This seems like an odd quote from a man who spent much of his life as a newspaper journalist, but there is a decent amount of truth to it. In the 1800’s, people had few sources of information available, one or two newspapers if they were lucky. In the year 2012 our choices are literally infinite. The problem we face today is how to sort through all the noise and find the information we want.
News and information comes in many forms; Dairy, industry, local, political, sports, etc, and there are many different tools available to access it. News apps generally break down into two categories, specialized and aggregated.
Specialized news apps are usually produced by the publisher, are feature rich and contain in-depth content. The Fox News app for iPad and The New York Times for Android are examples. I use specialized apps for local news and market information. I use the Fresno Bee app for Fresno State Football news, obituaries, and local stories of interest. Dairy Market Central and Dairy Source are two excellent apps for dairy specific news, CME market data, weather, and more.
News aggregators are a way to pull information from many different sources into one place. My favorite news aggregator for mobile devices is Flipboard. Flipboard uses Twitter and other social media sources for all its content. For this article I will focus on Twitter. Twitter users post links to news stories, Flipboard follows those links and brings the stories back to you. You simply flip through the articles like a magazine until you find something of interest.
Within Flipboard you can easily search for and subscribe to Twitter feeds from a variety of news organizations like @CNN (Note: The @ sign denotes a Twitter address), @USAToday and @ESPN, and specialized publications like @DairyToday and @FarmJournal. You can even subscribe to individuals like @DairyDino (That’s me, by the way).
Some individuals and organizations perform the role of news curators. These people search the Internet for news they think is relevant to their audience. Many state (@CAFarmBureau) and county (@kingsfarmbureau) Farm Bureaus tweet news articles as well as dairy trade groups like Western United Dairymen (@WUDnews).
In addition to subscribing to individual Twitter feeds, Flipboard allows you to follow Twitter lists, groups of Twitter feeds created by you or others. Typically these lists match up people posting similar content. A popular list is @FollowFarmer/ag-journalism, which contains a group of 115 Ag journalists. I just created @DairyDino/FarmJournalMedia, a list with all of Farm Journal publication’s feeds. You can create your own custom lists, however, you must make these lists on Twitter, not in Flipboard. Probably best of all, Flipboard makes it easy to share articles with people who have similar interests than you.
If Mark Twain were alive today, I’m not sure he’d have good things to say about the bias of modern media, but with easy access to so much information Mr. Twain would certainly be well informed, and thanks to Flipboard, you can be too.
Flipboard offers a third option for subscribing to content, searches. From within Flipboard you can search for keywords such as “Dairy”, “Cow”, or “Milk” and Flipboard will query several sources including Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Youtube, and Instagram.