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Managing Information Overload
We increasingly rely on the Internet to communicate, learn, shop, work and play. As we use the Internet more and more for so many aspects of our work and lives, we may also experience information overload. Our days are no longer just filled with phone calls and emails but also text messages, mobile app notifications, pings from our social networks, and a constant, fast-moving stream of headline news and posts from friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and strangers.
Managing all the information we’re accessing - or even finding it again when we actually need it - can be incredibly challenging because there is simply too much of it. Luckily, there are applications on the web and available on smartphones to help you find content, archive it and then search to find it again. Whether you call these apps “bookmarking” tools or “archives in the cloud,” these tools can help you filter and access the information that’s important to you. Here are just a few:
Pocket - Install the Pocket bookmarklet on your web browser so when you find something you want to read at a later time, it is in one place. You can also save content from apps like Twitter, Flipboard, Pulse and Zite and from the Pocket app for iOS and Android. On the web, you can view your saved content in a list or grid view and easily share it to your social networks. You can also favorite and archive content or trash it.
Pinterest - You probably haven’t thought of Pinterest as a bookmarking tool, but it is one of the best visual archives around. Create boards to represent topics and then “pin” links to content on your boards. Content can be images or video, and you can add them either by uploading them directly or linking to them. Make sure to edit an uploaded pin with a URL if you want it to lead to a site. Use the Pinterest bookmarklet to easily identify images on a website to feature in the visual portion of your pins. Click on a pin to return to the source of the information. You can even create “secret” boards for personal use or private collaboration and public collaborative boards.
Scoop.it - You're a curator on Scoop.it. Create visual online topics or visual "magazines" of the content you find online. Use the Scoop.it bookmarklet on your web browser to "Scoop" and archive your content. You can also build smart searches on the Scoop.it site to help you cull content from trusted sources on the web on your topics of interest. Scoop.it has a social aspect where others can follow your publicly available topics and even recommend content for you to add to you list. Get two topics for free. Pricing starts at $12.99/month for additional capacity.
Evernote - Take notes and store content and links to content in Evernote then easily search your archive to find and remember things. You can use Evernote on your smartphone to make text notes, record and save audio notes, and take and organize photos as visual notes. An interesting feature on Evernote is the ability to search by the text within photographs through their image recognition feature. In addition to Android and iOS, Evernote is also available on the web with a bookmarklet to save and organize web content and links as well as for Mac and Windows desktop.
Pearltrees - If you like seeing a visual diagram or "map" of your content Pearltrees is for you. Organize content into "Collections" based on topics, then "Pearl" content from the web into the appropriate category. Nest Pearls inside of Pearls to build a hierarchy of organized information.
Storify - If you’re looking to organize social media content including Tweets, Instagram images and Facebook posts, use Storify to gather and archive that content info a more organized and linear presentation. Build a “story” by searching social media for specific keywords, your company or brand name, or better yet, a hashtag. Then drag and drop search results into your Story and rearrange, append, and otherwise organize into a permanent document. Use the Storify bookmarklet to save content you find on the web into a particular Story. If you’re documenting a live event, make sure to aggregate your content quickly as some social networks - like Twitter - won’t show the tweets for long.
Having the right application handy on your computer, your web browser and your smartphone or wifi enabled mobile device lets you better store your information to access later. Being able to access content at another time will free you up now and let you go through the content when you have more time to focus on it.