Are You a Learning Addict?

by Jami Gold on April 14, 2011

in Over-Achieving Perfectionist

Classroom

Old-fashioned school desks squeak, their occupants leaning for a better view.  Dust motes hang suspended in the sunbeams from the classroom windows, as though they stilled, waiting for the confession.  I stand before the group and gather my courage.

“My name is Jami Gold and I am a learning addict.”

As my posts about learning curves and being teachable make abundantly clear, I love learning.   I love being challenged and pushing myself.  Learning, adapting, evolving—it’s a great way to feel alive.

So I constantly look for new things to learn.  It’s not unusual for me to have four different web browsers open.  Yes, that means I have Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Opera all open at the same time.  And I typically have 150-200 tabs open in Firefox at once.  (Who needs 3D real-time games to push their computer to the edge?  Not me.)

At least three-quarters of those tabs are articles or websites about writing.  Those posts I find really interesting I share with my followers on Twitter.  Those that inspire me to write more than a sentence or two I share with you here in a blog post.

In other words, I’m all about the sharing.  I figure if I find something interesting, informative, or enjoyable, my friends will too.  Because of that, I’ve often considered adding a round-up of the week’s best links to my blog.

Then my practical side kicks in.  How would I keep track of all the links I share during the week to summarize the best?  Those of you who follow me on Twitter know I share a lot of links.

Luckily, I recently discovered an awesome tool called trunk.ly.  [Edited to add: Trunk.ly has since been acquired by Delicious and all links in this post have been switched to Delicious.]  Trunk.ly scans my blog and Twitter feed and creates a link-only list.  It collects links for every website or blog I reference in my posts, as well as for every one of my tweets that include a link.

Trunk.ly can also scan Facebook, Tumblr, or Instapaper.  You can even put a button on your browser window to save a link to trunk.ly, just like saving a bookmark.

If you aren’t currently thinking “Cool,” let me explain the awesomeness of this tool with four words: The list is searchable.

If you can’t find the link to something you know I tweeted about, check out my trunk.ly list.  My most recent tweets-with-links are at the top of the list.  Looking for something less recent?  Search for it by any of the words in the tweet or by #hashtag.

I’m now looking at my overwhelming bookmark folders on Firefox (which aren’t searchable) and thinking that this will make it easier for me to find stuff again.  Forget trying to find a specific page in that mess, I’ll just search my trunk.ly list for whatever I’m looking for.  As trunk.ly says on their About page, it “builds a personal search engine, so you never have to tag or describe a link again, you just search and Trunk.ly will find it again for you.”

I love Elizabeth Spann Craig’s Writer Knowledge Base, which is a writer-specific search engine.  She tweets great links for writers every day and captures them in her WKB searchable database.

Trunk.ly is like a do-it-yourself version of that concept.  If you sign up for trunk.ly, not only will you start your own personal search engine, but you can also follow someone else’s list and never miss any link they share again.

The best part?  I don’t have to do anything to add to my list.  When I tweet a link, that tweet is automagically copied to my trunk.ly list.  In addition, now I have a list of everything I linked to during the past week, so if I ever wanted to start a “best links of the week” post, I have a handy reference.

Now are you with me on the coolness?

Are you a learning addict?  How do you handle your addiction?  Workshops?  Books?  Internet research?  Do you use trunk.ly?  Does this sound like an interesting tool?  Do you have any tools you recommend?

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42 Comments below - Time to Add your own.

Amber Keller April 14, 2011 at 5:50 am

I am a learning addict!!! I have called myself the “eternal student” many times, and my hubby lovingly jokes that I would be a career student, if only I could. I will be checking out trunk.ly. Elizabeth’s links do end up in my favorite’s often, especially when I don’t have time to read them immediately.

Right now I’m satisfying my needs with numerous workshops, books, and exhausting Internet research. Joining social groups, crit groups, yloops, oh, you know, pretty much anything I can get my mouse around. 🙂

You’ve just given me another item to research, so off I go! And thank you for enabling my “problem”. 🙂

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Jami Gold April 14, 2011 at 8:23 am

Hi Amber,

LOL! Oh yes, you’ve got the addiction bad. *sheepish look* I guess I am an enabler, eh? 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

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Elena April 14, 2011 at 5:59 am

trunk.ly sounds interesting. I love that these days we need websites to manage other websites : )

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Jami Gold April 14, 2011 at 8:26 am

Hi Elena,

…we need websites to manage other websites” LOL! Yes, that thought had occurred to me too. What a ridiculous society we are sometimes. 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

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Laura Pauling April 14, 2011 at 6:00 am

HI Jaime,
I totally understand. I’m addicted to growing in my craft and learning to apply it to my work. The posts on writing on my blog are not me trying to tell everyone what to do – it’s me processing everything I’m learning!

