October 01, 2008

Top Resources to Help Stay Informed In a Crazy World

By Mona Nomura of Pixel Bits (FriendFeed/Twitter)

I completely suck at numbers. I could give a crap about the stock market. I tune out politics since I'm sick and tired of the same old rhetoric. And if you're like me, you most likely skip over all the panicked headlines about how the $700 billion bailout got kicked from Congress.

I mean really - why would all this junk be relevant to regular people like us? The headlines are too damn depressing and most importantly - we don't have power, money or stature for any of this to really matter anyway - right? Wrong.

Listen to me, you guys: Now is not the time to tune things out.

Why is this important for people like us? Because well... I kinda sorta wanna know if I should close all my bank accounts and hide the cash under my mattress - don't you? It's also ... uhhh... election year, too. And as much as I want to turn the other way, this time, I can't. All the signs are pointing to: our country is in deep s--t.

I'm not sure if you've noticed, but the rest of America doesn't seem like they know what's going on either. Just ask someone to explain the stipulations of the 110-page bailout and how/what we (Americans) need to do to protect ourselves moving forward. Or the presidential candidates' action plans to rectify this economical disaster. I guarantee not everyone can - regardless of who they are or what their pedigrees are.

So you see, now is the time - moreso than ever, that we the regular people, need to come together. And if enough of us get together, our voices WILL matter. How do we do that? It's all about information.

Yes, I know reading the headlines is depressing, but educating ourselves so we're aware of the current happenings is a must; so we can get involved to make differences. How do we get involved? Well that's up to you - the reader to decide.

But what I CAN do for you, is provide resources to keep and stay informed. Hubs, if you will, so you don't have to dig through and search to stay involved. Please remember, to take account all sides, know your options, and if and when action is called - don't hesitate and go for it. Whether it be by voting, informing people around you, or just informing yourself, knowing and keeping up with the current situation means you have power to decide what to do with the knowledge.

So without further ado, I present to you:
"Mona's Top 5 Resources to Stay "Smart" - the Lazy Way"
  1. NPR's Planet Money:
    NPR tags all articles pertaining to the financial crisis. It's just one click, and it pulls up all recent articles. The layout is easy on the eyes and there's no hunting or pecking through a mountain of pages to stay up to date.

  2. Google News: Top Stories:
    I prefer Google News over Yahoo News because it's
    • Customizable
    • I can personalize it
    • Easy on the eyes
    All the top headline news from various sources are aggregated there. Pretty neat.

  3. Harvard Business Online's Guide to the Downturn:
    A bunch of articles from really super smart people that are free. Plus the layout is nice, easy on the eyes, and surprisingly, the information is relevant to normal people, too. Don't be fooled, go check it out. Even if you think it's irrelevant, you can namedrop like I do. "OH YEAH? Bet you don't know what HARVARD professors are saying!" - or something close to that. ha!

  4. Google Power Readers:
    Explore news sites read by McCain, Obama and political journalists, and see articles the campaigns and political pundits are sharing with Google Reader. What's better than knowing what they're reading and sharing!

  5. Aggregation Sites like FriendFeed
    Since signing up for FriendFeed, I've been exposed to a lot of new blogs, different views, from so many different sources. The best part is, you can see what others are sharing, and choose if you want to read it or not. If you see the same headline shared by numerous people, it's a sign telling you: "READ IT, STAT!"
That about wraps it up. I hope this can help you, as much as it's helped me.

And remember, this is an election year. Our economical and country's future is dependent on us - We the people.

Update: Head on over to Scripting News. Dave Winer has a great write-up: "The US Economy After Katrina".

Read more by Mona Nomura at Pixel Bits.