Reference Lists and Interest Feeds

Two of the most common uses of Membic are creating a searchable reference list, and creating an ongoing interest feed. Here’s how to set those things up so they work best for what you want to do.

General Setup

Reference lists and interest feeds are both themes. To create a theme, open your profile settings, click the Create Theme button, choose a name, and click “Create”. Your new theme is created, with you as a Founder. More on what being a Founder allows you to do later, first let’s take care of some general settings:

Hashtag

Your new theme probably has a url like https://membic.org/theme/2030. Change that into something that is easier to remember by adding a hashtag. After deciding on a hashtag, click “Update” to change the theme page, the web feed, and the embedding link.

Keywords

Keywords make it easier for everyone to find links, and easier for yourself to create them. For your theme, try to think of 3-7 keywords that broadly span the kinds of things you think you will be posting. Your goal is to help search, not imagine a complete future taxonomy. Some membics might not match a keyword, and some membics may have more than one. That’s ok. It would be unusual to know what keywords will be ultimately be best. Make a decent guess based on what you know, you can change them later if needed.

Sorting

Reference lists are organized by star rating. Interest feeds are organized by creation time. You can switch between the types anytime by changing the how the membics are sorted. Read on to decide which works best for what you want to do.

Reference List

A reference list is a smaller collection of membics displayed in priority order. A typical reference list is 20 to 200 membics with the most important or highly recommended membic first.

To change the display order, change the star rating on your membics. Your top membics are 5 stars, then 4.5, and on down. The default rating for a new membic is 3 stars (average). If two membics have the same rating, the most recent one is displayed first.

Reference lists are a great way to provide recommended readings, research sources, and other “best-of” collections.

Interest Feed

An interest feed is a potentially large collection of membics that grows as links are discovered. It is displayed in chronological order with the most recent first. Star ratings are not used for sorting.

Interest feed themes are able to extend far beyond 200 membics by offloading older content into overflow collections. Anytime the theme goes over 400 membics, the oldest 200 are automatically offloaded. When you search, the immediate membics are searched first, then if there are not enough matches found, the system starts working through the overflows in chronological order to find what you are looking for.

Interest feeds are a great way to collect links related to hobbies, recipes, books, research interests, and other ongoing developments.

Adding Members

As a Founder of a theme, you have the option to add other contributing members. Do this if you want to set up an interest feed as a collaborative effort with other people you know. As a Founder you can choose to add members or cancel membership at any time.

To add someone as a member, they need to be following the theme. Use the email share button under the theme sharing menu to invite them to follow. After they are following, you will see a link to their profile when you click the “Show Audience” button on the theme share menu. As a Founder you can click on the audience association link to promote a follower to a member, or to cancel their membership.

Of course you can also invite someone to follow just because they would be interested in the links you post. Followers are notified of new membics, either by email or web feed as they choose.

Archiving

If you have completed your reference list, or if you are closing down an interest feed, you can Archive the theme to prevent further posts. Marking the theme as archived also removes it from the suggested posting choices.

Embedding

You are welcome to embed your theme as a page on your own site. When a theme is displayed embedded, the top description area is removed, and the background becomes transparent. The resulting neutral color display works with most websites, but you may want to adjust the links color. Use the two color controls at the bottom of the theme settings to match your site.

A Membic Theme is a great way to create a reference list or an ongoing interest feed. You’ll find everything you need to collect and display what you thought was memorable.

Reference Lists and Interest Feeds

Why Membic?

As we each work our way through piles of links trying to find those that our worth our time, outstanding content really shines. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the most most important thing is actually what you thought about it. The second most important thing is sharing it with others who would be interested. The third most important thing is the link itself.

After spending several minutes on something, it’s certainly worth taking a few seconds to jot down your concluding impressions. Here’s how that builds value, along with a few writing tips.

What’s memorable? Value to you.

Your memory latches onto what made an impression. Long after you’ve forgotten the source, title, and other information, you still have some of your own impressions left. Now that quick line of text you wrote describing what was most notable becomes a memory extension hook for quick access. Searching your own impressions directly enables easy recall, without having to wade through expanses of information ocean.

Memory amplification can also happen when you search by impression and uncover not only what you were vaguely remembering, but other matching links you had completely forgotten. When that happens you were able “recall” with the combined capacity of past-you and present-you. All because you jotted down what was most memorable at the time.

What’s memorable? Value to others.

