If I asked ten people what is relevant information I would get 10 different answers. That is because what is relevant to each of us at any given time will be unique to the individual. We may care about the same topic such as a possible acquisition of a large company by a competitor, but I may be concerned with the product availability implications and you might be looking into the economic effects of the area surrounding the acquired business. Just type the company name into a search engine and you will find a lot of information but much of it might not be relevant to you. You might as well grab a cup of coffee and settle down for some serious research or you can take your search to the next level to find relevancy.
Imagine a high-wire walker. Precariously balanced on a steel cable dozens, perhaps hundreds of feet above the ground, they make forward progress in a calm, deliberate manner. If they lean too far to one side – disaster. Too far to the other side – disaster.
While balancing your content needs is not a life-or-death situation, making sure your company has access to the best content possible can nonetheless be mission critical and make sense of budget constraints.
On one side of this issue you have the social media fire hose. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram – and more – in a wide-open, never-ending stream of data. The information comes in too rapidly for most people to follow; not only do they have other things to accomplish, but being constantly pummeled with information quickly becomes exhausting. It may be free and easily accessible, but it can be difficult (at best) to use effectively.
On the other side, you have human-curated content. This will always be the most expensive solution, but its greatest upside is the hands-on approach that gets you only the most very specific data you’ve asked for. The downside here can be that without a wider view, you’ll only ever get exactly what you ask for, and there’s no randomness to the stream of data that might clue you in to something just outside the mainstream that’s breaking in your industry.
Balance, then, is finding the path between these two extremes that is both cost-efficient and highly insightful.