It's amazing, sometimes, how a little piece of information can be just what you need to take your next step....
That's why the Web can be so powerful .... it's just chock-a-block with information that could be useful to you. I say "could" because there's a catch: you have to find it first. Finding what you know is easy. But finding what you don't know can be very difficult.
Take the most popular form of info-gathering: a keyword search on Google. But if you don't know what you're looking for .... what it's called, how it's referred to .... how will you know what keywords to type in?
For a similar reason, I actually miss the card catalogs at libraries and wish they'd bring them back. Why? Because you didn't have to know the exact title, author name or subject. You just had to be approximate, because you could then scan the cards, forwards and backwards, to uncover what you might be looking for. It was a delightful process of discovery that could help you find books you didn't even know you wanted to read.
It's also why human give-and-take remains so damned important. In the last week, I attended two live events where helpful participants suggested valuable Web sites I would never have found on my own .... I wouldn't have known where to look, or what keywords to type in to find them.
This tells me at least two things: One, you shouldn't count on keyword searches alone as a way to drive traffic -- you need to get people talking about you, live and online. Two, to find what you need that you don't know about yet, you need to keep your ears open.
Where have you picked up some good scoops lately?
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- Does Your Website Really Need That? Five Elements to Rethink
- Google's Guide to User-Generated Content [Infographic]