Let's stop for a minute and think about how many people we "follow" online. To keep it even more specific and focused, only think about those you follow who create content for piano teachers.
Can you count them all on one hand or do you lose track after listing more than a dozen?
I stopped counting after 50. Yes, 50. I'm pretty sure my number is actually closer to 90.
Let's crank that jaw back shut - it's not as scary as it seems!
Next to email, managing the influx of content from all our favorite blogs and websites seems to be the one area that teachers struggle with the most - and for good reason. The last five years especially have seen an explosion of new content creators - I'm one of them!
Believe it or not, it is possible to follow a large number of sites online in a manageable way without it feeling overwhelming. More importantly, you can do it without clogging your email Inbox or Facebook Newsfeed with articles. Curious?
Don't Mix 'n Match
The most important piece of advice I give teachers in regards to managing digital content is this: Don't combine multiple things into one.
-What is the main function/purpose for email? Communication.
-What is the main function/purpose for Facebook? Connection.
-What is the main function/purpose for websites? Information/Inspiration.
Let email be for communication (not reading articles) and let Facebook be for connection time (not reading articles). When it's time to read informative or inspiring articles from your favorite websites, don't be distracted by notifications on your Facebook timeline or that next email that came in.
Otherwise, what happens? We have a 30-minute break between students so we jump on email to make a dent in our inbox. The second email though is the latest article from your favorite website. The next thing you know, your student has arrived and you made no progress on your inbox. The article you read, while quite informative, wasn't necessarily information that benefited you the moment.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you shouldn't subscribe to email lists or follow the Facebook page of your favorite sites. If you want to stay connected to certain people then yes, you should subscribe and follow!
Luckily, these days, subscribing to a website always isn't just about getting posts delivered to your inbox, but about keeping in touch and getting content that is often NOT available on the website (like my Secret Letter).
All in all, the goal is simply this: be where you are and don't allow the online world to dictate when and what we read.
The best tool I can recommend for streamlining our content-absorption time though is to use an RSS Reader.
What's an RSS Reader?
R.S.S. stands for “Really Simple Syndication.”
It’s a single place to read all the news you rely on - essentially a customized digital newspaper. You simply add the websites that you would like to follow and when those sites post new articles, they will all come into one location.
Each evening (or at least a couple of nights a week) while I’m watching my favorite evening show on the couch, I can quickly scroll through the day's content in less than 20 minutes.
The RSS Reader I use is called Feedly. (Notice their play on the RSS symbol.)
Yes, it's just that easy!
Feedly is one of my Top Tools and Resources I recommend. You can follow your favorite recipe sites, teaching sites, and news sites all in one location!
The Last Great Online Bargain
Ever heard of Seth Godin? He's a famous marketing guru who writes a daily blog. He uses RSS. In this article he states:
Other than writing a daily blog (a practice that's free, and priceless), reading more blogs is one of the best ways to become smarter, more effective and more engaged in what's going on. The last great online bargain.
Good blogs aren't focused on the vapid race for clicks that other forms of social media encourage. Instead, they patiently inform and challenge, using your time with respect.
Here's the thing: Google doesn't want you to read blogs. They shut down their RSS reader and they're dumping many blog subscriptions into the gmail promo folder, where they languish unread.
And Facebook doesn't want you to read blogs either. They have cut back the organic sharing some blogs benefitted from so that those bloggers will pay to 'boost' their traffic to what it used to be.
RSS still works. It's still free. It's still unfiltered, uncensored and spam-free.
...You can easily keep up to date in less time than it takes you to watch a lousy TV show...
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Using a reader would, of course, be the best way to keep up with Piano Pantry too! 🙂
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