Mark Evans describes Louis Gray as,
“..one of the hottest one-man shows on the tech blogging scene, who has literally come out of nowhere in the past few month. Now, Gray is literally everywhere – breaking stories, providing in-depth coverage of new startups such as FriendFeed, and cementing himself within the Techmeme 100.”
Information overload is a crippling problem for many marketers in this social media age and those of us who follow Gray have wondered for a long time how he manages to do it with relative ease. It was a rare treat to listen to this guru of tech blogging and get tips & tools for finding the signal in all the noise.
- How to get emails when your keywords come up on Twitter
- Get emails when your keywords are mentioned in blog comments around the web
- Search aggregators that find all mentions across multiple services at once
He started by asking the audience,
“What will you remember when you get home?”
He went on to say, “…let tools do the work for you and cut through the noise to find the signal.” Louis shared his recommended tools for search, aggregation & blog search.
BackType and TweetBeep are the two tools he recommends for search and find. Backtype is a comment keyword search across blogs, including trends, while TweetBeep can search tweets for keywords 24×7 and send it to your mailbox.
For blog search and aggregation, Gray recommends using Google blog search and FriendFeed. Google blog search scours blogs for keywords and delivers it as feed through your favorite reader. FriendFeed on the other hand lets you search blogs and about 50 other social sites.
Managing the noise:
Gray was blunt in his assessment that, “You created this mess.You were the one who signed up for the emails and RSS feeds.” Here’s some sage advice he gave the audience:
- Stop signing up so many RSS feeds
- Skim like mad and unsubscribe from lists that are not relevant or interesting
- Reduce inbound by reducing outbound emails
- Use search instead of using RSS feeds for everything
- Use recommendations or aggregation sites to filter out the noise
It’s not about shutting everything down completely:
- Use RSS feeds efficiently
- Find people you trust and use them as filters
- Participate where it makes sense
You don’t need to read every word:
- Review the author information
- Speed read, skim and if the content isn’t relevant, move on
Prioritize the data “Not all data is equal”
Just like you wouldn’t treat email from your boss the same way as you would an email from a friend, same holds true for blogs and tweets. Impact is a direct result of influence.
- Focus on the ones that are most relevant
- Don’t be afraid to unsubscribe if it’s not relevant any more
“Prioritize, filter and leverage trusted discovery tools”
How to determine influence for Blogs, Twitter, and FriendFeed?
It’s not perfect but Gray suggested few ways you can assess influence:
- Frequency of updates and level of active participation is a key component of how to measure influence
- Length/tenure and quality of participation in the form of followers, subscribers is a measure of influence
“Do people see the activity and respond?”
According to Gray, “information overload” is a result of trying not to miss anything, which is not realistic and will fail. “Don’t add just for the heck of adding.” but also not leveraging tools available to manage information efficiently. He ended this fascinating talk by reiterating that “there is no information overload and you can cut through to find the signal”.