The old ways of staying up to date on important information, or stuff you are interested in, are no longer adequate. There is too much information and it is moving too fast for us to wait until it shows up in our mailbox or other print periodicals. Fortunately, the folks on the web are coming to our rescue. So this is a review and summary of the different ways (old and new) that a baby boomer can use technology to simplify the process of keeping up with different categories of information that are helpful to us.
Browsing to Bookmarked Websites
Many sites will let you subscribe to receive email alerts when something new develops. Sometimes the new content is contained in the email message body. Other times you receive only links back to the new content. I don’t like this method because it is tiresome to receive and keep track of so many different email alerts. Also, it places your inbox at risk of receiving spam and other unwanted messages from your subscribed sites or their “partners.”
RSS or “really simple syndication” is the content delivery method that I use the most. Most sites will now let you subscribe to their RSS “feed.” When something new is published on that site, it is automatically sent to your “feed reader.” A feed reader lets you know when something new has arrived and makes it easy to organize and keep track of what you have been sent and what you have read. I use Google Reader because it is quite powerful yet user friendly. To learn more about RSS feeds, watch the video on my Contact/Subscribe page.
Customized Home Page
I use this tool as a way to consolidate all of my baby boomer and financial information. Simply put, this method involves creating your own “dashboard” or portal page to the broader internet. You can customize the page to incorporate many of the information sources that you use, including bookmarks, email, and RSS feeds. I use iGoogle because it is so powerful and easy to use. You must have a Google account but those are free. I now even have a Google Voice number to consolidate all of my different phone numbers into one. One glance and most every info source I need is right there, with updates clearly indicated. Microsoft’s “My MSN” and My Yahoo have similar customizable home pages.
Custom Information Tracker and Alerter
There is a brand new site that puts its own unique spin on tracking changes or updates to information that is valuable or interesting to baby boomers. The site is Trackle. This site lets you select from dozens of different information sources and subscribe to alerts by web, email, and text message. Because the site is so new, the options in some of the categories are limited. One of the update features is real estate prices in your neighborhood of for your house specifically. I am experimenting with that and a few others. Give it a look.
Final Thoughts on Information Tracking for Baby Boomers
If you embrace the evolving web technology you can easily access all the information you need, faster and at a lower cost than subscribing to print media. Using customizable information sources, you can save a lot of your time as well.
Let me know in a comment of any boomer info tracking resources that you find helpful.