Turning on your computer or your phone is similar to opening the floodgates of hell for information overload. With daily bombardments of blog posts, news and websites, it is no wonder our brains haven’t exploded from over consumption. You can spend exhaustive hours reading, processing and filtering information every single day while just sitting at your desk or local coffee shop. It is an abyss or a dark hole that sucks you in and tightens the grasp on your brain. Fingers of words encapsulating your every thought, every move to retain your attention and drive you to take some kind of action.
The seduction and lure of content is the possessive lover of our society. The soft caress of the enticing paragraphs tickling your mind to keep you reading, distracting you as the hours tick by unnoticed. Until the end of the day when you wipe the sweat off of your brow, wondering where the hours went.
“Information overload” is one of the biggest irritations in modern life. There are e-mails to answer, virtual friends to pester, YouTube videos to watch and, back in the physical world, meetings to attend, papers to shuffle and spouses to appease. A survey by Reuters once found that two-thirds of managers believe that the data deluge has made their jobs less satisfying or hurt their personal relationships. One-third think that it has damaged their health.” The Economist
This may seem a little melodramatic, but think about the time you actually spend consuming all of this intel. It is the nature of the beast in your digital environment, trying to garner the newest, the latest, the greatest, the biggest, or the best, for your business, yourself, your clients and your community but heck, what a job in and of itself.
How would we conduct our businesses or gain knowledge and insight into social media without the research and reading? We need it. We do it. But at what cost?
With each article or piece of content, you must consider what to do with it next: like, comment, share, purchase, join, blog about it, bookmark it, or even search more about the topic. When you share it, you will think about where you will repost it and not just your own social channels but what about places like bizsugar.com or inbound.org? The possibilities are numerous.
Researching and reading isn’t just a simple process in your online world. There is more action to be taken which helps to build your engagement and community. It’s strategy and tactics. Sure you enjoy reading the content and probably learning something new, but it is what you do after that which counts even more.
You have a business to operate and make successful yet you must operate online as well. How much time can you invest or do you invest in maintaining your presence, building your reputation, connecting, networking, sharing, reading, commenting and engaging?
You know the drill. It is an extensive, arduous process that takes you away from truly focusing on your core business. While all of this is a “requirement” for your business, you need to develop some systems and processes enabling you to balance your time and efforts to be more productive and efficient.
Tips for Romancing the Data Overload:
- Make a list of the blogs, platforms, thought leaders and news aggregators you like to visit on a daily basis. Keep track of any daily content alerts you receive – more data to be consumed. You hopefully have created targeted lists or groups on each of your social media channels so you can easily locate those thought leaders and colleagues whose content and engagement you value most.
- Create a schedule of when you will interact, search, curate and share content. Allot yourself a specific amount of time so you don’t get sucked into a worm hole of reading and distractions. Use a timer if you must.
- Stay focused and resist the temptation to jump around from one platform to the next. Multi-tasking your reading and activities is not only a time waster but harmful to your health. Bookmark posts or use a “read later” tool like readability.com if something really sparks your interest. Add it to your swipe file if you feel it is a great idea generator for a later blog post.
- Unsubscribe from content that is no longer of interest or just clutters your inbox
- Set clear boundaries on your time – tune out and stop crunching the content
- Understand that it is physically impossible to read and digest every byte of data that is pushed your way. You are constantly inundated with new content every nanosecond. Can you really process it all? No and you don’t have to.
Staying current is important for your knowledgebase and success of your business, but if you are buried in the content surplus every day, then who will run your business? Your clients?
Managing your social media, online reputation, digital space, community and marketing is a full-time job, BUT so is running your business. Your laundry list is a mile long to effectively manage each of them and it is pretty much a catch 22 to be able to marry the entities together without being a drain on your effort. Don’t let your data overload seduce you away from your company, your life or your goals. Learn to filter what you need and when. Execute an effective plan with time restraints and a set strategy.
The systems and processes you design for your business and social media workflow are key toward scaling your company as well as creating the optimum online community.