Here's the problem with subscribing to blogs, tweets, and social networks

11:30 PM

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So I've been thinking about information and knowledge a lot lately. I remember the first time I discovered an RSS feed and I thought that this was really cool. I figured I could just have it scour the web looking for things that I was interested in and have it presented back to me in an easy to digest format, man that is cool.

Well, for while I was actually correct, it was cool and it was a very quick way to keep on top of what was happening. Flash forward, imagine, my excitement when I started realizing the benefits of joining social networks and then subscribing to specific blog posts and bloggers whom I was interested in and then of course the ability to subscribe to tweets, the joy was un-imaginable, the knowledge I could gain was virtually unlimited, talk about a fire hose!

I would say for close to two years I was able to get a virtually unlimited amount of information on almost any subject for which I had an interest. To some extent this has been pretty good. I've actually been able to gain a vast amount of different knowledge about subjects that I had very little knowledge of at the time. This is been especially good when working in small and medium businesses addressing issues of growth, where you have to multi-task and develop new skills at a rampant pace.

Over time, however, I realize that I was becoming overwhelmed with information, that I was unable to turn into knowledge. It was taking more and more time everyday just to casually review the information on subjects which I actually had a specific interest (most of which are now stored in Evernote, for future reference). I noticed that most of this time increasingly was devoted towards filtering out things that I already knew as opposed to actually looking at things that were in fact new bits of information.

As an example, when SEO became an important function of the marketing process I needed to understand how it worked. In particular, I needed to understand the most basic aspects of SEO and determine how it would affect the business, how to implement SEO correctly and how to monitor it.

So, like many I subscribed to bloggers who wrote about SEO, people who tweeted about SEO and news feeds related to SEO. The challenge was, as my general knowledge increased I had no way of telling my subscription services that hey, I already know a bunch of this stuff, what I'm really interested in this things that I don't know about SEO. I know longer wanted to read articles that started out with "5 things that every CMO needs to know about SEO". Heck, I knew 50 things about SEO by that time, what I wanted to know was the 2 "really new" things that I didn't already know.

What I really need now is the ability to follow certain subjects such as SEO, innovation, and start-up/growth business, but a much higher level of understanding. I know a lot about these subjects already, so spending my days sorting through titles or first sentence previews of information streams is really just a waste of time, what I need is the ability to tell my subscription services that I'm no longer at a basic level of understanding I need more advanced information on the subjects.

When I first began thinking about this problem, I thought that the easy solution would be to subscribe to the people who were writing at a more advanced level, so a blogger that wrote about advanced SEO as opposed to a blogger that wrote about entry-level SEO. The challenge with this is that many bloggers who are writing about a certain subject have to cover the entire gamut from early endeavors to mid range activity to more advanced activity, in order to make the writing interesting for any user (newbie, mid-range or expert) who might happen to find out about them by searching the web. So, I don't think it's practical to say just subscribe people who write at a higher level or just subscribe to the terms that may be used in higher-level discussions etc.

In the end my information subscriptions need to know how much information I've already covered they need to know how to sort out the basic from the mid range to the more advanced and only show me the information based on where I am in the understanding of a particular subject.

A man has got to have dreams.
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Ed Loessi