Information overload

Like many people I have become quickly addicted to social media. Having been introduced to blogging by a need to learn for my job I am now an avid reader of blogs and am constantly finding things to add to my Google Reader account.

Getting information from the internet is like trying to drink water from a fire hydrantThe fact that so many people far cleverer than me are willing to share their knowledge on the web has made me into a sort of information consumer. While the fact that I can learn so much from people that I’ve never even met in person is amazing, there is one small problem…..well actually it’s becoming a big problem. It’s the sheer amount of the stuff out there – somedays I just feel that my brain is swimming in information!

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one with this problem so I thought I’d share some of the helpful tools I’ve been using to keep on top of it all. In fact I’m even attempting my first post using only my iPhone with the WordPress app installed. This might not, strictly speaking, be an information management tool or a time saving tool but if you can blog while on the move direct from your phone you can write a blog post from the bus – it’s gotta beat reading the Metro!

The first app for handling information that I wanted to mention is Archivr which you can sign into with your Twitter login and then save any Tweet with a link in it straight to your Archivr account. You can do this in Twitter (or your Twitter client of choice) by retweeting the tweet and adding ‘!a’ or if you don’t want to publicly RT you can D @archivr adding ‘!a’ to save to your Archivr account. You can also add tags to the tweet which will be added in your archivr account as a means of filing links. This is a great free web app for filing Twitter links for later viewing online….that’s the rub, you have to have an internet connection to be able to access your links later.

Thanks to Rob Dyson and his love for his iPhone I’ve been trying out a new app this week which allows you to save Twitter links to read later from your iPhone through Tweetie or through a Read Later shortcut on your web browser. I’m using the free version of Instapaper and so far it’s a winner. Like Archivr it allows me to save links in tweets to read later on, but it also sends the information to my phone so as long as I hit the update button on the app on my phone while I have an internet connection, I can then read the information offline on my phone at my leisure. This is really handy as long as you remember to update the app with your latest info before you go offline. I hear that the paid version of Instapaper allows you to have folders and organise your information which would be nice as I can imagine that it’d get quite confusing otherwise.

The final app I wanted to mention is Evernote. At work I’m a post-it note freak, my desk is a multicoloured jungle of paper notes, but at home this just doesn’t work. I used the standard note app on my iPhone for a while but it’s just not great, then I discovered Evernote. It is without a doubt the best app I have, not only can you take text, voice and photo notes on your phone but you can clip webpages, parts of webpages or URL’s when you’re online and then sync them to your phone later and vice versa. I find this really handy when ideas pop into my head that I want to save for later, all those brain itches late in the night now find their way into Evernote rather than get forgotten….I’m a huge fan…did you get that!

I’m always on the look out for new tools to make the information overload more manageable so if you have any tips please let me know.

(PS I managed to get all the text input and upload the photo from my iPhone Flickr app to the WordPress app but cheated by adding the links from my laptop so that I didn’t have to remember the HTML coding. Once the WordPress app has the functionality to add links (unless I’m missing it) then I could have posted this complete post from my phone – pretty cool)

Photo credit: Will Lion

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