Information Overload and BlogHerDC

Information overload

When Elisa asked me if I would be part of the team that gave a presentation on information overload I was thrilled and also kind of blown away by the irony.

I got the e-mail two days later because I have too many e-mail addresses to have time to check them all every day. I have THOUSANDS of unread feeds in my reader. I was/am (I am in recovery) completely addicted to twitter.

I have serious internet issues. I can spend hours rearranging my netflix queue. I search for things that I have bookmarked just so that I might win something on blingo or winzy.* I could easily spends days looking at pictures on flickr that are tagged with BlogHer.

I even admitted during my panel that I never got a Facebook account for the same reason I never tried cocaine – I knew I would be the person who got addicted my very first time.**

So I started looking at ways to manage my own overload. Fortunately I had some help. Cindy Samuels and I worked on the presentation together and we got some fantastic tips from Beth Kanter who was giving the same session at BlogHer Boston.

I learned a lot about being overwhelmed by the internet and the blogging communities and the ever growing sphere of social media.

I learned a lot about myself.

If I could just give you a few tips – the things that were most helpful to me – these are the top five:

1) Step away from the computer. Don’t forget to live your real life.

If you are bad at that, set a timer. I wish I could remember who said it in our session, but an audience member actually uses an egg timer. Give yourself 20 minutes on Twitter. When the times goes off close the window.

2) You cannot read everything everybody writes. You may never catch up on your reader. It is okay. If somebody expects you to read every word that they write it is their problem, not yours. (Unless you are their editor, then they are paying you good money for that.)

3) If you blog for work, think of your social media hours as marketing and budget your time accordingly.

4) If you use Google Reader there is a great tool that I use on a regular basis. There is a little star in the top left corner of each post. If you click on the star in a post it will save to your “starred items” folder. This allows me to fly through my news/sports news feeds just saving the ones I really want to focus on for a time when I have the ability to really sit down and spend some time reading something. It is also very helpful when you are doing research for a post.

5) Utilize Google Alerts. They are great for researching topics for articles and a simple ego alert/alert for your url can save you time trying to figure out where your traffic is coming from.

Thanks to everyone who came to our session. It was a tough sell being up against the political panel in DC, but it was a great experience. I hope those of you were there got as much out of it as I did.

* In fact I have even been knows to search for the winzy site using blingo. I know – I am pathetic.

** Of course now every has convinced me that I NEED a Facebook page for business. I’ll be signing up for one later today – maybe, if I get around to it. Maybe tomorrow.