Know Who to Follow
In every profession, there is a group of people that contribute massively to move that profession forward. We have many of these people, some on the technology-specific side and others on the more generic, conceptual, and behavioral side. They are all important, so know who these people are. That helps us to filter the information we have online or in physical books. For example, if we work with Java or Ruby, we should know who publishes the best material on it. We should know who is helping the language to move forward or defining better ways to use it. We should know who the people reshaping our industry are. When we hear terms like Agile and Software Craftsmanship, we should try to discover who the people behind these ideas are. Look at their history. See what they’ve published. Try to understand where they got their inspiration or what they are basing their ideas on. We may discover that many of the things we talk about today go back a few decades.
Learn how to use Twitter. Used wisely, Twitter can be a great tool for information gathering. Following the people described above and other fellow developers can be one of the best ways to keep ourselves up to date. Whenever someone publishes a blog post, they will tweet the link. Whenever someone finds some interesting material, they will also tweet the links. Sometimes we can follow quite a few interesting online conversations and that may be a good opportunity to join in.