Truth time: I had to go to speed-reading classes while in High School. After one particularly low score in the ACT reading section, my parents decided that with the help of a tutor, I could learn the “art” of reading faster. Forever the slow reader, I always took my time reading through any text. I assumed, at the time, that this would be the most efficient way to understand any text. Oh how I was wrong.

Truth time number two: speed-reading classes don’t teach you how to read faster, they just teach you how to skim-read. While I can thank my speed-reading tutor for successfully helping me in raising my ACT score, the skim-reading technique that I ended up mastering has left a more lasting impression than anything else. Skim-reading, and the act of rapidly moving your eyes over text with the purpose of getting only the main ideas and general overview of the content, has also secretly been adopted by the World Wide Web as the go-to way of processing information.

Whether it’s the difficulty of continuously looking at a screen, or the overload of information, reading online has been adapted to the art of reading only for clue words – hence the abundance of bullet point articles that are so common these days. However, even though we are now in our 26th year of Internet use, the tech world is still perfecting different tools that will not only help us consume and digest information faster, but make us smarter in the process.


SparkCBC, flickr:

So How Do We Stay Away from Information Overload? ORGANIZE & ANNOTATE

Let’s once again go back to High School for a second. Remember how studying became a perfected art form? Whether you only got A’s or you only got D’s, everyone learned the best way to cram information in a short amount of time. Well the tech world has essentially taken the two most recognizable studying techniques, organization and annotation, and applied them as tactics to help us deal with information overload.

Cronycle, for example, is a content discovery and collaboration platform where professionals can discover, share, and annotate the most relevant articles or documents for ultimate brainstorming. Cronycle takes the noise of mass media and provides users with only the content that matters to them most. With its powerful search filtering, users can create highly customizable feeds that deliver exactly what they’re looking for. Once users find articles they want, they can share it with their team on different boards.

However, one of the most unique aspects of Cronycle is its dedication to collaboration and its ability to compliment work-teams. With Cronycle, team members can then add articles, annotate, and highlight relevant information on articles pinned on these boards without having to leave the platform for joint work efforts. Articles that are engaged with most by the team (by annotating, sharing, upvoting) will be seen first by users, providing another layer of knowledge to team members. Ultimately, Cronycle is a great way to keep on tabs with all the news happening in the world.

Genius is another startup that wants to bring the ability to annotate any page on the Internet to life. What started out as Rap Genius in 2009, the startup built an amazing community for breaking down the meaning of anything anyone was reading line-by-line, whether it’s Yeezus or Shakespeare. Now, as it transitions away from song lyrics with the help of a Genius Web Annotator – installed with either a Chrome extension or Bookmarklet, it’s possible to add context, commentary, and images directly on top of any web page using only the browser.

So whether with Cronycle or Genius, you no longer need to fear information overload on the internet – annotating has your back!