FIND & CAPTURE
I find my #swipefiles in two main ways. When someone else shares something interesting on Facebook, I save the posts to a Saved Items collection I’ve labeled #swipefile. The other main way is through Feedly, where I have a whole host of blogs, news sites, and publications that I skim over, usually every other week or so. There again I have a #swipefile category for items I save to Read Later.
Occasionally I’ll stumble across things elsewhere online, at which point I use my Buffer extension (in Chrome) to add something to the queue of what I share online. If I’m fairly positive I’ll want to use something for myself in the future, I will also save it to Evernote (again, via Chrome extension).
The only other thing I do is read books almost exclusively on my Kindle, so I can highlight sections. There’s no super easy way to search those highlights, other than the laborious task of going to your personal Kindle highlights page on Amazon (yes, that’s a thing) and then doing a lot of command-F searches for particular words. For a while I would take and copy those notes into Evernote, so at least I could search them easily. Now, however I use this AMAZING app called Readwise, which takes your Kindle highlights and serves them back up to you, five at a time, in a daily email digest. It’s a super way of being reminded of things I otherwise have totally forgotten (and still find useful and interesting!).
So, that’s how I find and keep everything. When it comes to finding things again, I’ll admit the first thing I do now is search my old emails for “#swipefile” and some keywords I remember from the original post. Gmail’s search function is super strong (duh), so that usually surfaces the issue of this newsletter where I shared said useful thing with you originally. Sometimes I resort to a plain old fashioned web search (since I can usually recognize the article I was looking for), or I search in Evernote.
But I don’t categorize anything. I just search for what I remember the article was about. That’s almost always worked, even with articles that are now close to 10 years old (like this awesome one). If I get really desperate, I do a Twitter search on “#swipefile” and my handle (@tamadear, or even on @Oratium, where I worked before I went out on my own).
If you don’t save these emails (WHAT?!) or don’t trust your brain to recall what you need when you need it, or just want something you can browse, you can get fancy with categorizing. I’d still suggest a service like Evernote that allows you to capture not just the link to an article but the actual content of the article itself. After all, links break over time, bloggers stop blogging, etc., so I like to make sure I’ve got the good stuff kept in a way I can get to offline.
So. Categorizing. If you want to take this extra step, I’d suggest tagging what you want to save in two ways: (1) tag it with something that helps you classify what type of information it is and then (2) with words that describe the topic. As to the type of information, you might find it helpful to think in terms of the “message mindsets” approach I take. That way you can quickly find data to balance out your stories, quotes to balance out your exercises, etc. It helps to narrow down the field when you’re trying to figure out how best to illustrate or explain a concept.
Just for you, dear readers, I have taken a stab at categorizing all of this week’s #swipefiles this way (you can see them, below). That said, the way I categorize might make no sense to you. I, for example, may read the article on AI-generated cat names and think, “funny thing to add in if I’m ever talking about how human and robot skills differ” (a problem pair of parallel vs. serial processing, by the way). You may read it and decide it’s the foundation of your next great academic work. Or maybe you just want to be able to easily find it again when it’s time to name your next cat.
Your clients and audience no doubt roll their eyes when someone tells the starfish story yet again; brings up Apple, Amazon, or Zappos yet again; or cites that patently ridiculous stat about people’s attention spans… yet again. You may want to be that person, but I think you’ll have more fun sharing things people haven’t heard before. Share the things that help people feel a little bit smarter. Share the things that may make them laugh a bit more. Share the things that help them understand. Or believe. Or act.
No matter how you keep your #swipefile, I’m sure glad you enjoy reading mine. 🙂
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