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Wednesday
Apr192017

You Can’t Survive the InfoGlut without Filters. Herein I Share My Favorites

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. In the era of information glut, the crown goes to those with the best method of sorting, filtering, curating, prioritizing – in a word, ‘discovery.’

Five years ago I began to post my own favorites under the banner #NGIF – Nick’s Great Information Friday (bastardized #TGIF), a laborious curatorial chore that I could only sustain for a few months, suggesting that those who really cared about my info flow could follow @nickdemartino on Twitter.

Ironically, my clients at the Canadian Film Centre’s IDEABOOST have now asked me to provide a similar compendium called TLTR:BRA (too long to read: but read anyway) as part of a monthly newsletter. 

Until we get to the point where info discovery is entirely automated by AI robots, I find that I still spend a lot of time shaping the information flow that comes onto my screens every day. The good news is that there are some great tools to help – perhaps my own journey can help you save time and decrease anxiety. Let me know in the comments if you have better ways to find and sort.

By far the greatest improvement to my daily in-box has been my adoption of the Unroll Me app, which presents you with three choices for every email -- unsubscribe (that’s right!), leave in your inbox, or roll it up – the latter being a daily email you get that displays the front page in a scroll on mobile or desktop. On one account alone, I’ve unsubscribed to 316 accounts and rolled up 154 (though most don’t appear daily). It’s easy to manage and really unclutters my email life.

Aggregage offers a new way of finding content organized by vertical industries, such as these examples or Virtual Reality Pulse, a site and customized daily newsletter which showcases the best posts through a combination of peer engagement, machine learning, and human curation. I’ve subscribed to four verticals, and find that I no longer have to hunt down dozens of publications (even though I subscribe to many like VR Reporter, Upload VR, VR Scout)

Very few humanly curated sites are as useful to me as those in Jason Hirschhorn’s REDEF network, with daily blasts covering Media (most useful to me), Sports, Fashion, Music and Tech.

I’m really addicted to Medium, which sends a daily newsletter with posts from writers and topics I’ve selected. I almost always tweet out some gem from my daily Medium newsletter. I also get a lot of info from the topics and people I follow on Quora, which sends out an aggregation newsletter with relevant links. I also check Nuzzel, a daily newletter that sends articles mentioned or authored by people in my social graph.

A new and high quality weekly curation comes from X Media Lab’s Brendan Harkin, who finds very useful links around a set of themes -- very very useful! Veteran tech journalist and gadfly Tony Perkins just launched a new curation site called Alchemist, which covers “global Silicon Valley” by skimming gems from bloggers, many at VCs. Less useful is Jason Calacanis’ Inside, a suite of newsletters (formerly Mahalo). Go for niche topics (like AR or VR or AI), not general news updates, which are covered elsewhere better.

Tech stalwarts like Digg, Techmeme, Crunchbase, Recode, and Reddit, among others, offer newsletters for those times when you’re in the mood to nerd out, which hits me intermittently (perfect use of my Rolled Up feed).

I really like the tone and early warning system provided by my sub to Product Hunt, which seems to know me better than Kickstarter, which used to serve that purpose but now feels more like spam.

I scan a lot of media newsletters from pubs like Digiday (advertising and marketing), ITVT and TV(R)EV (trelevision) StoryCode (immersive media), eMarketer (research data), Ben Thompson’s Stratechery and BenedictEvans (media strategy), MediaShift and Poytner (journalism). Less interesting these are Mashable (tech culture)

I still track old media, dipping into IndieWire, Hollywood Reporter, Variety, The Wrap, Deadline, VideoInk, Tubefilter SSN Insider, Stephen Follows (film data).

My political fix is satisfied by several daily newsletters from Politico, as well as next-gen newsletter Axios, which I quite like.

Too much? That doesn’t count social sites (Twitter, Facebook, Linked In), my daily general news sites (NY & LA Times, Guardian, HuffPo). And, like you, I follow lots of topics that aren’t so focused on my work – like cities (LA, Toronto), finance, LGBT community, theatre, art, music and more.

You undoubtedly have your own. How do you keep track? Please share in comments below.

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