Reading blogs that provide instantaneous information makes me feel like I am way ahead of the curve, especially in technology, but not necessarily just in technology.
Case-in-point: I was watching the 60 Minutes story on Google this past Sunday. For some reason -- it seems silly now -- I was expecting to get some sort of new information out of the program; I got nothing new at all! I had already read about everything 60 Minutes was reporting on in blogs, and not only had I read it, but I read it a long time ago. Here were the key points in the story:
- Information about the founders. Already read all about them in the blogosphere, including the fact that one of them is into acrobatics.
- Information about Google's standard internet search product. Read about it a long time ago and use it every day.
- Information about AdWords. Seems like the big controversy about people putting AdWords into their blogs happened 6 or 8 months ago (I can't remember). I do remember reading about the whole business model of AdWords in blog posts.
- Google Desktop Search. Revealed as "new" and "a challenge to Microsoft," I think I found out about it via a blog and downloaded it the first day it was available. Seems like Google Desktop Search has been out for quite a long time.
- Separating search from the computer. I've been using the Google SMS service to 46645 (that's GOOGL on your phone keypad) for quite some time and it seems like that's been out forever as well.
End result of all this? 60 Minutes is no longer cutting edge to me. Whereas a lot of the information that 60 Minutes presented to me was compelling and made me watch, I already know a lot of what they are talking about. Another example from last week's show was "The World's Most Beautiful Woman," Aishwarya Rai -- already read about her in a blog post somewhere. I find the same result when watching the evening news; I've simply already found out about a lot of the stuff; usually I tune into Fox at 9:15PM MST because that's when I can get the most up-to-date weather and skip the rest of the news.
The nice part about knowing a lot of information before it becomes "public" (by "public," I guess I mean released outside of the blogosphere) is that I always have something new and exciting to talk about. Additionally, all of us blog authors like to throw in our opinions about subjects, so I usually have a fair amount of insight into several sides of an issue and can bring up points in conversation based on what I may have read on someone else's blog.
My blogroll is focused on business and technology, however, just like a college education, I read enough general blogs to make sure that I am getting a well-rounded view of the world. I highly reccommend reading posts from multiple blogs every day; where it used to take me almost a hour to read all of the blog RSS feeds I subscribe to, I can now breeze through it (and I do suggest using a RSS aggregator, or it will take you a long time).
A lot of tech folks that I know have a hard time with small talk. Well, tech folks, chances are that you are reading blogs and listening to podcasts. Broaden the scope of what you read and listen to and let the technology deliver conversation starters to you.