A ton has been written and Blogged about what tools you should be using to monitor your digital footprint, personal brand and the products and services you represent (check out: Online Chatter - 6 Free Tools To Monitor What The Public Is Saying About You). It's nice to know what you should be using to do this, but what about how to use them most efficiently?
In the past few months several questions have crossed my inbox that lead me to believe that people do love the tools, but still feel like they are drinking a little too much from the fire hose. In order to best manage, use and optimize these tools, you have to get smarter at how you use them.
Here are: 6 Quick Tips To Optimize How You Monitor Your Digital Footprint:
1. Centralize everything. Whether you use a tool like Google Reader, Netvibes or My Yahoo! all of these spaces enable you to set-up unique tabs or folders where you can bring all of your news and alerts into one, centralized location. Be sure to pull all of your Google Alerts, Technorati watchlists, Blogs of interest and websites into one of these tools. With hundreds of Blogs and alerts set-up, it only takes a couple of minutes each day to glide through them when everything is in the same place.
2. Set up a schedule. If you're attitude is, "I'll get to it, when I get to it," you will never get to it. Schedule some time - every day - to go through your news and alerts. Every morning, right before you either start your day at home or at the office, is a great time. You might also want to consider replacing the watching of a semi-lame sitcom on TV with this activity as well.
3. Prioritize your flow. I used to have an "a-list" of Blogs, alerts and influencers set-up in Google Reader, but even that list got too unwieldy. By being very disciplined, I created a "*top" folder (the "*" ensures that it is the first folder at the top of my reader) with a very select few that are "must-see". Even when the day gets away from you, commit to looking at the most important sources of information as quickly as possible.
4. Multiple tabs in your web browser. All of the major web browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome) enable you to set-up multiple tabs when you open your browser. While this is super-annoying if you travel a lot and constantly have to log into a different web page, it is panacea for everyday use. My home button pops open Google Reader, Twitter, the Six Pixels of Separation Blog, Facebook, and a personalized Google News page. With a quick glance, you can really feel the pulse of what's going on without having to type in a bunch of URLs.
5. Tag it for later. Whether you're using Delicious, Google Bookmarks, or a tool like ReadBag, to best stay organized and optimized, you should be tagging content so you don't have to struggle to find it later. All three of these social bookmarking platforms allow you to share this information publicly or keep it private (as of late, I have been finding a ton of personal value in Google Bookmarks). Because anyone can tag anything with any word they want, think about optimizing your life by tagging content with words like, "print", "must read", etc... This way you're not only tagging the content to make it more findable, but you can also give it tags that help you make it more beneficial to your everyday work life.
6. Use email. I know many people are using the RSS capabilities of pulling news to stop the influx of email. With everything from alerts and notifications being RSS-enabled, it makes a lot of sense. But, if you travel a lot, and you're faced with delays, weird increments of time where you can't dig deep into a book or are even able to sit down and fire up your laptop, it's always good to have some content that you can quickly work through in your inbox on your iPhone or BlackBerry. Yes, some of it will be redundant, and yes it does add a small layer of extra work, but I can't tell you how many times, I've been on the road and was thankful to have a fistful of content bits in my email to go through.
What other tips, tricks and lifehacks would you recommend?