Whether you are maintaining an ongoing interest theme, or a putting together a quick searchable reference list, your note on why a link is memorable provides vital contextual information. For most reference situations, “why” is missing or implicit, and there is not much info on how things are being endorsed. By reading what you thought was memorable about a link, your audience can quickly grok the relevancy to themselves and what they are looking for. Your comments help them filter and focus.

Describing what is memorable also builds trust. Your audience develops a strong feel for your approach from reading your notes, and since those notes were posted for your own use, it’s not a sales pitch. Personal notes are highly direct information communication. When I describe why something was important to me, you can quickly figure out if it will likely be important to you.

Quick impressions

Don’t compose, just make a quick note for yourself.

If the default “What’s memorable” prompt isn’t doing it for you, consider “Why am I keeping this link”, or think about telling a friend why you are sending it to them. Why was it worth the time you just spent on it?

The key is to write something. You get used to it pretty quickly.

Longer impressions

Membic is optimized around having a sentence or two noting for yourself what was memorable. The beginning of the text is displayed in the condensed summary, and clicking on it shows the rest.

Sometimes it is helpful to write more. For example you may want to include a few notes, a quote from the abstract or other info. You can do this by starting a new line with a label (e.g. “NOTES: ” or “ABSTRACT: “) and those sections will be collapsed separately in the condensed display.

If you want to write more than a half page or so, you might want to consider writing a blog page, then either post a link to your page or reference the page in your description of the link.

Starting from your impression

Occasionally, you might find yourself starting from your impression rather than from a direct link. For example you might want to note what was memorable about a physical object, a place, or something from a paid service. In these cases, the recommended approach is to do a general search for an appropriate link. In order of preference, Membic encourages links to:

  1. Dedicated public references (e.g. Wikipedia, ImDB).
  2. A dedicated source site, publisher, or manufacturer.
  3. Retail, search or map links.

Regardless of what link you choose, be sure to write a short note about what you thought was most memorable. That’s the most important part.

Why Membic?

How Membic Search Works

Search is the bridge from what you actively remember into everything that you have found memorable. When searching membics written by someone else, you build on their expertise to enhance your own. For a simple input box, search has a lot of power. Here is quick overview of things you can do with search.

Simple and fast

If you have some idea what you are looking for, just type in a search term and go. For example in a social justice theme you might search for
    racism
to get back all of the membics where “racism” occurs anywhere in the membic, whether capitalized or not.

Want to add a second search term? Here are the ways you can do that:

anti‑black racism Search for “anti-black” OR “racism” anywhere in the membic
anti‑black +racism Search for “anti-black” AND “racism” anywhere in the membic
“anti‑black racism” Search for the exact phrase “anti-black racism” as if it were a single word, anywere in the membic

That should help you zoom in pretty quickly if you know what you are looking for. But what if you don’t know what kinds of membics are available?

Keywords and scopes

When viewing a theme, open the search box without typing anything into it and you will get a list of keywords available for the theme. The keywords show you the kinds of membics available.

When searching by keyword, the scope is set by default to only match membics with that associated keyword. For example if you choose “Solidarity” from the keywords, the search box will show “in keywords: Solidarity”, meaning that only membics with “Solidarity” in the keywords will match. If you want to find “Solidarity” anywhere in the membic, you can remove the “in keywords:” part of the search.

These are the available search scopes:

  • in keywords: Match if the search term is found in the keywords.
  • in details: Match if the search term is found in the details.
  • in url: Match if the search term is found in the link url.

The “in url” scope is particularly useful if you are interested in a specific web source. For example “in url: nytimes” gets you all the membics describing links to articles from the New York Times.

The “in details” scope matches only the link title and supporting information provided by the website (e.g. author, publisher, artist). It does not match the text or the url. Not all websites provide consistent detail information, but it can be a useful scope for searching across those that do.

That’s it. To try out your new found search power, choose any theme that interests you from the main Membic page.

How Membic Search Works

Rebuild and Refocus

Sometimes sites need to be rebuilt. For membic.org back in November 2019, a variety of hosting changes meant that all of the user data would have to be moved, and most of the site rewritten. Challenging, but also an opportunity to make improvements. Here’s some of what changed.

Making it easy to create

Every Membic user has their own page with a permalink you can put on your phone home screen, in your bookmarks, and anywhere else you want for easy access. Anytime you come across a memorable link, you can copy it, open your profile, and paste the link in to make a membic. No installs or other technology needed. Works from anywhere with internet.

