Process Manifesto #1: How to consume, digest, generate and share content using social media

This is my first attempt of a process manifesto. It’s a diagram of how I consume, digest, generate and share content online using different social media channels and tools. This is by no means perfect, but it has worked for me more or less. I’ve tried my best to break it down and include what I think are the most important. Fellow classmates, please:

  1. adopt it, modify it, add to it and make it whatever would work for you
  2. let me know if any of you can help me make this look better (whether a better sketch/diagram, or in Illustrator)
  3. make me explain anything that doesn’t make sense and help all of us refine the process

Here’s a bullet version explaining the diagram: 

Tools/channels:
  • I primarily use 4 tools/channels: Google Reader, Twitter, Posterous, and Delicious to manage my “social media” life.
Consuming content: 
  • I consume information from 2 places: Google Reader and Twitter. If I like a link I found from Twitter, I add the blog RSS feed to my Google Reader. If I see a blog post that I like, I follow that blogger on Twitter. I usually spend no more than 5-10 minutes scrolling through feeds each time. But I do go back and check often (every ~4-6 hours has been average for me).
Digesting (and sharing) content:
  • When I see an interesting article, it generally falls into 3 categories: “too long to read now”, “worth sharing”, and “want to blog about later”. Each follows a different work flow. 
  • If it’s too long to read, I bookmark it to delicious using my chrome extension and tag it with “read later”.
  • If it’s worth sharing, I do shift+s to share if I’m reading in Google Reader, and RT if I’m on Twitter/Tweetdeck (also see Lessons Learned below).
  • If it’s something I want to blog about later, I bookmark it to delicious using my chrome extension and tag it with “future post”.
Generating (and sharing) new content:

  • With retweeting and sharing, you are only redistributing the content to a different group of people. Whenever possible, you should generate new content to put in the ecosystem.
  • My content generally comes from 3 places: 1) discussions from AC4D classes, 2) daily observations, and 3) opinions and thoughts after reading other articles (where the “future post” tag comes in handy).
  • I use posterous to share my content because: 1) I can post to it using gmail, 2) it lets me cross-post to other channels such as the AC4D blog, twitter, flickr, etc with just one click, and 3) It also auto converts all links, documents, photos, videos, etc into the appropriate formatting. 

As far as lessons learned go, here are my top 3: 

Lesson Learned #1:
I’ve learned that it’s better to post something real-time (whether it’s photos from a conference, a half-finished thought, half of a discussion, a link you intend on expanding later..etc), then add the rest of your thoughts when you have time as a second post. If you wait, it might be another day or two before you get to it. By that time, the content will feel old and you probably won’t end up posting it after all (which happened to me many, many times).

Lesson Learned #2: 
Use browser plug-ins, keyboard shortcuts, and autopost services. They will make your life so much easier. If you have to choose one browser plug-in, install delicious. Learn to close tab (ctrl+w for chrome) and share articles (shift+s for google reader) quickly. Make your Google Reader shared items autopost to Twitter (twitterfeed.com), because it’s much faster. Make your URLs on Twitter auto-bookmark to delicious (packrati.us) because it’s close to impossible to find the links again after a few hours.

Lesson Learned #3:
Create tags such as “read later” and “future posts”. I have them in gmail and delicious. It helps to prevent information overload and makes it easy(or easier) to revisit something later. Clean up and reorganize the tags often – I’d suggest weekly (which I am very behind). Your repository will grow over time and it’ll make a really good resource library for your blog.

5 thoughts on “Process Manifesto #1: How to consume, digest, generate and share content using social media”

Ruby,this is fantastic! As a newbie to many of these sites, it can be quite an information overload. Thanks for putting this info down. I am going to try to adopt a lot of your ideas, as it seems like a very efficient system. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of questions about various things, but thanks for blogging about this – and for doing it visually!

Hi Ruby – this is great stuff.Though, personally I feel there are better content/feed aggregators than google, I think it is superb starting point. Great work. :)

@Alex – glad you found it helpful! I’m not that experienced in drawing things out so I’m relying on you guys to make it as visually clear as possible for others to consume. Make me explain anything :)

@Saranyan – I agree there are better feed aggregators out there. I used feedly for awhile, which display the feeds in magazine style. While it’s pleasing to read, I find myself going back to Google Reader for the speed. I scroll and scan a lot… and somehow I read faster when things are lined up vertically. But process manifesto totally up for refinement!

@Christina – this is a tough one. The answer is it depends. For “read later”, I try to do at the end of the day. Or when I’m waiting at the cashier (on my phone). For “future post”, I usually let it sit around until I’m ready to write a blog post – which I need to get better at just forcing myself to internalize and flush something out asap. In terms of amount of time, it usually take an hour or two (I’m a night person…). So it’s skim -> save, skim -> tweet, skim -> save…….then 10pm+, process and write. Let me know how you do it – I’m always looking for a faster way to read -> process -> share.

Ruby, I need to do a diagram myself and figure out my social media input/output flow. To be honest, I’m not great at getting back to stuff I mark as “read later”…I should start building it into my schedule.

Your lessons learned are really informative and would improve my efficiency, though.

If you want a quick Illustrator tutorial using this as the sample of getting it from sketch –> vector, let me know, and we can schedule something! This would be a great way to learn most of what you’d need to know about the program/tools.

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