Making a molehill from a mountain: keeping up with digital developments

One of our aims for participants on the Digital Action Plan is to help form digital habits and some ongoing curiosity.

People often ask: ‘how can I stay on top of all this stuff?’ The short answer is: you can’t, really. But there are other people who are great at identifying trends, inspiring ideas and case studies. A bit of effort is needed initially, to find people who you think are interesting and who you respect for their knowledge. Then you need to find a way to keep up with what they’re saying, which suits the rhythm of your week.

Reading

Here are a few people I read regularly, and the way in which I keep up with them:

  1. Rob Mansfield’s weekly newsletter
    One of just two email newsletters I read all the time. This is a simple list of personal link recommendations from Rob. I love the mix of inspiring journalism and consistently great examples of organisations doing good work online.
  2. James Whatley’s weekly newsletter
    The other newsletter. James is a bit of a force around all things digital and prolific across all sorts of channels. You can read his slide decks, tweets, blog posts and listen to podcasts. However, his email newsletter is a neat summary of useful case studies, trends and tech news. There’s a fair few film reviews too: read or skip over depending on whether you like cinema too.
  3. My ‘inspiring tweets’ list
    I’m on a train by 6.15 most mornings, which is too early for me to do anything meaningful with email and a dangerous time of the day to simply scroll through my home feed. I keep a twitter list of people whose tweets I find reliably inspiring, energising of who often link to interesting articles. I get a lot of energy and some good ideas from this list, and it helps turn a sleepy commute in to a fairly useful part of the day.

Experimenting

IMG_2928Sometimes, I’ll read about a tool or channel that I think might be useful to include in people’s Action Plans. Obviously I need to know how it works, and feel confident using it. That helps me understand how it might work in a corporate context, even if I don’t particularly take to it personally.

However, if I download an app, the chances are it’ll sit on my phone, untouched and taking up memory. Therefore, I have a little rule about the home screen on my phone: this is reserved for apps that I’m using all the time, plus a few ‘experiments’. Leaving them here prompts me to have a play around, on the train home, when I’m having a coffee, or waiting in a queue.