If you can’t stand to break your browse flow, you can choose to email a link to me@membic.org specifying why it’s memorable in the subject line.

Editing a membic much is easier now. Click the text or the kebab menu to expand and make changes directly.

Making it easy to reference

Just like you can put a link to your profile anywhere, you can put your page content anywhere using the embed link from the page settings. If you can embed a video, you can embed your membics. When your page is displayed inside of another site, the background goes transparent and the membic page header information is hidden leaving only share and search.

Apropos search, if your theme defines keywords, they are now made available as options from the search input area. Search processing is quite a bit more powerful. You can put multiple words in quotes to search for an exact phrase, filter matches through other keywords, and more. I’ll post a full description of that soon.

Making it easy to follow

Membic has always supported webfeeds for theme pages. As more people use feed readers for their news, feeds are now also available for profiles. The feed permalink url for any page is available from the share menu.

You can choose to follow any membic page from the settings menu. Following shows you are interested, and you can select whether you want to stay informed of new membics via feed or by email.

To allow for communication between two people who both want it, followers now have the option of sending a comment about a specific membic back to the person who posted it. Email comments have the email address of the person sending the comment, and are vetted through the new membic forwarding system, which screens out comments from any blocked users. If the membic writer chooses to respond, they email back directly and both people can take it from there.

On your own profile, or any theme you are a founder of, you can now view audience from the share menu. You can block any audience member from contacting you at the theme or profile level. This comment and response feature was added to support Membic users who are looking for an alternative to social media when sharing links.

Independence and respect

As you might have noticed from the support for standard web technologies
like web feeds, email, and independent web sites, Membic continues to itself
be an independent web site. Membic also continues to avoid harvesting
personal information, respecting its users and the value of their informed
selection of which links are important and why. It’s all about the membics.

Comments welcome.

Rebuild and Refocus

When to make a Membic Theme

You would think that searchable reference of memorable links, with a standard feed connecting everything from newsreaders to social media to other sites would pretty much cover it. Almost, but not quite. This article talks about a couple of common needs and how to handle them using membic themes.

What else is needed?

There are two common situations where your profile might not be enough. The first case is when find yourself wanting a searchable reference and feed for a subset of membics you write. This can happen if you have specialized ongoing interests. For example you might have continuing interests in social justice and art. You can add “art” and “social justice” tags to each of the membics you write, but you might want to elevate one or more of these interests to have its own searchable archive and feed.

The second situation that goes beyond your personal profile is when you want to team up with friends or colleagues to collaboratively build a searchable reference archive with its own feed. You could all share an account, but that can be confusing to manage, and signing out and signing in to different accounts gets annoying.

Membic solves both these situations with themes.

What’s a Theme?

A Membic Theme is very similar to a profile. It has a name, an identifying image and a brief description. It has its own feed. When you create a theme, you are automatically set up as its Founder, which means you have full control over everything the same way as you do for your profile.

As a Founder, you can choose to have other members or not. It’s entirely up to you whether having other contributors would be appropriate. You can accept or remove members anytime.

How Theme Membership Works

Themes support three levels of membership:

  1. Members can post membics to the theme, or choose to remove membics they’ve written. They cannot change the descriptive information or anything else about the theme.
  2. Moderators are members who are additionally allowed to remove membics from anyone else if they feel a posted membic is inappropriate or off topic.
  3. Founders control membership and have full access to all information and settings.

At the top of the theme settings dialog, there is a tab for the administrative log which keeps track of all significant actions by Moderators and Founders. There is also a membership tab where you can see who is associated with the theme and at what level.

To become a member of a theme, you first follow the theme and then apply for membership. When a founder sees your application, they either accept or reject your membership application. A founder can later remove a member if things aren’t working out, or promote them to Moderator or even a co-Founder. Founders cannot remove other Founders, but anyone can resign to a lower membership level or resign from the theme entirely if they want.

Posting to the Theme

As a theme member at any level, you will see a checkbox for the theme when you are writing a new membic. If what you are writing is appropriate for the theme, check the box. The membic you write will automatically post through.

If you edit a membic, and uncheck the theme box, what you posted through will be removed from the theme.

If for any reason you inappropriately post through to a theme, and a Moderator or Founder removes your membic, it will be just as if you unchecked the theme box. There will be a note in the theme administrative log explaining why your post was removed. It’s important to consider the integrity of what membics are included in a theme so the theme continues to be useful as a resource.

