Next to the seminar and reception with Howard Rheingold we enjoyed last Thursday afternoon we also joined a more small scale workshop with Howard Rheingold on Friday morning. Our little Blogwalk group made up about half of the audience I think.
In a group conversation setting we discussed several topics. One of the more interesting things to me was when Howard Rheingold showed us the tools he uses in his personal information strategy. For the bloggers in the room there really were not many surprises. RSS, BlogLines, Del.icio.us, all with actual screenshots, came up. He stresses weblogs as his community filters for information. Most people I talk to blogs about seem to think they’re publications, sources next to other sources like papers, where I see them as conversations. Howard spends some 4 hours in the morning engaging with his on-line community and sources of information, after which he spends the afernoon writing. He does keep an eye on IM and e-mail in the afternoon though.
What struck me is how little we actually talk about our info-strategies, and info-diet, and the tools we use for it. Especially tools can be almost a secret thing in organisations that have rigid rules to what people are allowed to use on their desk- and laptops. My laptop is stuffed with different tools, most of them Open Source or freeware, that did not come with the pre-installed proprietary environment. My company is ok with it, but does not expect me to ask for support on the stuff I install myself. If my colleagues are convinced of the value of a tool, it will be added to the standard provided and serviced mix of tools we use however.
Talking about how we do things, hunt and gather info, filter stuff, feed it into our workflow, pick the relevant items to act upon etc. is something we should do a lot more I think. Anyone who wants to compare notes?