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Jami Gold April 14, 2011 at 8:30 am

Hi Laura,

The posts on writing on my blog are not me trying to tell everyone what to do – it’s me processing everything I’m learning!

Yes, exactly! I don’t claim to have all the answers. I just share what I’ve learned or discovered. And as I said in my earlier post about how I changed my mind when it came to learning curves, I’m wrong sometimes. 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

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Lisa Gail Green April 14, 2011 at 8:44 am

That sounds like an AWESOME tool! I’ll have to check out how to use it. I often get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information floating around in cyberspace. But I love going through it! I need to be careful though, I have to make sure I have enough time to actually write. 😀 BTW love the word: automagically!!

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Jami Gold April 14, 2011 at 8:58 am

Hi Lisa,

Yes, the amount of information is overwhelming sometimes, and it’s very easy to get wrapped up in learning all day and get no writing done. Been there, done that. 🙂 Every day or week, I have to re-evaluate my progress in different areas and see if I’m balancing things the right way. Thanks for the comment!

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Bluestocking April 14, 2011 at 9:07 am

I’ve never heard of this! When Elizabeth Craig started the WKD, I was surprised there wasn’t an easier way to capture all that content without a computer programmer. I have a complicated system of Firefox bookmarks with all my reference stuff, but trunk.ly sounds really helpful.

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Jami Gold April 14, 2011 at 9:12 am

Hi Bluestocking,

I believe trunk.ly went live around the beginning of the year, so they’re very new. And I still use Elizabeth’s WKB all the time to discover new things. I see myself using trunk.ly more for organizing things that I’ve already discovered and can’t find anymore. 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

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Scott Alumbaugh April 14, 2011 at 10:56 am

Interesting tool. Thanks for the tip. Organization is one thing, but searchability is key. I’ve signed up and added some links, so we’ll see if I actually use them.

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Jami Gold April 14, 2011 at 10:58 am

Hi Scott,

Yes, I’d tried saving some of my favorite links to StumbleUpon, but like you said, it’s the searchability that makes this great. Thanks for the comment!

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Irene Vernardis April 14, 2011 at 1:04 pm

I admit, I’m a learning junkie, since I was like 3 years old. People have sufferred at my constant questions “what is that?” “how do you do that?” etc. I’m new to twitter, two weeks only, and I’m already spending too much time on reading articles, posts, comments etc. on writing alone. Not to say about anything else, business, astronomy, genetics, whatever subject, you name it 😀 I feel like I need a 48 hours day at least. And yes, for the last days, not much writing at all.

Thank you for your post and info

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Jami Gold April 14, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Hi Irene,

Welcome to the insanity. 🙂 I think it’s worth it though to keep getting better, but another 48 hours in a day would be awesome. Thanks for the comment!

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Murphy April 14, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Sometimes you don’t have to read a blog post to learn something new. Life can be funny that way. Just saying…

Murphy

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Jami Gold April 14, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Hi Murphy,

Well, I should hope that you know me well enough to anticipate my answer to the blog title question. 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

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Charissa Weaks April 14, 2011 at 6:47 pm

I am a learning addict as well. I’m always afraid I am going to miss something, so I inhale whatever useful information I can and I blog about what I’ve learned all the time. And…I have just started working on improving my Writer Resources Page…maybe I need to check out Trunk.ly. But…Jami, you may be the queen of all of us addicts. 150-200 Tabs open at one time????!!! I spaz out after about 8. No intervention is necessary however because your obsession has turned you into a wealth of information on which many of us depend, so, keep at it. And thanks for being such a resource!

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Jami Gold April 14, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Hi Charissa,

LOL! It’s a good thing you deem me as not needing an intervention because I’m a hopeless case. 🙂 And thank you for your kind words and comment!

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Ashley Graham April 14, 2011 at 6:53 pm

150-200 tabs open at once??? Does your computer crash on a regular basis? How do you keep from going insane? I get stressed out when I have 5 or more open at once, LOL.

