One of the things that surprised me most when I started writing Mix It Up was just how much information is out there. I have always thought of myself as a fairly well-read individual, but I have on occasion lost hours to fascinating new information while researching for blog articles. Learning something new every day is one of the easiest ways to mix it up and to fight off the effects of aging on our brains, but there are two major problems many people face when seeking something new to learn:
1. Sheer volume of information. The Seattle Public Library system has a collection of around 2 million items, including books, audio books, CDs, magazines, and more. The internet has…lots more. How do you know where to start?
2. Filtering for relevance. Even when you know where you want to start, where do you find the sources of information relevant to the subject you have interest in? Even going to the proper section of the library or effectively utilizing a search engine can still turn up some very out of context sources.
A fun and unusual way to reduce the volume of information and have someone else filter for you is to subscribe to a news feed online. Essentially, it's like reading a newspaper filled only with subjects of interest to you -- or better yet, subjects you don't know much about, and hope will be of interest! You get to pick the keywords that the news feed will filter for, and then only articles containing those keywords will be pulled. Very specific keywords ("Chicago art museums," "Ricky Martin") will return fewer articles with higher relevancy; whereas less specific keywords ("art," "musicians") will return many more articles with a lower likelihood of relevancy (which can often be fun too).
There are many news feeds available, but I'll use Google News as an example of how to set one up. Head to Google and click on News in the top left. Click on the search box at the top of the page and enter your keyword(s), then click "Search News." If you like the type of articles your search returned, scroll to the bottom of the page and click "Create an email alert for [keyword]." Then set your preferences in the box to the right, and click "Create Alert." This will send alerts to your email every time there is an article published containing your keywords. Now you can mix it up and learn something new every day!