Tools of the Trade: Be an Expert. Learn More. Be Knowledgeable.

“The more extensive a man’s knowledge of what has been done, the greater will be his power of knowing what to do.” Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881, British Prime Minister)

One of the hardest part of staying on top of what’s new, is all the work that needs to go into it. You need to be reading. A lot. “What has been done”, as Benjamin Disraeli stated, is not just what we read in history books. “What has been done”, yesterday? “What has been done”, last week? Blogs and online news outlets are your friend. The internet has hurried the time it takes for information to get from when it happens to your hands to ridiculous speeds. It’s also made the quantity of resources become overwhelming. The hardest parts are consuming it all, and not letting it overwhelm you.

While there are dozens, maybe even hundreds, of options out there for curating and keeping up with all the information out there. I’m just going to talk about the two that some of our staff have been using. You can use either, depending on what works best for you. Or, like me, you can use both, Flipboard and Feedly. Both are free and they can actually compliment each other pretty well but can also have a bit of redundancy and/or duplication.

First up is Flipboard. I only use Flipboard occasionally (weekends mostly) as it is geared much more towards “discovery”. With Flipboard you start by picking out a handful of topics that Flipboard uses to help curate content into your own personal “magazine”. The interface is really quite effective and kind of beautiful.

Flipboard includes world class publications like The New York Times, PEOPLE magazine, Fast Company, and Vanity Fair but you also includes troves of other resources that might be curated by publishers themselves or individuals like yourself.

We’re big fans of LinkedIn around here (We even include a few hours of LinkedIn Training in our outplacement program). One of the biggest problems we find with LinkedIn is that the timeline feed can be a big mess. You can connect LinkedIn to Flipboard and flip through posts from from your LinkedIn feed right inside Flipboard. It’s a much better format for browsing and reading valuable LinkedIn content.

Feedly is where I spend most of my time though. I revisit Feedly several time a day. I use it so much that I typically just open it up and keep it running in the background all day. When I’m not in front of my computer, I have it synced up on my iPad and my smart phone.

While Flipboard is geared more towards discovery through topics (a feature that Feedly does as also, just not as well), Feedly is geared more towards delivering exactly the content that you want, directly from the resources you follow. Feedly solves the biggest problems with following blogs.

  • First, you don’t have to go to dozens (or in my case, hundreds) of websites every day. You just add all of the blogs you follow and the posts show up in your feed. You can also organize blogs by topics and browse just one at a time.
  • Second, like email, everything you’ve already read get’s marked as read so you aren’t seeing the same articles over and over again.

While both Feedly and Flipboard do the same things, they each have their strengths that make it so you can use them both together. If that’s overwhelming, you can definitely use just one based on your own needs.