analytics, attachment discovery, and contact details.

Another word of the day is ‘bacn’ (pronounced…well…bacon). Avoid it!
This is made up of all those newsletters and updates you subscribed to
because you ‘needed them’ but, face it, you don’t really read. If you
don’t look at these almost every time they come in, zip ‘em. Get online
and unsubscribe and keep them out of your inbox.

As you move out into the ether, there is no shortage of on-line tools
to help you stay organized. The key of course organizing what is
relevant to you. Even hoarders need to have limits. Firefox 3 offers
plenty of add-ons to organize your online activity. From Digg, to
Del.icio.us, to StumbleUpon, all can become part of the browser and it rocks!

Of course, you can’t forget good old Google for search but there are
also tools like Dogpile and Google’s test project Searchmash that will
combine search engines together.

You’ll also need a reader to keep all of your RSS feeds in one place.
Google Reader is my default but Garrick Van Buren is developing
Cullect. The great thing about this aggregator is that it looks to your
friends and those you respect to help curate the most important feeds
to you. Imagine only reading the posts that are most relevant to you
without wasting time skimming those that aren’t.

On the social media side, you can combine all of your blogging, texting, etc
into one Friendfeed. Then follow the feeds of others and cram it all
through Alert Thingy, that will give you a nice pop-up like your e-mail application probably does when something
new is posted.

These are all great ways to get a handle on your info overload and save
you time. Admittedly, you’ll need to invest some of that precious time
in experimenting with what works best. IN the end, it will be a great
investment. If none of these work for you, don’t worry. It’s now
Friday, by Monday there will be more to try. But now that you’re more
organized, you will actually hear about it!

Good luck and don’t hesitate to let me know what works best for you. I’m only scratching the surface.


  1. Thanks Greg. I should’ve used this link to begin with. All better now.