Reinventing News

People from my generation don’t consume news in the form they are at the moment. We are losing interest in the way information is being transmitted. Information, which characteristics seem to be so outdated.

News need to be reinvented!

Don’t worry I am not actually going to reinvent news (at least not for now). In fact, it might not be a person that reinvents news, but rather news themselves will evolve in the near future.

I was thinking recently about the fact that today I am no longer interested in knowing everything that is going on around the world – well, I don’t need to know the details, so just a title is more than enough to get the idea what the story will be all about. Of course, I am from this generation that does not look for the news. The news find me through various channels – Google Reader and twitter, to be precise. And all the information I consume is based on my interests and reading habits. My news stream is very personalised. In this way I am able to isolate most of the noise and avoid going through tons of irrelevant stories, but I also save lots of time for myself. Time which I highly regard, is valuable, and I can use for focusing on both my professional and personal development. And I believe that this is the case for most of my peers and members of the so-called “Generation Y.”

So, what are the characteristics of a member from this generation?

Well, as I said already I think that almost all of my peers and I have quite a lot of things in common. First, we are the group that is constantly aware of new technologies, both as a consumer and creator.

Second, we are very flexible and adopt new trends easily, making them part of our lives earlier than any other group of the population. Our habits and behaviours are constantly evolving based on developments shaping our environment.

Third, all the time we are looking for ways to improve the way we live, by making simple tasks automated. We are not worried about giving a machine the responsibilities of taking care of these time-consuming, simple choruses. In this way we have more time to focus on ourselves and the people around us. We have more time to think, help each other and make new relationships in- and outside the workplace.

Fourth, because of this non-stop changing world we live in, we are facing the challenge of becoming overwhelmed by information and technologies. So, we’ve come to adopt various techniques to help us get through all the “gadget-and-information garbage” out there. We are aware of our own interests and we use those as a filter that lets in only what’s valuable and useful for us. For instance, we are using tools like RSS readers (Google Reader, Feedly), twitter feeds, and the Facebook news stream – all of these are highly personalisable, and they know our consumption habits. We have authorised machines and tools to make the dull job of gathering the relevant stuff and put it in one, easily-accessible place. Saving us the time and the effort.

You know what? All these characteristics are not just characteristics of the generation Y-er. There is someone else out there sharing the same characteristics. That’s right – THE NEWS! Like the people from my generation, news are highly influenced by developments in the technological world. Their form and ways of distribution change fast and easily according to these new trends. A good piece of news is also concise and to the point. And news are based on the needs and interest of the consumers.

Seems like there’s no better fit than the one between the news and the generation Y-er.

This is why I believe that like us, news will reinvent themselves in the near future and will become this constantly changing, flexible entity that makes a valuable contribution to our lives.

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Mastering the art of skimming through

Overwhelming and time-consuming - more than 15 tabs...

I am writing this post while at the same time, in my browser, I have 14 tabs open, each with (probably) an interesting and important content that I have to consume in order to stay up to date with goings on in the marketing communications industry. All of these pages I have found on my twitter stream and list of renowned professionals.

Overwhelming amount of information

It is a great way to keep in touch and stay alert for essential new developments in the field. However, each of these experts have an incredibly active online presence and the amount of information coming into my stream can be, at times, overwhelming. I have managed to find a system with which I am able to follow them and check the insights they are publishing. But then, after I go through the list and open all the pages I find relevant, I am facing a browser window stacked with a huge amount of tabs and information, respectively.

Challenges

In this situation I am facing two challenges – I am tired at the end of the day and don’t want to spend an hour staring constantly at the screen; there is also the danger of loosing interest and getting bored with all the text and information, because it’s just too much, way too much. Somehow, I have managed to solve this. I started using the technique of skimming through the texts, saving precious time and keeping myself engaged into what I am doing. I will provide a few guidelines based on my personal experience.

How do I do it?

1) I carefully read the title, so I am sure I the information in the publication is really important and, most of all, it is relevant to me.

2) After I have opened the pages and start going through the articles I focus on the first paragraph – it should be compelling enough that it raises your interest and clearly outlines what the following content will be all about.

3) Look for headings. Headings are the best tool for quickly identifying the relevant part in an article and you can easily navigate to this part that you want to read about.

4) Focus on lists. Articles that contain lists are much easier to read. You can easily go through all the major points and if you need more clarification, then focus on the details. What happens most of the time is that you will be reading of things you have read already somewhere else, so, you won’t need to read in depth. On the other hand, if you find something completely new, you can devote your whole attention to it.

5) Read the conclusion. Usually at the end of the publication the author will be summarising the content, raising a new, challenging question, or ask you for direct action. Make sure you check out this part of the content.

These are my thoughts and techniques I use while skimming through all the articles I read daily. I would like to know what other techniques you consider valuable and useful in a similar situation. Let me know in the comments!