I TRY TO WORK SMARTER by adopting intelligent routines. Perhaps the most important routine I've adopted involves using Readwise behind the scenes to import highlights from things I've read. I started reading wiser because I wanted to squelch FOMO.
Before I continue, let me parse Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). I will cave into the easy nonchalence of scrolling Twitter and Instagram instead of reading lengthy items through the paid subscriptions I have. It's not that I fear missing out--I'm just a simple victim of meaningless scrolling. That's my version of FOMO and I realise my strain of the disease isn't the same as many others.
I've connected Twitter, Feedly, Kindle, and Pocket to Readwise. That means Readwise stores my Twitter "likes", my Feedly "notes" and anything I "highlight" on Pocket or Kindle to Readwise. Then Readwise syncs its items to Roam where I tag them for use in third level modules or blog posts.
I also set up alerts for specific terms using Inoreader. Those alerts generate notifications on my mobile phone. As long as my alerts are relevant to content I have to prepare, I can keep a tight focus on getting things done by reducing the amount of doom scrolling on common social networks. This tight focus eliminates the fear of missing out (FOMO) because I enjoy looking at things that come to me via trusted bylines. The archiving and reviewing steps I use are perfect for snarching Twitter.
Back in 2002, when I taught blogging to creative multimedia students as part of a Media Writing module, I knew short titles and informative text plugs could guide productive writing processes. Eighteen years later, the process has become more sophisticated and less arduous with the connected technologies of RSS through Feedly and Inoreader, share sheets available through all apps, automatic backlinking with Roam Research and lightning-fast indexing of content.
During the spring semester of 2021, I plan to ask 85 students how they manage their information flow. I suspect most of them get their information through Instagram stories, YouTube playlists, and Reddit threads. In my experience, most of this sort of information management is secondary flow. You acquire knowledge only by reading primary source material and then curating the best content into a mechanism through which you can revisit to repackage the information you've verified. Students will see the importance of shared sourcing as they view items shared from Feedly boards to Microsoft Teams channels. They will learn about Zettelkasten from deep thinkers like Mathew Lowry.
I'll break these thoughts down in a series of blog posts, creative media channel videos, and YouTube clips as we start another semester of remote learning during COVID..
[Bernie Goldbach teaches creative media for business on the Clonmel Digital Campus for the Limerick Institute of Technology.]