discoverI love to discover all that is new and social media, technology-related, relevant.  To stay current today is a challenge to say the least.  Even if you were online 24/7, I think it’s fair to assume you still would only be able to skim the surface. How can you stay as current as you can?

This past weekend I found myself out of town and staying in a hotel down the street from one of those great big Barnes & Noble bookstores which have a tendency to pull you in like a magnet. “I’m going to take a little walk,” I told my family late in the day, even though the forecast was for heavy rain and thunderstorms. “Just need to stretch my legs.” If they suspected, they didn’t let on; they waved goodbye with their noses in books, and laptops balancing on their abdomens. The ultimate destination of my walk would be to the bookstore, to the magazine section, technology and computer books, and then to business.

The thing which was incredibly cool about this adventure was that I made some great discoveries. The first one was a magazine which I’ve never come across before, Website Magazine, The Magazine for Website Success. I was taken in by a couple of the articles in the August issue, in particular to  the reference to the “social-sphere” which is a great term and one which I haven’t used before. I didn’t buy the magazine first time around, even though I was captivated by a few articles, in particular the ones about viral marketing, podcasts and widgets.

By the next morning I decided I needed to return to buy the issue since I had grown quite certain it would serve as great material for a blog post I was thinking about. Wouldn’t you know it, the issue was gone. Removed from the shelves. In it’s place was the September 2009: Special Issue with some other great pieces e.g. Targeted Online Advertising, Top 50-Email Service Providers, and Successful Techniques for Qualified Leads, and more. Meant to be, I told myself as I followed the trail to the cash register.

Then, to make the trip even more worthwhile I stumbled-upon a table in the front of the store marked, Social Media. On the table were a few books I recently read and written about, The Facebook Era, Social Media Marketing, The Twitter Book. There were also two great finds on the table, I hadn’t come across before, All a Twitter: A Personal and Professional Guide to Social Networking with Twitter and Facebook Marketing: Leverage Social Media to Grow Your Business.  I couldn’t resist to use the new app I had recently downloaded from the App Store, Snaptell, which gave me the ability to take pictures of the books. Whereas I usually jot down the title, author and publisher of a book in my little moleskin journal, now I have a small thumbnail, with the titles, and a list of vendors, prices and links to Web sites where I can be sure to find the books when I’m ready to purchase them.

To stay current in the online world, you also have to be active in the offline world, and willing to peruse the shelves and aisles of bookstores and libraries. Online, one must stay vigilant and read through the google alerts and rss feeds you’ve subscribed to. Read, write and search. Stay ahead of the curve. Join in and participate. Share the wealth, spread the word.

Tell us what you’re reading and more importantly, how you discovered it.

photo credit: safaris photostream, flickr