Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. – Ferris Beuller
Most people find tech pretty difficult to keep up with these days. Just when you think you finally got comfortable with that new social media platform or device . . . it changes. Just this year so far Facebook and Google+ made (or announced future) major changes to layout and functionality. Then there is the new language to keep up with so you can actually understand what people are talking about. I am looking forward to the day a Priest casually says during a homily, “The other day I tweeted the hashtag . . . ” or “The blessings poured out through Instagram . . . ” BUT how can anyone keep up with all of this?! I probably do a better job than most keep up with things, and here’s how I do it.
The first thing is deciding WHAT you need to keep current on, and that will be driven by your tech strategy. Everything in the tech world does not apply to my needs or my organization’s needs. For example, Facebook for my parish has the biggest audience and is used the most by our parishioners. So keeping current on changes with Facebook is huge for me. Cloud computing may be something you are instituting or leaning towards so keep an eye and hear out for cloud services you are looking at or using. What’s happening with other tech might be interesting, but if it has little or no effect on what we are doing it’s really not worth a lot of effort to keep up on and I know I’ll come across the other stuff through news sources.
The second part is actually keeping up on these things, and here are 5 simple ways to do that:
- Pick 2-3 reliable tech news sources. Personally I like to watch Mashable, CNET, and Techcrunch. I also check the Technology section in Flipboard almost daily. Most major and local news is also including a tech section, but they can be slow or opinion-types of pieces rather than truly informational. The new site FaithandSafety.org, a joint effort between the USCCB and the Greek Orthodox Church, is another great new source to keep an eye on.
- Read your news sources daily. Either set up a feed for them in an RSS reader (i.e. Feedly) or install their apps on your phone/tablet and check the latest headlines each day.
- Set up Google alerts for the tech things you need to keep up on. I typically set these up for ‘daily’ and scan through the headlines when they come in. You an do this instead of the first item too.
- Sign up for daily email alerts to your favorite tech news source. They all typically have a “mailing list” you can subscribe to. Some send out daily and others less frequently. For a good tech news source, I like the daily option.
- Look at what others are doing online on social networks and offline. Don’t always think about what you want to share or how you are doing it. What and how other people are sharing content is equally (if not more important). This past week through a status update and a blog post I discovered two great new tech items. One was TagBoard.com, a great way to view and participate with a hashtag from multiple services. The other was Embedagram, a really nice little widget for sharing an Instagram gallery on a website or in a blog post. Watch people using their phones or what they show you they are doing with their mobile device and make a physical or mental note.
The key to it keeping up is being aware. Checking the news on a daily basis is key for me, but I also learn a great deal by being aware of what others are doing around me with tech. When I don’t know what something is or don’t understand it, I’m not too proud to ask. One thing I would warn against is opinion-based tech news, because it can derail your efforts or have you running around trying to keep up. Know what your focuses are and keep a stream of information coming in that you can watch daily.
How do you keep up on tech changes?