Change is inevitable. We all know that. The problem is keeping up with that change, particularly when it comes to business technology.
It seems that every day there is a new phone, new computer, or an update to software. How do you keep your business up to date? You can’t if you don’t know what’s new, what no longer exists, or what’s coming up. How do you and your company keep current? It takes effort of course—that part is unavoidable—but there are several tools and resources you can take advantage of to get as much current information with minimal effort. Here are six ways to help you stay up to date with tech, news, and industry trends.
1. Discussion Boards. These may seem old-fashioned to many people today, but they are a great resource of how-to information. There are many online forums and boards where people can go to glean information from others’ experience. People discuss what’s new, what works, and especially what doesn’t. Find a forum or discussion board that discusses a topic, tool, or piece of equipment that you use, and visit it on a regular basis. Make sure you also participate. You will get exponentially more from an online forum if you participate.
2. Magazines. These are very old-fashioned but still relevant. Magazines contain quality information and provide provocative in-depth analysis. You don’t have to carry around paper magazines anymore. Subscribe to magazines that have electronic versions, and read them on your e-reader or tablet. You can have dozens of industry-specific periodicals in your hand on one device, readily available whenever you have the time to read them.
3. Blogs. Blogs are one of the best sources of current and brand-new information, and there are plenty of them to read. Blogs discuss the latest trends, the latest news, what works, what doesn’t, and where things are going. Blogs come in many different forms and formats, so find the ones that best fit your needs and industry.
4. YouTube News Videos. There are more than just cat videos on YouTube. Many content creators are making hardware reviews, software instructions, and videos that discuss the latest news. Look for short news segments and regularly scheduled videos. Most industries have sites that are making video content and posting it on YouTube. They are making high-quality productions that could rival national television productions.
5. Podcasts. Think of a podcast as a radio show on demand. The best feature of a podcast is that you can listen to it at your leisure. You can listen to them in the car, at the gym, or at your desk. They are very convenient. You can pause them to answer the phone, and the best part is that you are not beholden to their broadcast schedule. Podcasts can be listened to through an MP3 player, smartphone, computer, or even a tablet. There are many applications, often referred to as podcatchers, on all platforms that automatically download the podcasts of your choice through feeds. There are many podcasts covering the latest information in all categories and industries.
6. RSS Feeds. All of the above resources have something in common: You can access them through an RSS feed. RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication. An RSS feed automatically comes to you when a new blog post, podcast, video, or article has been posted. You do not have to visit any websites on your own to check for updates. Many people have abandoned RSS feeds for social media, but they are forced to scroll through those feeds.
An RSS feed brings you what you want when it is created. A feed reader will keep track of what you have previously read so you won’t waste time rereading old information. You can organize them by category, read them on any platform, save them, export them, and share them. RSS feeds gather the information you want, saving you time by eliminating the need to search for data.
Keeping up to date on the latest tech and industry news takes effort. There is no way around that. If you follow these six tips and set up an RSS reader to harvest the data, you will save time and guarantee that you get what you need whenever you have the time to access it.
For more tips on staying on top of industry trends, read 10 Tips for Staying on Top of Trends. And for more on small-business trends, check out Go Forward, Move Ahead: 5 Small-Business Trends Changing the Way Companies Operate.