Sunday, February 10, 2013

How do YOU stay informed?

On this early Sunday morning, I was going through the 25-30 blogs I subscribe to with Google Reader, investigating new information sources, and catching up on reading about soap making, small business considerations, and being more awesome at life, and I wondered how others stay on top of it all?

There is SO much information out there on the internets.  And since anyone can put anything up there, it's so hard to know what's accurate!  Sometimes I struggle with my own education in this soapy industry - the hardest for me is identifying things that are partially true and knowing what is true and what isn't.  I try to conscientiously not disseminate false information, and that requires a lot of fact checking (and even then, sometimes I find later that I was misinformed)!  I often feel frustrated when people just click or share articles, thoughts, etc without checking whether they are correct first.

Who didn't see this at least once on Facebook last June, even though the actual destination date in the movie is Oct 21, 2015?
So, for me, I try to keep up with new information / techniques / ideas through all of these following ways, and I think my favorite format tends to vary with what I am searching for.  I love books for understanding the nuts and bolts of how processes work.  I love blogs (and Pinterest!) for inspiration.  I love forums for general "sniff tests" for information.  Here's what I use and why:

  • There are plenty of forums that I visit, which are helpful for me, including Teach Soap and Talk Soap Forum.  I like this format, because I can learn from questions and answers from other soapers.  Incorrect information is often identified and corrected relatively quickly by the prolific writers on those blogs.  I still will try to validate with other sources where possible.
"But don't take my word for it!"  <side note, I really loved this show growing up!  I loved to read anyway, but it's one of those shows that have stuck with me into adulthood>
    • I subscribe to so many blogs, for so many topics, and I add to that list weekly.  It is so great to see inspiration and ideas from others!  I get ideas for more than just my next soaping technique or ingredients, though.  I read blogs for news, for personal improvement ideas, for recipes, all kinds of ideas.  I love Google Reader :)
    • I love books.  I really do.  In college, I used to read at least one a week (wait... those were required books.  Does that count?).  Now, I'm probably closer to one a month for fun and one a quarter for personal or professional improvement.  Rereading this last sentence, I need to up my professional and personal development a little bit, but sometimes those books can be so dry!  My next soap making book will be "Scientific Soapmaking" by Kevin Dunn.  I'm excited to dig into that book.
    • There are in person information sharing networks, too, like classes or networking groups.  I haven't plugged myself into those too much yet - I haven't been looking too actively for soapy friends in my neck of the woods (but if there are any of you out there, we should definitely meet!).  I did start my soap making journey with a local class.  The only attendants were me, my mom, and my best friend.  It really opened my passion for this craft, and I'd love to teach when I can be a better knowledge source for those who want to learn.

    What's your favorite way to educate yourself?  Or do you have a method that I haven't considered above?

    UPDATE:  I forgot to mention TED Talks above.  Man, those are awesome.  I just wish I could find a way to listen to them while in the car - I don't have a way to hook up my iPhone to my car speakers on my 11 year old car.  Here is the article that reminded me about TED Talks.



    1. Really thought-provoking Chrissy, great post! I have never heard of TED Talks, but it looks really interesting, I'll have to dig into it further. One thing I have learned is that sometimes you just have to jump in and try things for yourself, even when someone else says it doesn't work! Can you tell I like to learn things the hard way?!..ha ha!

    2. Thanks Cee! I totally forgot the "learn by trial and error" above :) As you can probably tell, I am definitely a researcher, and I would often prefer to spend time researching others' work than experimenting on my own when I'm first learning... Learning from my mistakes can be tough for me, even though it's usually valuable!

      Regarding TED Talks - you should definitely check it out. They average around 20 minutes, but they are on such thought-provoking topics. On lazy, snowy Sundays like today, I love to lose myself in these ideas that others have had and the possibilities resulting from their research!

    3. I'm usually pretty cautious too Chrissy, I'm trying to learn to be more trial-by-fire :p I'm going to check out the TED talks tomorrow..thanks!

    4. Cee - did you check out any TED talks yet? Here's an interesting one on how language impacts people's propensity to save (through how we think about the future through language):

      It's pretty interesting!


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