Screen Shots: How I Use RSS to Track Thousands of News Sources Easily

The most common topic I give training presentations on is the use of RSS for tracking issues important to various organizations. This has been the heart of what I’ve focused on since I first got involved in this industry, that hasn’t changed. My methodology has changed a lot over the years. It’s a happy day when I can add something new to my personal RSS strategy, and thus to the strategy I share with others.

Below is a series of screen shots illustrating the current state of my basic RSS work flow. There are lots of little details, feed discovery and creation techniques and other advanced steps that can be taken – but I’m often asked about the basics. So here they are. I hope you find this useful and feel free to pass it along to a friend. I’ll do my best to answer any questions in comments below. If you’d like a personalized research system like this set up and populated with the most useful feeds for your work, let me know. I’m also working with some other people on a giant post coming soon describing all the things I know how to do with a pile of RSS feeds – I have a consulting project that’s totally open ended so I thought I’d make a list.

Note that I made this post almost entirely with the application ScreenSteps. It was easy and fun, I wanted to try it and it didn’t take too long for me to think of a good topic to try it on.
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Thoughts on How to Be a New Media Consultant

I just got a very nice email from someone who found my blog and is interested in moving into consulting as well. I sent them the following thoughts that I think could be of interest to more people than just that one aspiring consultant.

The keys in my mind to being a good and employed new media consultant are:

1. Learn how to do cool new things and blog (well) about them.
2. Let people know that you are a consultant.
3. Make sure you deliver clear value to clients that extends beyond your time with them. Search engine optimization and pageviews are the most common things that consultants try to deliver to clients, but I prefer aiming for education, excitement, comfort with new tools and a sense that they can now be full fledged actors in the social media market themselves. My past clients are now happily reading OPML files I built for them, they see the value of and aren’t afraid of Twitter and they have more skills to use in their own work than they did before we worked together. (They are also doing more complicated things like this, in some cases.) I always aim to over-deliver and I don’t worry about giving clients almost everything I know – this market is too new and too big to worry about teaching yourself out of a job.
4. Stay visible by consistently sharing valuable information with other people. I don’t do that so much on my personal blog these days, but I do it on Twitter, on and in face to face conversations.

That’s what’s worked well for me so far. Do other consultants reading here have other high-level points that they think are important to communicate?

I didn’t mention it in that conversation – but I do provide training and advising to other consultants sometimes. (As well as working on projects with clients together.) If you’re a consultant interested in some training on the particular things that I’m good at teaching – feel free to drop me a line.

One of my fantasies for awhile has been to hire other consultants for an hour of their training in whatever they do best. I think it would be awesome to do that once a month. Maybe a trade would be good. Oh, the possibilities are nearly endless. It’s an exciting time to be learning about the internet.

Twitter for Nonprofits

I’m participating as a guide in an online event tomorrow where we’ll discuss how nonprofit organizations can rock Twitter. Hosted by the great nonprofit technology assistance project TechSoup, the event will go on through an asynchronous but scheduled day of forum postings. I’ll be joined by Michaela Hackner, Director of Online Strategy at the very cool looking organization World Learning (check them out, looks great!).

What will be discussing?
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