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Home  > Article

How to Keep Up in the Digital World

By Lynette Webb
Talent Zoo

The media world is always changing, especially in the digital realm, and it can be hard to keep up. Fortunately, there are some websites and online tools that make it a lot easier.

For a snapshot of breaking technology news, you can't beat Techmeme.com. This finds the stories that are the most talked about relating to technology - often before they hit the mainstream news sites. For a more edited approach, the technology sections of the BBC, New York Times, Guardian, BusinessWeek and so forth are good to follow.

For coverage of niche fields, don't look past blogs - you'll be amazed how many people share your interests and do the legwork in tracking the most interesting stories. Google's blog search (blogsearch.google.com) can help you find them, as can StumbleUpon.com.

Of course, knowing where to look is only half the battle. Who has time to trawl round and read all these sources regularly? I certainly don't - which is why my life was revolutionised by RSS.

If you haven't already discovered it, RSS is a godsend, and it's free. In technical parlance, RSS stands for "really simple syndication," but basically it's a way of getting new articles from whatever websites you specify compiled in a single place. It makes them far quicker to skim-read than if you had to visit each website individually.

Almost every website publishes an RSS feed these days, whether they be newspapers or a home-grown blog. The only thing you need to get started is an RSS reader. Two of the simplest are Google Reader and Bloglines, but there are many others.

If you'd like to give it a try, you can see 10 of my favourite feeds for monitoring digital trends here : www.bloglines.com/public/digitaltrends. This includes everything from the technology sections of leading newspapers to key blogs. Click on each feed to see the latest stories, and select 'subscribe' in the top right if you'd like to add it to your own Bloglines account.

Reading news online also has the advantage of making it easier to unearth articles you've read previously.

One of my favourite free tools to help with this is Furl.net. You can get a "Furl" button for your browser that, when clicked, automatically saves a copy of whatever webpage you're viewing. The copy gets stored in your private archive online, which means you can access it from any computer even if the original webpage has since disappeared. Even better, you can search your private archive by keyword, meaning you'll never lose an article again.

A similar tool and long-time favourite of the 'technorati' is Delicious (del.icio.us). Delicious doesn't yet store full copies of pages, but it does save the link along with any labels, called "tags," you choose to give it. You can then browse your saved links by tag, as well as see who else has saved the same page. It's a great way of finding other people who are interested in following similar news as you. Everyone's delicious page is public and has an RSS feed, so you can even "subscribe" to see what new pages others have found. If you'd like to see an example, here's mine.

Of course, if you really want to keep up with digital developments, reading can't take the place of experiencing it first-hand. Here are three things you should do online, if you haven't already:

  1. Familiarise yourself with Web 2.0 luminaries - YouTube, Flickr, Wikipedia, etc. Because these sites can be bewildering when you first visit, I've set up a short introduction here.
  2. Dive into the world of social networking by setting up a Facebook account (or Myspace or Bebo). At the moment, Facebook is my favourite simply because it doesn't hurt my eyes to look at and seems to have swept through the UK agency world in the past month, but take your pick.
  3. Go explore some virtual worlds. The easiest way to do this is to take a tour with a virtual world travel agency like Synthtravels.com.

Happy surfing. :-)


TalentZoo.com is the online destination for both job seekers and employers in the communications industry. It's also a must for up-to-the minute content on industry trends, news, career guidance, or just to schmooze. Find a better life with Talent Zoo (http://www.talentzoo.com).






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