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#665: Consultant's Picks for Social Media Sources

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, September 30, 2011
Updated: Friday, September 30, 2011
All good consultants have their favorite research and data sources, usually specific to their industry and professional discipline. Given that traditional media is being overtaken by social media, where should a consultant go to get the best collections of social media generated news and information?

This is a great question. The issue at hand is where do we go and who do we trust for valid and timely information when traditional media sources are closing, merging or shrinking? At least for the US, we are going back to the early days of the country when we had more than 10,000 newspapers (admittedly many were of limited circulation), providing a lot of information, and a lot more opinions. Over time, these consolidated into the trusted news sources we have enjoyed for the last century. Now we are faced with the struggling business model of print news media and provided with thousands of sources, many of which we can't verify as to quality and veracity. So, who do you trust/

My suggested selection criteria relate to how news is collected, how well the news is presented, and how responsive the outlet is to its readers. More reporters from diverse sources, committed to long term relationships with the outlet is better than a steady stream of one-off submissions from itinerant reporters. Outlets that invest in an a platform that presents information in quickly searchable and accessible formats (including mobile) is better than an old-line media that just put all their content " on the web." Finally, 24-hour news cycles are no longer unidirectional, so the opportunity to comment on content and engage with authors, editors and readers is better than static content.

I recommend four sources to keep up with general trends in business, politics, social issues and technology (hard-core business wonks will have to find their nuggets elsewhere):These four sources provide a quick way to be current on news and to participate in topical discussions. Each has invested in the technology and design to incorporate the best of social media into their offering.

Tip: One of the best benefits of these type of new media is the ability to use the technology to create your own aggregator of information on the topics you most care about in a format best suited to your needs, including mobile applications. Examples are BBC's section on Ethics, ProPublica's Tools and Data, and Mashable's Trending Topics (to which you can subscribe).

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  consulting tools  education  innovation  intellectual property  market research  professional development  social media  your consulting practice 

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