Recently, a friend asked me how I could stand to spend so much time, personally and professionally, immersed in social media. He was feeling the pinch; the constant update of blogs piling up in his Google Reader, the endless stream of nonsensical (to him, anyway) chatter on Twitter and his Facebook news feed, and everyone and their mother suddenly bringing up Pinterest at every turn. I told him that, a while ago, I was feeling the same pinch and decided to hone all my networks to suit my needs; I used Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to create my own newspaper. Here's how I did it:
Twitter: Breaking News
Twitter is the perfect vehicle for breaking news. The constant stream of updates and commentary from users all over the globe make to-the-second news updates possible. Caught wind of a strange accident in Turkey? It would take news channels and bloggers at least ten times as long to write something up about it. Plug in a few key words in Twitter and you'll likely find mention of it in seconds.
Use the "List" function to collect those Twitter users who are known news hounds. But the best way to capitalize on Twitter's breaking news function is to simply be smart with the Search function. Use the best tags and keywords possible for the best results.
Facebook: Editorials and Features
Put the "news" back in your news feed. Start considering Facebook pages as more than just a place to ignore deals from your favorite retailers (because you really wanted that free bagel from Einstein's and had to "Like" their page to get it). Most online news sources have a Facebook page and they feed their latest links through their pages which then show up on your news feed. But be selective. Peruse the page to see what kinds of links they send through their Facebook page; some news outlets may stick to their front page stories while others tend to filter through stories that they believe (right or wrong) will appeal more to users of social media.
Model your news sources after your favorite newspaper: pull page sources that adequately satisfy your need for information on global news, politics, arts and leisure, real estate and design, science and technology, sports, and even comics.
LinkedIn: Business and Industry
If you've been using LinkedIn just to make vague networking connections and occasionally update your resume, it's time to look again. LinkedIn Today provides the most shared headlines that are prevalent to your industry and they're fed directly to your homepage. Not only that, you can easily Save articles to your profile, making it easy to refer back, post to any groups, or send directly to interested individuals. Browsing articles by industry automatically filters out those top headlines that you would readily skip in your newspaper anyway.