Once upon a time, not so long ago, I followed half a dozen blogs, and as well as a few Nings and Yahoo groups. Mostly I used the browser favourites and history drop down to check my “usual suspects” for updates. But times change, and I now have over thirty blogs I follow regularly, a hundred or so people on Twitter I follow, as well as several hashtags, and dozens of discussion groups. Clearly my old, haphazard method doesn’t cut it anymore. So here are some of the tools I use to manage my digital life:
Google bookmarks and iGoogle
iGoogle is a personalized homepage on which you can arrange widgets however you like. The widget I have placed prominently on my iGoogle page is my Google bookmarks. These are very much lik ethe standard browser favourites, except they are stored online and can be accessed from anywhere. And with the Google toolbar, bookmarking is as easy as clicking a button. In addition, I have started prefixing my Google bookmarks, so that they appear grouped in the list. I have, for example, Blogs – , Forums -, School – , and Personal -, that I use to classify them. You can also use labels to classify the bookmarks, but I like to see them all with their respective identifiers. Now, I don’t bookmark everything using Google, just my “regulars”. For items I want to save for later perusal or reference, I us:
I use Delicious, but I hear great things about Diigo (I don’t use it because of issues with my school proxy, and I have been using Delicious happily for years). Here I can save and tag anything I come across for later retrieval. Very useful.
Twitter is great, but the actual website is limited in how it can present your feeds and searches. Tweetdeck lets me have my feeds and searches each in their own column for easy perusal. And of course it was through Twitter that I found all those blogs I need to keep track of.
Google Reader and FeedDemon
I got tired of checking through my list of blogs to see who had posted something new, so I set up a Google Reader account, which searched the blogs for me, and shows me when new articles are posted. I find Google Reader itself a little busy, so I also run FeedDemon, which resides on my local machine, but syncs with Google Reader. All in all, a very efficient way to follow what’s new.
If you need to sort out your digital world, give these simple tools a try.