Theme Keywords

Themes can optionally have their own keywords. If defined, checkboxes for those keywords will be presented when you check the theme while writing a membic. Custom keywords require slightly more consideration while writing, but can be very helpful for searching theme content. Especially for new visitors viewing your theme embedded within another site.

If you are not sure what keywords to use, it can be a good strategy to wait until you have at least a few dozen membics posted to the theme. That way you can get a better idea what tagging would be most helpful. In general, less is more. As the number of keywords increases, their utility diminishes. The goal is to have keywords that provide the maximum access for yourself and other visitors.

If you are ready to create a theme, click the add icon at the top of the themes page at https://membic.org

When to make a Membic Theme

Feed Your Blog

Showing what you’ve been reading recently is a great way to add interest to your blog. By displaying links to other memorable articles you’ve read, you add breadth and perspective to your own writing. Here’s how to bling your blog using the feed from your membic profile or theme.

Simple WordPress Feed

With even just the most basic WordPress.com blog, you can add your recent membics to a sidebar on your page. Here’s how:

  1. In WordPress, choose Appearance | Customize. Then select Widgets, Add a Widget, and choose RSS (Entries from any RSS or Atom feed).
  2. On your membic profile or theme, click the share icon, then right click the RSS icon to copy the feed link.
  3. Paste your copied feed link into the WordPress widget RSS feed URL.

Done. Now anytime you write a new membic, the sidebar for your blog will automatically display it.

Blogger and Other Platforms

On Blogger, the setup is very similar to WordPress except you are adding a Feed “gadget” rather than a “widget”. As above, go to your membic profile or theme, click the share icon, then right click on the RSS feed link to copy it. Detailed instructions on wikiHow

RSS feeds are standard blog additions. If you are on another blog platform, just search for how to add a feed.

Website Blogs

If your blog is integrated into your website, you may want to check out Adding a Reading Page to Your Site as an alternate approach, depending on where and how you want to present what you’ve been reading.

Your site platform may have feed capabilities that go beyond the basic functionality described here.

Multiple Feeds

To include only a subset of all your profile membics in your blog feed, create a membic theme. In your blog feed setup, use the RSS feed from your theme instead of from your profile. When you write a membic, you can choose whether it should post through to your theme or just to your profile. Your blog feed will reflect your theme posts.

Feed Formatting

To customize what goes into your feed entries, go to your profile or theme settings, then click the RSS Feed section. There you’ll find instructions on how to customize your feed URL to include specific parts of each membic, or change the display ordering.

The membics you write are one of the most relevant feeds you can add to your blog. Add a feed using the RSS feed from your profile on membic.org.

Feed Your Blog

Adding a Reading Page to Your Site

What you read shows a lot about who you are. How can you make your website reflect that? A list of links is so boring you won’t even read it yourself, and updating a website every time you read a good article just isn’t going to happen. Here’s how to add a compelling reading page to your site.

Give Reasons

The first step to a compelling reading page is to add a sentence why each link is important. If you can’t immediately come up with something, or you don’t think it’s worth writing a sentence, then your site visitors will probably be correct in thinking it’s not worth the time to look at. Take the time to describe each link. Your reading page is a reflection of you, and anyone visiting is going to find your notes at least as valuable as the links. Your reading page is a reflection of your analysis and insight.

You might think you are writing for other people. That’s not a good idea because you don’t know who your visitors will be. Write a sentence about why the link was important to you. That’s the best reflection of who you are and your expertise. It’s also the most generally useful.

Apropos useful, you might find your reading page more helpful than you initially expected. One obvious use is quickly pulling together recommended reading for someone else. Even more useful is enhancing your own memory. Have you ever wanted to reference an article you vaguely remember only to find it’s no longer easy to find via search? Now you can hit your own reading page and easily grab it. Articles stay easy to find because your notes are included with the link information. It’s like searching your extended memory.

Offload Maintenance

Even if you are a web designer, updating your site every time you read something memorable just isn’t going to happen. It’s a hassle. Fortunately the particular kind of hassle is programmatically similar for everyone, and it can be automated. After a one-time page setup, the only thing you have to do is write notated links. If you want to get fancy, you can also add your own custom tagging, but the main thing is your notes.

The easiest way to include a readings page on your site is to use an iframe. This is similar to including a video. Just copy the embed code to an appropriate page on your site and everything stays up to date. You can set link colors to match.

