I often tell my students that information is power. Some people approach information power by hoarding information and keeping it to themselves. Others employ information power by oversharing and proving their worth through the vast amounts of information they share. Hoarders gather information and stockpile it within, while oversharers disperse information and keep it flowing out.
Neither of these creates influence.
In a saturated, media-rich environment, hoarders and oversharers can both find strong footholds. But, I think real influence comes from the work of curation.
Influencers are those who can gather, curate, and share information wisely, and with purpose. In so doing, they take information power and transition it into referent power — the power that comes through a network of connection.
In the spirit of sharing information, here are three sources I follow that provide me with daily information, shape my thinking on current events, and at, the very least, make me mildly more interesting at parties.
Creator: Roman Mars
About 99pi: 99% Invisible is a podcast and blog that explores hidden design in the world around us. Mars and his team explore the ways that architecture, language, design, and geography shape the experiences that we have in the world. Each episode is at once a
exposition of history and a commentary on our present.
Why I follow this site: As a researcher of space and place, I enjoy thinking about the way our environment means. By this, I mean that the places we inhabit were designed and constructed in specific ways both intentional and unintentional. 99pi uncovers the design behind the places and spaces we encounter to lift the veil on the ways that meaning is created, distributed, and built in the world around us. Some of my all-time favorite episodes remain some of those created in the early days: Queue Theory & Design; U.T.B.A.P.H. (Used-to-Be-A-Pizza-Hut); and Busta Rhymes Island. Even after all these years, 99pi remains an artfully created and beautifully produced podcast with broad appeal.
Creator: Alex Goh, Hills Creative Arts
About Taxi: DesignTaxi publishes short daily articles of interest to the creative community worldwide. Based in Singapore, the site mines information from around the world and curates it for the design community. From pop culture and mobile apps to new hardware and PhotoShop hacks, this site has new items of interest everyday.
Why I follow this site: I started following DesignTaxi back in the mid 2000’s by subscribing to the site’s newsletter. Everyday, I look at the headlines, and (almost) every day, something catches my eye that applies to the work I do. For a decade and a half DesignTaxi has alerted me to the next generation of Apple products, the latest Star Wars news, the design world’s responses to current events and pop culture, and the legal and ethical considerations creatives should consider.
Social Media + Society
A Sage Journal. Editor: Zizi Papacharissi
About SM+S: Social Media + Society is an academic journal developed to chronicle the impact of social and participatory media on human societies.
Why I follow this site: SM+S is creating an academic conversation on the study of digital technology and human interaction, and it is currently the leading voice in that discussion. The articles are released regularly and are free to read and download, and more importantly, the quality of writing and thought is superb. The academic conversation being created in this journal is commendable. My suggestion is for new readers to browse the articles and read further those articles that connect to their specific interests.
Of course, these aren’t the only sources for my work here. Check out some of the following for further reading: