Winning the Information Game: How To Collect, Organize, and Share Information

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“Knowledge is Power” and “The More You Know The More You Grow” these statements are wonderfully empowering, completely true, and yet the same time a bit frustrating wouldn’t you say? We would all love to know more….well most of us would, but where do you get the time to discover more? That’s it, time… right? There is just never enough time to do everything you would like to do. Well I cannot create more hours in the day but what I can do is help you manage the hours you have a bit more effectively, at least as it applies to gathering information.

Why do you need to be on the hunt for information?

The simple answer is Empowerment.

Educating yourself, staying up to date on new ideas and concepts, and having in-depth knowledge on the changes in technology not only empowers you it can also empowers your clients, colleagues, and ultimately your business. The information you gather should be used by you but also shared with your community, i.e. clients, colleagues, friends, associates, and your network online and off. The best way to share this information, also showcase your desire to stay educated and display your expertise as well, is through your blog, social media portals, and e-newsletters campaigns.

Where do you start?

You start with a Plan.

Look at what topics interests you, what information benefits your business, and what if shared would be of interest to your community i.e. your target market. Remember the days of writing papers in school….oh yeah that’s right you need an outline!

Create categories and then topics to go under those categories. Just use this as a primer, to be useful your information should be timely, relevant, and interesting so this “outline” will change over time.

Here’s an example for Bookkeeper or Accountant:

Ø Technology

§ Quickbooks

§ Online Banking

§ Expensing software

§ E-checks

Ø Business Highlights

§ Changing Regulations

§ Economy

§ In the News – CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, WSJ

Ø Tips & How To’s

§ Organization

§ Do’s and Don’ts

§ Best Practices

§ Software & Hardware Tips

Ø Money Saving

§ Sales & Discounts

§ All-in-one packages

§ Free upgrades / programs

Ø Events (based on target)

§ Small/Med Business  Events

§ Corporate Events

§ Online/Offline Trainings

§ Conventions

Ø Local / Personal Interests

§ Charities

§ Local / Community Events

§ Personal Outings – restaurants, theatre, music,

Where do you find all of this information?

Well the Internet of course!

Once you have your topics you just need to find the sources that will keep you up to date on those topics and then you will need to implement a method to access that information quickly and easily.

Having an online Reader is one way to efficiently and expeditiously take information from multiple sources and bring it into one organized location.

Google Reader

Netvibes

News.Yahoo.com

Another method for getting information from multiple sources on a particular topic or category quickly is to frequent websites that already do it for you.

Delicious

PopUrls

Alltop

I am going to focus on Alltop for this post, because of its multifaceted functionality. Alltop can fulfill the role of both a personal reader and a quick source of well organized, cataloged, and relevant information.

Alltop is an aggregation website, they collect headlines of the latest stories from the best sites and blogs that cover a topic. They then group these collections based on topic into individual web pages. Then they display the five most recent headlines of the information sources as well as their first paragraph.

When you visit Alltop you can search by Category, Topic, or keyword without creating an account and logging in. When you return to Alltop it will remember (cookies) what topics you have clicked on in the past so you quickly access those pages.

alltoptopics

You can take Alltop one step further and create an account which allows you to build a personal reader from the sites you most frequent from Alltop like this  http://my.alltop.com/bridgetayers.

Let’s take the Small Business page….yep we are on that page ;-)

You can see the title, if you scroll over the title you can view the date and a paragraph from the page.

alltophighlight

Lastly, if you do not have time to visit Alltop because you are too busy interacting with your communities on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. you can connect with Alltop outside of their website. They are also on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter – look for either Alltop or Guy Kawasaki. On Twitter they share stories from their site – which is perfect for retweeting.

It takes time to set up a system but once your system is set it will save you time! So what are waiting for?

We would love to hear what sources, tools, and systems you are using to gather information so please leave a comment and/or shoot us a tweet @BridgetAyers or @GetSmartWeb

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About Author

Bridget is President of The Get Smart Web Consulting Group, a web presence and digital strategy firm with offices in San Diego County California and Collier County Florida. But more importantly she is a web, tech, and Twitter addict!