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7 Ways to Track Internet’s Trends and Popular News

7 Ways to Track Internet’s Trends and Popular News
Target Trend

    It doesn’t matter if you are a news reporter, a blogger, or just a regular guy who want to find the trends around the Internet, you want to be productive and use as little time as possible to find what’s popular and new.

    For me, I want to stay on top of technology and software related news, and to tell you the truth – I wouldn’t want to spend more than a tick to get what I want to see, or find out if it is popular. I want to introduce seven ways of tracking trends and popular resources online.

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    Watch Alexa Stat. There are two visit points. Alexa Traffic details and Movers. Alexa Traffic details gives you access on web site traffic estimations based on Alexa’s users population. With the dynamically generated graph, You could compare up to five different sites on traffic. Alexa Movers provides you with a view on which sites gain the most traffic recently. It is a terrific way to track on sites which have just hit the upward traffic (which is what we call a trend on the Internet). If you are using Firefox, download SearchStatus. It’s an excellent extension with Alexa Ranking display plus other great information on the site.

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    Alexa ranking on Digg and Slashdot

      Track Technorati. It is a blogging search engine. “Does it do searches only?”, you ask. For trend watcher, they have three more things for you – a popular page which shows the popular videos, movies, news and books bloggers have written about; a tag page which displays the popular tags for the hour. It also could help you to track posts which bloggers have tagged; and third, if you take a look at the tag search result, you see a nice trend graph. Take Apple iPhone for example, let’s see how the trend goes at the moment:

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      Technorati Trend Graph

        Look at PageRank. Not as useful as other methods, but it shows you overtime how many external pages have been linked to the page you are on. PageRank depends on the volume of incoming links. Number of incoming links can be one of the ways to judge if the content is worthwhile at all. I recommend SearchStatus instead of Google Toolbar to get the PageRank info as SearchStatus is more lightweight with tons of features.

        Read Digg. It is great. Sometimes it gets news much faster than mainstream media and bloggers. But sometimes the news that hit frontpage are just plain useless for me. So subscribe or read a specific topic section.

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        Read Slashdot. I know, it is pretty old school. But they still feature some breaking news about the technical and technology industry.

        Read news aggregators. Instead of going to newspaper sites and read breaking news and trends, subscribe aggregators like Google News and Techmeme.

        Use your Feed Readers. Find several frequently updated sites with feeds. Subscribe their feed with your feed reader. Track them all at once. As this is your own selections, I recommend to keep down the number of subscriptions, or at least categorize your feed into two areas. A trend watching area which is an area you read often, and Others which is a folder with less important feeds. Keep the noise vs signal ratio low.

        Hope these seven ways will save you time on tracking trends and popular stuff online. Got any more tips? Comment them here or send them to tips at lifehack.org

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        Leon Ho

        Founder of Lifehack

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        The Gentle Art of Saying No

        The Gentle Art of Saying No

        No!

        It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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        But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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        What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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        But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

        1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
        2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
        3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
        4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
        5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
        6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
        7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
        8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
        9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
        10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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