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Keeping track of content that we’ve consumed can be a challenge.
Who said what … and where? And how reliable is it? How do they know something or is it their opinion? How can we remember everything that was said? And how do we decide what we’ll repeat?
Keeping track of content: Where to stop?
It’s not like that we don’t have enough content on the web. We have plenty. We couldn’t consume it all. Links are great and can offer avenues to additional content. But they can also create a never-ending experience of consuming yet something else.
In comparison: Let’s say I’m reading a book or even a printed newspaper. It’s easy to know when I’m supposed to be done: Once the last page is read. The online experience can go on and on and on and it’s hard to know when to stop, which also can make it hard to document where we read something.
My online travels might look like this …
Perhaps this is another example of how important it is for sites, brands, etc., to become the go-to place. Even if consumers leave them for a bit, they will come back because they miss that specific experience.
Keeping track of content: Who is reliable?
As we are bouncing around the Internet, we run across a lot of content. Some of it meaningful, relevant or entertaining. But not all of it true. Snopes.com is one resource to use to check on urban legends that are being repeated over and over. Of course, urban legends are repeated because their facts are memorable, despite their accuracy issues.
Some sources – or is content creators the correct term now – are more reliable, of course. As we weigh what content should be repeated and what content shouldn’t, keep in mind the source. Do we know that they are reliable? And how do we know?
Keeping track of content: Reliable examples
The Pew Internet project routinely shares new research surrounding Internet usage. Traditional media often quote the project when new research is released. People share the content on social media. Bloggers add their own analysis. People get emails and forward them when new content is released. My perception is that I can trust the organization’s content.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter routinely breaks NFL-related news on his Twitter feed, Facebook page, on ESPN.com and on live TV. I can’t remember a time when he reported something that wasn’t accurate. He’s believable even when an organization is reporting something contrary to what he has shared. He explains how he knows what he has reported to be accurate and shares it in a professional, yet friendly and conversational way. My perception here is, too, that he’s reliable.
There are clearly many more content distributors who are reliable, trustworthy and know what they are talking about in a specific subject area. Many of them – like Pew and Schefter – share a number of characteristics:
- They really know what they are talking about.
- They share their knowledge on whatever channel necessary.
- They share knowledge on a constant (relevant) schedule.
- They have answers when questioned.
- Others vouch for them.
Keeping track of content: How do we share, attribute it?
The hardest part might be to keep track of where content came from. Many of us receive dozens of emails daily. A tidbit of a fact or story registers but we move on to the next email. Twitter feeds turn over in seconds. We don’t even see all Facebook updates depending on the latest algorithm.
And then there’s the issue of where do we even save all this content? And how do we know we’ll want to refer back to it later on?
Perhaps the first step in keeping track of content that we read and that might (or might not) be relevant later is to figure out where we’ll store it. Maybe it’s an app or maybe we create a resource page on our blogs and save relevant links there.
One option could be to share what we found relevant on social media – Twitter, for example. Twitter is fairly easy to search by individual account. That could make it easier to find content later on.
Google has potential to help us find content again, but I have run into several instances where I couldn’t find something through search that I read earlier. Obviously, this could have been because I searched for the wrong keywords, but either way, I didn’t find the content again.
Keeping track of content: What now?
Findable content can have more of an impact than content that is only recalled by our memories. Like a game of telephone, stories retold from memories might not be remembered correctly. And, if it’s a good and relevant story, the person it was told to might continue telling it. There’s your game of telephone.
So, how do we get to a place where it’s easy to save content and cite it as we are passing it along to our networks? Even without a centralized tool, we can all start doing some of this on our own.