One question often asked by my family, friends and sometimes co-workers is, "How do you keep up with technology, it seems to change so often." While I agree that technology seems to change faster these days, these are some tricks I use to try and stay ahead of the curve.
How to keep up with technology changes:
Tip #1: Use Google Search and Read Relevant Blogs
If you’re reading this post, you’re half way there. Find some great blogs! Sounds easy enough, but with so much "content" out there these days, you can waste a lot of time searching for and then finding what I call fluff posts. Fluff posts are blog posts that talk about a topic you’re interested in, but really don’t teach you or help you learn anything that was specific to your real question. In my opinion, they are just a notch above Click Bait. The trick is to find the experts or businesses that provide real information that you find valuable. There are experts on lots of topics. Many don’t share, but some do, and your goal should be to find the elite who do share valuable information. So, while Tip #1 says use Google and read Blogs, understand that you’re really building a personal resource library you can reference over and over, bypassing future dartboard searches. I’ll share a few of my favorite technology resources at the end of this post.
Tip #1b: Subscribe to blogs, save time by letting them bring the content to you
You’ve got 12,600 problems and getting Google results isn’t one of them. Sure, LMGTFY will get you plenty of stuff to read and the top listed results are usually pretty good. The example above, PivotChart and a Slicer on One Sheet is spot-on. But, what if it wasn’t? That’s the case more often than we would like. So when you do find good resources, remember them. While bookmarks work, I’d recommend subscribing to the blogs that you find helpful. By subscribing to blogs like KnowledgeWave’s, you will pull in content you’re interested in delivered to your inbox versus digging for it by pitching darts into cyberspace. If you’ve discovered the elite businesses and individuals, they’ll keep you up-to-date automatically and you won’t have to remember to visit their sites.
Tip #2: Use Google Alerts to get your area of interest recapped daily
I love technology. I have an appetite for Office 365 and its collaboration capabilities. I look for ways to be alerted to the ever changing, constantly evolving 365 SaaS environment. Searching for “What’s new in Office 365” doesn’t help because it returns results from 3 years ago!
Instead of using just search, try Google Alerts! If you have a Google account, you can use Google Alerts and have the daily alerts sent to any email address. This method pushes news and topics specific for your industry or any topic of interest you select. You can select alerts based on keywords, geographical regions, new sources and you can set your notification preference to as-it-happens, once a day or even once a month. Alerts are always fresh and bring you the newest content.
Tip #3, Let members of the community help you find the latest technology info.
For example, Dzone.com, Hacker News and Reddit have active communities that share links on new technologies and votes on the most relevant or interesting ones. Another approach was taken by Electric Cloud, who provides a wiki site compiling thousands of technical articles and resources, organized into categories on software deployment and release management, organized into categories for the benefit of the community.
Bonus Tip: Be open to new resources
Alerts are great ways to find the elite experts and businesses. Visit their sites to see if they have content that may be of interest. Assess the site or individual's activity and expertise and consider following them on Twitter. Using Twitter and #hashtags are another great way to consume topic-specific information. I’ll save my Twitter and #hashtag tips for a future post, but here’s a hint. #tagboard
Here are some of my favorite blogs for tech news, advice and tips
Microsoft’s Office Blogs, Microsoft’s Office 365 for business, Electric-Cloud and ShareGate. Rarely if ever am I thinking, "Maybe I should check out the Office Blog today." Instead, I get their content pushed to me. Then I visit and read the things that are of interest to me.
I’d love to hear how you stay on top of technology changes. Please share your ideas in our comments section below.
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