Thanks for the site recommendation! Seems like it’ll be very helpful. I’m checking it out now!

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Jami Gold April 14, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Hi Ashley,

LOL! Who says I’m not insane? And no, my computer doesn’t crash…usually. *knock on wood* I have a very beefy computer. However, Firefox is another matter. For some reason it doesn’t like me. I have no idea why. *whistles innocently* Thanks for the comment!

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CMStewart April 14, 2011 at 6:58 pm

OK you talked me into it. I will check out a trunk.ly. Thank you for the tip. 🙂

From one learning addict to another, Jami- you are Gold! (Heard that one lately? lol)

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Jami Gold April 14, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Hi CM,

Hee. Hmm, yes, I have, as a matter of fact. But you know, that’s one of those jokes that doesn’t get old. 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

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Alina April 14, 2011 at 7:00 pm

I am such a learning junky! And this sounds like the perfect tool for me. I research so many things I’m interested in trying but unless I do them immediately I can never remember how. 😛 Then, finding the most helpful websites again when I’m ready is a chore. So, I’m all over this! 🙂

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Jami Gold April 14, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Hi Alina,

I hope this helps enable your addiction. (Oo, now I’m a pusher too. LOL!) Thanks for the comment!

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Kerry Meacham April 15, 2011 at 4:06 am

This sounds like a really cool way to organize your world of online links Jami. I’ll have to check it out.

One of the things I’ve found about writing is that there is so much to learn. It can take almost all your time and there’s no time for the actual writing. Reading novels is also learning. So I’m reading about writing from NF books, reading about writing from fiction, researching information for my books, going to conferences, working with an online class, attending critique groups, reading blogs, links, and tweets about the best place to get more information, …….the list is almost endless. Oh yeah, and then to find time to write. Okay, after reading the above list, all of which I do, I realize something.

Stands at podium, “My name is Kerry, and I’m a learning addict.”

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Jami Gold April 15, 2011 at 8:07 am

Hi Kerry,

*shakes hand* Welcome to the club. 🙂

You’re right. The list seems endless. But the other thing to remember from my post about learning curves is that our learning doesn’t end. That’s good news – because now we know we can take our time learning and balance it with the actual writing. Hmm, I sense an idea for another blog post coming on. 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

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Gene Lempp April 15, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Awesome Jami! Just had a friend ask me this week if there was something that does exactly what trunk.ly does. I’ll be sure to pass this on to them! You’re the best, keep sharing 🙂

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Jami Gold April 15, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Hi Gene,

Thanks! I so happy I could help. 🙂

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PW Creighton April 15, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Thanks Jami, I never even heard of this tool before. It a very nifty analysis tool for social media SEO. Great find!

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Jami Gold April 15, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Hi PW,

Yes, trunk.ly is very new. Just a few months old, so you can impress everyone with being ahead of the curve on this one. 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

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Todd Moody April 16, 2011 at 6:48 pm

I hope I never want to stop learning. I’ll have to check out Trunk.ly it sounds like its full of awesome, like your posts!

=)

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Jami Gold April 16, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Hi Todd,

Aww, thanks! Earlier today I was thinking that I should have passed on a link to my dad, and then I realized, “Oh, I tweeted it. No problem then. I’ll be able to find it again.” 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

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M.E. Anders April 18, 2011 at 4:10 pm

I’m fired up about this trunk.ly site! Yes – I am a learning addict…you’ll see a stack of magazines, books, and journals stacked neatly by topic near my dining room table and nightstand. 🙂

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Jami Gold April 18, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Hi M.E.,

Yay! More members for the club. 🙂 Hope it works well for you. Thanks for the comment!

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Laura Ramirez February 21, 2013 at 9:20 am

Since you confessed, I’ll confess too: I’m a learning addict. I want to buy almost every online learning program that is sent my way. I am the customer avatar that internet marketers dream of.

Since I’ve realized this, I’m making a public commitment to finishing up the few programs I’m enrolled in and will not sign up for anything else, until I’ve finished 4 book projects.

The ideas just keep coming and if I’m spending more time learning new things than I am getting my ideas into print, then it’s time for some discernment.

Thanks for link organization tool.

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Jami Gold February 21, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Hi Laura,

Exactly! The learning curve never stops (mantra: it’s a journey, not a destination), so we have to make time for writing too. 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

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