Back when times were simpler, televisions only had thirteen channels, local calls required a mere seven digits and only mind-readers were privy to the inner most thoughts of others, you could never have access to too much knowledge.
In the age of tweets, knowledge is an abundant commodity. Free flowing tweets on twitter, blog posts, podcasts, social bookmarking and Facebook updates have led to a deluge of useful and useless knowledge merged together into an enormous ever evolving amorphous lump of information.
How do we separate the good, the bad and the ugly from the knowledge we so desperately crave?
First, stop contributing to the clutter. My recently college bound cousin who I love and adore dearly has gone into update overload. If her updates were litter she’d have an Indian crying outside of her dorm room (for those under the age of 35, look it up).
“Chillin”, “clubbin”, “doin laundry” and “sleeeeepy” have crossed over from mundane minutia passing through your mind to mundane minutia that I now have to read! Where else in life would this type of veracious status updating be anything but mind-numbingly aggravating? Invite a close friend to join you at home to watch your favorite television show. Now imagine that every three to five minutes he/she gave you a status update; “Hungry”, “happy”, “comfortable”, “still hungry”, “nothing to say”, “sleeeepy”. You would blow a gasket, so why is this acceptable or of any interest whatsoever when done online?
Maybe I’m old fashioned or just plain old; I still struggle with the term “my bad” even being close to a suitable replacement for “I’m sorry”. If anyone ever catches me reciting this loser mantra please punch me square in the face.
Second, when you’ve accepted the fact that no one requires information about your every move start sharing information that your friends and followers can use. Share knowledge that can help better someone’s professional or personal life. Tweet a bit of knowledge imparted by a brilliant professor during a lecture or a passage from a novel you may be enjoying, even a critique of today’s dinner special in the student cafeteria would be helpful to others on campus. Obviously I’m still talking about my cousin however you can apply the same logic in your professional life as well.
Third and this may be the most beneficial way to acquire a considerable amount of valuable knowledge; only follow and friend people that share and contribute relevant information to the network. My personal twitter page is a treasure trove of information fed directly to me. I follow those that care about what they share. Your feeds can provide more knowledge about your personal and professional interests than any newspaper, magazine or email newsletter could ever hope to deliver.
The information, articles, stories, comments, videos and events delivered by my social networking feeds are the equivalent of having my own personal newspaper that only prints information relevant to my life, all of my professional and personal interests wrapped neatly in one location. Even if I did have my own personal newspaper, a new edition would have to be delivered to me every fifteen minutes to keep up with the quality and quantity of information currently available to me.
Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are all about giving and getting information and there are far more people giving than getting so why not take advantage of that? Not everyone is hyper connected and most are not writing unique content, articles, blogs or books however, those of us that do write for a living want you to benefit from the fruits of our labor so read, comment, share, subscribe, follow and friend as many experts as you can.
I’m sure that once you’ve honed your friend list and start following the right people you’ll be hooked on the timeliness and quality of the information available and soon you will realize just how tweet it is.