Another Jenius Thanks to Janine Mendes-Franco for grabbing another of My posts for Global Voices Online. I simply must meet this woman...
Jenius Friend Kevin Shockey thought it would be interesting if I explained My information-sifting system. First, the why.
On a daily basis, I will send 3-12 e-mails to people, from My Special One to Family to Friends to Colleagues with links to stuff I think they would like. Many people do this; I do it constantly. For another, I write or speak about a wide variety of topics and will often get consulted on a topic to which I can provide a cogent reponse and expanded information.
There's a reason I'm known as a Jenius (though I'll concede this might not be it.)
So here's the system: I use Opera as My browser (almost always have, always will) and its start page for Me is Speed Dial, a one-page icon-sized preview of My daily websites. These are: Lifehacker, Madville, Metafilter, BoingBoing, Neatorama, Reddit, Mixx, Google News (personalized), Hey It's Free!, The Sports Guy and 9Rules.
Every morning I go to Lifehacker, Madville, Metafilter, Neatorama and Reddit, in that order. Takes Me about 10-20 minutes and I almost always find 8-16 links I can use. I will revisit each of these 2-5 times, depending on how much time I spend in front of My Mac and how bored I might be, adding about 8-18 more a day. (Yes, I kept track so I could make reasonable estimates. I'm very glad that's over.)
I visit Mixx and Hey It's Free! once a day; Google News and The Sports Guy 3-4 times a week and 9Rules once a week. From 9Rules I can get 12-30 links in about 20 minutes.
I also have a Session (Opera allows for saving multiple bookmarks to reopen as a group) called ZipBang (for reasons I misplaced in the flood) which has Synthesis, Dumb Little Man, Socyberty, Woot!, Zen Habits, Wise Bread, The Red Ferret Journal, Lifehack, Kottke.org and io9. (Eclectic Jenius be I.) I go through these in about 5 minutes, finding 1-3 links a day on average.
I have another Session called Twice Weekly (functional name this time) which contains 1001 Rules for My Unborn Son, Arts & Letters Daily, Buzz Feed, Cool Tools, Cool Websites, Dondequiera (a local blog sadly on hiatus right now), How to Save the World (Dave Pollard's astonishingly smart and irritating blog), My Digital Life, On Simplicity, Puerto Rico: A Paradise Lost?, Roasted Peanuts, Slashfood, Springwise and Stat of the Day. From these I get 2-5 links per session.
Then I have My e-mails, where I receive anywhere from 2 to 9 feeds a day on topics ranging from federal grants, tech news and online education to creativity/innovation, philanthropy/fundraising, sciences, health/medicine and board games. (Yes, I said "board games.")
Doing some quick math, you'll guess I spend about 80-120 minutes a day on this "information track" and you'd be right. You'd also guess I collect about 34-44 links a day, and again, you'd be right. But if only about 8-9 go out, where do the rest go?
I have over 11,000 bookmarks in Opera, with almost 95 folders in the Manage Bookmarks section. All of these are currently synched online (Opera does that automatically) so I can access them from any computer by logging into MyOpera. Most bookmarks are stored in My Action, To Do, Jenius or project folders (currently 4 are open; 2 more coming on board this weekend) or in several other folders, one of which is a series called GrabBag (now in its 10th iteration, with each one averaging 178 bookmarks.) (Yes, I counted.)
For sharing, I'll run every link I look at through a mental checklist, summarized here: Me (of course), My Special One, Kaleb, projects, colleagues, Jenius, friends, Twitter or trash. I recently re-upped on Twitter and its primary purpose is to serve as a File 12 before I go File 13 on what I'm reading.
Then (you didn't think I was finished, right?) I scan almost every link I open for links to other items that might be interesting (My longest segue, I think, took Me through over 30 websites and 3 hours) and follow those until I either have to work, reach a dead end or get bored. Lately My segues have averaged about 5-6 link trails a day.
I also receive some magazines (through Zinio) and do research on 3-4 topics a week which also lead Me down link trails. So if I tell you I spend, on average, 14-16 hours a week on "info-sifting," you know I ain't joking.
And all this I do for the simple pleasure of zapping My Brain with something new, whether it's a medical procedure, a political argument, a tech meme, a sport stat, a new technology, a business trend, breaking news, trivia, financial advice, science theory, science fact, science fiction or a landscape picture for wallpaper.
Oh, Twitter is back on My Speed Dial and I try to drop in on it 2-3 times a day. But much like listening to random conversations around town, it is boring. I'm looking around again to replace it with something useful and interesting, which shouldn't be hard at all.
The Jenius Has Spoken.