TECHWISE : Sifting Wheat From Chaff

TO: Murray
CC: Steve, Kim, Catherine, Jen
SUBJECT: Keeping track of things
Hi Murray
I’ve got bunch of links to useful websites that I thought might be useful to everyone.
What would be the best way of making these links available to the whole team?
TO: Murray
FROM: Steve
CC: Bob, Kim, Catherine, Jen
SUBJECT: Re: Keeping track of things
Great idea. I’ve got bunch of links too. I also check out news sites regularly – but it’s taking while to go through them and pick out the interesting stuff. Any way we can improve this process would be good.
TO: Bob, Steve
CC: Kim, Catherine, Jen
FROM: Murray
SUBJECT: RE: Re: Keeping track of things
Hi Bob/Steve
Great idea. There’s couple of things that might help:
1)We could set up blog that we can all post to
2)We should make list of (RSS) news feeds from useful sites
I’ll see what I can set up and I’ll let you know.

Although the internet has brought us unprecedented access to information, the downside is that sifting through it to find the nuggets that are useful is increasingly time consuming.
We’ve become reliant on tools like Google to find information we need. But anyone who uses search engines regularly will also be familiar with the amount of time it takes to filter out the wheat from the chaff.
All the more reason then to ensure when useful information is found, it is accessible to all employees. Luckily there are some tools for doing this.

Sharing bookmarks
There are number of services for sharing your bookmarks. One popular one, “”, allows you to upload your bookmarks to website, where you can “tag” them with useful descriptive words. will then tell you how many other people have saved the same bookmarks, other bookmarks with similar descriptions, and what the most popular bookmarks are by category or “tag”. Better still, you can share your bookmarks with other people by simply adding them to your network – great way to share links to competitors, research, market news etc.

RSS feeds
On many websites (NZ Herald for example), you’ll see orange “RSS” logos indicating that the site provides RSS newsfeeds. These feeds provide way for users to “subscribe” to updates made to the site’s content.
RSS (“real simple syndication”, or “rich site summaries”) feeds have become increasingly popular recently because they are common feature of blogging software. They are list of headlines, summaries and links to content on website and are often used to provide news headlines that can be aggregated using “feed-reader’. The feeds have URL address, and adding this URL to feed “reader” allows the feed’s headlines and summaries to be downloaded for browsing.
A number of free RSS readers are available for downloading from the web – FeedReader is one example. Another option is to use web-service such as PageFlakes Netvibes or Google’s reader, which allows you to set up your own list of useful feeds to scan at your leisure.
PageFlakes, Netvibes and Google Reader will also let you export your list of feeds as an OPML file to share with others.

Although blogs are mostly used by individuals to create their own personal website musings, many bloggers also use them to create links to content on other people’s blogs or on news websites – effectively creating list of links to useful websites or timely stories. There are many “commentator” blogs out there that specialise in doing this.
Using blog in this way can be useful in commercial environment too. An internal “corporate” blog allows staff to post links to items of interest (a competitor’s new product specifications or launch announcement for example) and can be great way of sharing information.

How often have you wished that you could just tell Google what sites you want it to search, and filter out all the dross? Well you can – kind of. Google competitor Yahoo has service called Rollyo (for “Roll-your-own” search engine) at Rollyo lets you create list of what sites to “search” when you type in your search terms.

Use your Geek squad… Encourage your IT guys to regularly share the latest cool tools they’ve discovered – you never know when the next big thing might already be sitting on the screens in your IT department.

Mark Evans runs Techtelligence, and is director of Sway.Tech, marketing, communications and strategy consultancy for hi-tech companies. [email protected]

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