The gist: Since the advent of the internet, access to information has opened up many doors, but it has also been taking up our time and bandwidth, here are a few tips to help filter and share in a world of clutter.
It’s nothing new to note that we are inundated with mounds, truckloads and entire planets worth of information on a daily basis. The argument can be made that this is a fantastic development for humans—people have never had this kind of access to this amount of collective knowledge in history. True. But just like the constant meaningless “rabble” that goes on in each of our brains tends to distract and slow us down, so too does the constant bombardment of information that may not even be helpful to us.
Because of this age of “Information Overload,” several things are beginning to develop within the glutinous information consumers. The first is that we are becoming just that—obese with information. There are so many articles, tweets, ads, blogs, etc. that we feed on—coming from so many different categories—we never have the time to fully digest any of it and, therefore, never really apply it. We become mentally slower. The second is that people are beginning to catch on to this trend and are developing mental spam filters. They’re beginning to quickly determine which information meaningfully applies to them and which information is just dessert—which, honestly, is about 90% of what we come into contact with. Finally, everyone wants to keep up. It is hard to be the only guy out there not sharing content. So the information consumers are becoming guilty of regurgitating and sharing anything just to stay relevant.
What, then, are the implications of this on your business? The largest is time. Employees are spending more and more time filling themselves with news, updates, statuses, events, articles etc. and writing them too. Making sure the time is useful and not completely wasted should be the focus. The following tips can help cut the fat:
Know your audience. Don’t write on just anything to just about everyone. Know who will be reading your content. Who would seek more information from you? Write to them.
Use infographics and videos. When you can, an infographic or video can help solve the issue of adding to the constant bombardment of content. Dissolve it for the reader and pull out the nuggets to tell the story. Marrying design with information will create a visual solution that is engaging, compelling, digestible and time-saving!
Be concise and respectful of others’ informational diets. Quality is more important than quantity and your networks will appreciate it. If you’ve found something interesting that you’d like to share, be courteous and cut the fat for everyone else—give them what’s useful. Your followers will appreciate it.
Include briefs into articles. As seen in this article we probably saved a lot of people’s time by giving them the gist of content, so that they can decide if it is something they can throw a few minutes at. You can also do this by making your titles very informative.
Be helpful! People want to learn and be in the know, not have their time wasted. Give tips, share insightful articles and keep your audience informed. This will help you position yourself as a thought leader and trusted source and keep the readers coming back.
When consuming information spend less time on the “oh that’s cool” information and more time on the “needed” information. Ask yourself, while feasting, is this information actually useful to me? Something that I can actually apply to what I do? Or is this something that will just give me an extra conversation piece at the water cooler? Choose wisely.
Schedule your consumption. Go ahead and indulge in your favorite food porn site, watch some webseries or youtube “babies laughing”, just give yourself some boundaries as to not create a vacuum of your productive work hours.
Skim. Usually the real takeaways of any article are in the tips, headlines, and titles as well as in the last paragraph when everything is brought together. Drift your eyes over the longer pieces and see if you can’t gain what you need from it.
Lastly, for yourself, unplug! Close that Twitter feed, give Facebook and Linkedin a timeout, sign off and focus on a project for a while. You’ll be amazed at how much you can get done and how much better you’ll feel afterward.