If your hosting doesn’t allow iframe embedding, or if you want to make a copy of everything you write, you can aggregate your content using RSS. There are a variety of plugins for transforming a standard web feed, check with your platform or hosting provider for available options. Whatever you use for your links, make sure there is a feed provided. That’s the key to keeping things connected, and for preserving the value of what you write.

Hubs, Not Silos

In terms of authorship effort, links with notes attached (aka membics) are a lot less effort than blog articles, podcasts, videos, and other media you might create, but they still work the same way – you write them in one place and they get automatically distributed everywhere else. The reading page on your website is one endpoint. Social media hubs and news aggregators are others. More on that in future posts.

You can create a reading page for your site at https://membic.org

Adding a Reading Page to Your Site

Multi-Author Link Microblog Example

Say you and some of your colleagues have an ongoing interest in resisting oppression. You read a fair amount of related material, and now you would like to share your selected recommendations with a wider audience. Your goal is to socially share new links as you find them, while maintaining a top recommendations page for reference. Here’s how:

Start Tracking

The first step is for you and your colleauges to start recording the links you would recommend. Set up an account on membic.org, then write a membic whenever you find something memorable. You’ll notice that creating a membic is slightly more involved than traditional social sharing. That’s because you are creating a log. Your impressions are important.

That’s worth saying again. Your impressions are important. It’s your judgement and expertise that transform a list of links into a compelling curated archive. The extra effort might seem like a hassle at first, but you are building value. You might find the additional detail also improves your social media posts. More on that below.

Put It On Your Site

Once you’ve created your first membic, the next step is to create a membic theme. Each theme is its own collaborative microblog supporting search, filtering, and download in a variety of formats. As a theme founder, you control who you want as members, moderators or co-founders.

Embedding a membic theme into your own site is straightforward. If you can embed a video, you can embed a membic theme.

If your hosting provider does not allow embedded content, you can still include your latest updates if they support RSS. Your theme’s RSS feed can also be used by news trackers and blog readers to let people know whenever you post something new.

Connect It To Social Media

The easiest way to share membics on social media is to click one of the handy share buttons after you save it.

If you want automatic social sharing, you can use a social media management tool (I like Hootsuite) to connect your theme’s RSS feed to your social media accounts. For safety, membic will queue things up to avoid overwhelming anyone.

Done

After you’re set up, anytime you or your colleagues post a new membic to your theme, it will be forwarded to social media, reflected on your site, tracked by news readers, and added to your searchable reference archive.

To try it out, or for more information, sign up for a free account at
membic.org.

Multi-Author Link Microblog Example

Publishing An Academic Reading List Using a Membic Theme

Just finished helping translate an academic course reading list into a Membic Theme. It continues to amaze me how much of our societal knowledge is in pdf file format, and how many of those cost money to access. At least publishing a recommended reading list provides some indication of what’s worth it.

Why do this

The reading list in this case was for a course that had gained interest outside of the academic institution, so having everything on the university network pointing at local library resources wasn’t the best way to communicate. On the other hand, there wasn’t a handy appropriate website to put it on either. Converting the reading list to more generally accessible links and putting those into a membic theme seemed like a good way to go. Membic themes look good, are searchable, and can be easily embedded into a web page later as needed.

Links to pdf files can usually be viewed just by clicking them, so that works just fine. For files that are not immediately viewable, linking to a site where they can be downloaded (possibly for a fee), feels less than optimal and a bit of an unmerited endorsement. But with rare exceptions, most of the download sites provide an article abstract, so if you already have an account with a different archive you can retrieve the article without too much difficulty.

In short, a membic theme seems like a good match for presenting an academic reading list.

Challenges

The biggest thing that got in the way was the queuing. The Membic site is set up to automatically queue bunches of membics created on the same day so that followers and feeds get updated at a steadier, more absorbable pace. Generally that’s a great feature, but when the goal is to quickly put up an entire reading list, those updates are not important and queuing gets in the way. I opened an issue on that, so before the next reading list theme creation, there will be a way to skip the feed queuing.

Another drawback was the high percentage of sites that do not allow automated retrieval of article listing information. I think returning article abstract details would facilitate more sales, but apparently most publishing organizations feel that access from a server rather than directly from a person should be shut down. That seems limited. If anyone is aware of a reference article archive that supports automated access, definitely let me know as I’ll prefer them. In this case it wasn’t much of a problem since the reading list already had title, author, and other info, so filling out the membic details manually was quick.

