How do you consume the river of information?

The pace of information dissemination never ceases to amaze me. Updates about the latest technology or the latest bit of news from a corner of the earth we were previously less informed about seem to come at us every second of our day.

I seem to be having more and more conversations with people about how they keep informed about what’s important to them and about how they can possibly consume a comfortable amount of this river of information. We have gone from being simply passive consumers to being part of the overall production and distribution of tons of data. This occurs through various levels of communities and resources that we choose (hopefully) to take part in.

All of this data feeds into the daily global cycle of information overload. Some of its personal, most of it is public, but in the end, it is a never ending flow of facts, figures, video and images coming our way. Is this a net positive to your daily life, to your personal daily user experience of information consumption? How can you possibly sift through all of this data to keep informed about what you care about? Maybe it doesn’t really matter how you keep informed, or even if you are up to date on every bit of news (which is really impossible anyway).

It’s very engaging to think about how people learn about the world today, about how they form connections, about how we can share ideas. We can easily educate and connect through technology, through social channels and networked communities. It’s difficult to imagine going back to an age where you can’t get an update on your friends or professional connections, a news item or trend via the web or mobile device.

Think about how your media habits have changed, and what impact this has had in your personal life and career.

Growing up, I simply consumed information. I always loved reading books. I started reading the daily newspaper and watching the nightly news at a very young age. I was addicted to public television, public radio, and documentaries. My early jobs before college were appropriately delivering newspapers to my neighborhood and working several years in both public and college library systems. These jobs facilitated being around books, periodicals, and daily updates to a large amount of information. This helped provide context for my education and fortunate frequent travel, and in my career in the financial vertical. Information and data have always been at the heart of my job, in various roles in database marketing, research, and traditional marketing.

The ability to filter information has been vital to understanding the context for changes in my industry and in the fields of marketing and fintech. Equally important has been leveraging information to form an exceptional network of resources. Now technology allows me to combine the flow of information from my field to help me further connect to people and companies that are doing new and innovative projects.

How I consume information has certainly changed. For most of my adult life, I started my day with the paper version of the New York Times or SF Chronicle, or the weekly edition of the Economist. Always the news junkie, I now find that I have less time to consume traditional news sources, and have almost no time for television. I have moved on from the physical paper to the web, iPhone, or iPad versions of several national and international media sources, and an ever rising number of social news sites like Mashable. While I tend to start my day with a quick look at Twitter, I move on to updates from Business Insider (especially the SAI or Silicon Alley Insider section). Then I’ll take a quick view of the headlines on Google Finance, the Financial Times, the Economist, and Politico.

Throughout the day, as schedule allows, I try to check on technology and industry updates across several sources. This ranges from TechCrunch to American Banker. I read the Banc Investment Daily, Bank Technology News, and other sources of pushed news services about my field. I leverage filters, RSS feeds, and subscriptions to help me research ways that I can help my company grow and meet the needs of our clients. And while all of this consumption can be done quickly and efficiently with technology filters, that’s often not the end of it.

Information is now more social than ever.

Everything I read I tend to share. That’s what’s so great about the rise of social channels like Twitter. I not only get the filtered flow of information that helps me understand the news that is shaping the world and my industry, but I have a developed community that helps further refine, share, and add to this knowledge. And that is the most intriguing change in how we consumer information, and it is a story that changes daily.

How do you consume the river of information? How has this changed, and what’s next?

I welcome your comments, and look forward to connecting with you.


Bradley Leimer is a dedicated senior marketer with experience in brand development, online / offline marketing, database marketing, web development, and online banking / mobile financial applications. Connect / Follow via and (@leimer).

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