Technology: Try an Audition Period

We're surrounded with new technology – we're geeks after all, we SEEK to be surrounded by new technology – and a lot of this technology is either great for our careers, or something we should KNOW about for our careers.

The problem is, there's a heck of a LOT of it.

I know I'm not the only one trying to keep track of new sites, new services, new trends for both professional and personal reasons.  Every day it seems there's some new Twitter-related service.

Worst, this is part of my job – I work in technology.  Social Media, what happens to Hulu, etc. doesn't just affect me recreationally or in my personal branding – it affects my job.  Things I normally would think are just cool are deadly serious and there's a lot to know.

I think you, my fellow progeek, can relate.

What I've taken to doing the last year is start holding "auditions" for websites and services that I may use or need to know about.

I take time, an evening or a set of days, to get to know a new site, tool, service, etc.  Use it, play with it, subscribe to it.  Try it out.  Take the time and dive into using it – or just getting it over with.

In that time of the "audition" decide if you want to keep using the service (and work it into your schedule), aren't sure, or don't care.  If you're not sure about it, subscribe to whatever email updates it has (as almost everything has SOME kind of newsletter or update) to keep you aware.

If you decide that the "audition" was successful, then make sure you use that application, site, or service.  Decide how it fits into your life plan and put it to work.  By having a specific goal in mind you don't loose track of the wonderful new site/thing you've discovered, and you use it to find out if you were wrong about how great it is.

This is how I've sorted through the explosion of social media and general media sites – give something an audition.  In a few cases I adapted it as it seemed indispensable no matter what, but either way, I sat down and figured things out.

Taking the time to just get to know a new app, social media, web service, etc. is a good way to sort through all the hype, find what works for you, yet stay focused.

– Steven Savage