The last drawback was the order the articles were presented. The default membic presentation is most recent first, but in this case it was desirable to always have the syllabus be the first thing listed. Because the search view goes by rating first and then recency, the solution was to make the syllabus link 5 stars and everything 4.5 stars. That put the syllabus always on top when the theme was accessed directly. That’s a perfectly reasonable use of stars, but perhaps not the most intuitive mechanism.

Benefits

As expected, the resulting reading list has it’s own permalink, looks good, is searchable, and can be easily updated. That compares favorably to the average reading list page.

Because each membic includes a description why the article is important, the level of depth and usefulness of the overall reading list is enhanced. It’s possible to include why an article is important in a conventional reading list display, but it’s unusual. The reason why the article is important becomes part of the searchable text, which helps find things in addition to providing guidance.

Keywords turned out to be more useful than expected. Some of the articles were example cases, and being able to set up keywords for the theme meant I could just check off the appropriate reading category for the membic, making the articles searchable by category.

Conclusion

Using membic.org for article reading lists works pretty well. For a long list, the queuing skip feature will be a big help, but I would do this again for another course.

Publishing An Academic Reading List Using a Membic Theme

Growing Beyond All-In-One Social

Recently people are paying more attention to how their social network information is used. Facebook has been getting the most press (with good reason), but people are starting to take a harder look at their use of social media platforms in general. Seems like a good time to revisit some of the basics about what the deal is and how to work with it.

What’s the deal?

All-in-one platforms concentrate everything you share and see into one tidy package. Usually for sale. You might understandably feel slightly betrayed having everything you’ve ever shared or visited fed into AI/PsyOps to promote consumerism, authoritarianism, or anything else people will pay for, but that’s the deal.

Even if you value your privacy somewhat, and recognize the risks of making everything you do readily accessible to anyone claiming to be doing marketing, you are still probably going to choose to have a social media account. The key is is to control what you publish, manage your interactions, and try maintain enough perspective to avoid being sucked in by Pavlovian conditioning, random reinforcement and other tactics.

Here’s a few tips that might help, both on the receiving and posting ends.

It’s OK to miss a post

The social reward for checking posts like a gambling addict is real, and social networks reward that behavior, but social networks are the social equivalent of junk food – fine in moderation provided you balance it with other social contact. If you have other social contact, missing a post is no biggie. You’ll catch up on anything important when you connect.

When you share on social media, you are connecting to an audience that includes only a subset of your friends (along with robots, lurkers, and other people you didn’t even realize were there). Not all your friends will see your post, even if they are on the same social network. And you are probably not going to see everything your friends post either. That’s all OK.

To maintain perspective, make sure you are connecting outside of social media for a reasonable percentage of your total social time. What’s reasonable is up to you, but every couple of months or so, self check you’re still comfortable with your balance.

Have more to show

Consider sharing more thoughtfully. Seriously consider appropriate recording. If you write articles or create other media, that should be somewhere on the net in addition to being shared on social media. There are platforms for writings, music, videos and other media (for memorable links, make a membic). If you’ve never recorded anything outside of a social network, try going back over your posts for the last month to see how you are presenting and what your voice might be. Adjust as needed to make sure you are happy with how you are coming across.

Recording deeper artifacts separately over time creates a searchable archive reflecting a powerful aspect of you independent of any filtering your social net decides to apply for its visitors.

Read other sources

Social networks can be helpful for alerts about events and news, but you owe it to yourself and others not to endorse anything you haven’t actually looked into. Not everything actually comes from where you would expect, and the reasons behind posts can be equally surprising. Don’t despair, a little analysis can make your social network perusal much more interesting.

Sometimes people fall into relying on social networks for news because they don’t have time for other sources. Take a timeout for few minutes to learn about RSS, and try out an RSS reader. You’ll probably gain your time back, and more. As a side benefit, you’ll be able to easily follow any of your friend’s blogs without having to visit their site to check if anything’s new. An RSS reader is a primary phone app.

Make time to stay in touch

Continuing on the theme of underutilized old-school technology, consider your calendar. If you have trouble making the time to stay in touch with extended family, far flung friends, or other acquaintances, put it on your calendar. For increased success, schedule contact sometime that’s not a holiday.

On holidays, if you have some time, reflect back on rewarding social interactions you’ve had over the past year. You might find they weren’t on social media.

Growing Beyond All-In-One Social