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What I Read – Jim Carlson

by on June 1st, 2011

Jim Carlson is an critically acclaimed singer/songwriter, entertainment business consultant who also happens to be the Director of Internet Strategies at TMA+Peritus.

I’ll admit it: The internet has made me a ‘fast food’ media consumer. I rarely read full novels or books, I consume most of my information via the internet.

To some of you this will be sad, to others, you’ll breathe a sigh of relief that you are not the only one: I read my Android or iPod touch before I get out of bed. In a quick 5 minutes I’m up-to-date on the news, sports, friends (facebook + twitter), entertainment, email and my calendar. Some people snooze, I read.

My job as an internet strategist means that I have to keep current on marketing, search engine, social media and communication technologies. I used to subscribe to about a million RSS feeds, but became frustrated sorting through it all. Enter Twitter and Facebook. The people I follow have become my editors. Thanks to tools like Hoot Suite, I am able to categorize my Twitter feeds by subject and skim the information quickly.

I am more attracted to the information than the sources of information. For example, I could care less if the source was CNN, NPR or a blog as long as the information checks out. The other interesting thing about consuming media this way is often I receive information from multiple sources, which provides different perspectives and interpretations of data, which actually can weed out media/reporter bias.

As many of you know, I thrive on entertainment. Facebook’s Events have simply become the go-to source for what is happening. No disrespect to traditional newspaper event listings or event websites, Facebook can’t be beat (which is why they are also listing events on Facebook). I still pick up City Pages (or the local freebie when I’m on the road), but, in general. Facebook already had the same information. If you follow media, bands or local event sources, you’ll also get the last minute shows that missed the press deadline.

I receive about 90% of my news, information, events and local business ‘updates’ via social media. This heavily influences the choices I make regarding shopping, eating and recreation. For the record, I’m including SMS text messaging and location check in services (Yelp, ForeSquare) in my definition of social media.

Search: When I want information, I search. We have access to more information than ever, use it. Need to know the latest technique for the Android App for Google Voice? Google it. Your computer freaking out? Google the symptoms. Have a marketing question? Find the answer. Google not working for you? Try Yahoo and Bing. They have different algorithms and return different information.

Location based search on my mobile smart phone makes travel easy. Allowing my phone to use location services on Google Search allows me to call a business or map directions to it on my GPS with ease. Want to find a new restaurant? Yelp’s monocle is amazing. You can ‘see’ near by businesses and compare services quickly. Last time I was in Vegas, I used an app for not only things to do, but mapping directions to get there. This has replaced reading traditional maps and travel guides.

With all the information I absorb digitally, I do still love analogue reading. I love books, especially for research. I may not read the whole book, but there’s something about print. As for novels, I rarely read them, unless I’m on a plane or it comes highly recommended by someone who knows what I enjoy reading (more people think they know than actually do…). If I want to read, I prefer books to digital editions.

I used to subscribe to the newspaper and about a half dozen magazines, but I’m down to one: Men’s Health. I simply was recycling more media than I was consuming. This was bad for my wallet, worse for the environment. That said, I still pick up magazines at bookstores when I have time to read them and they vary wildly by my mood or the cover stories.

Many other people mention that they read for pleasure, but with the diverse amount of information I consume on a daily basis, I view reading as more practical than pleasurable. After a day of ‘reading’, researching, writing and implementing documentation for my occupation, I’d rather do something else than read.

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