The beauty of the internet is its freedom. Everyone with something to say can be heard. If not by the world, then at least by a few more people than they might be able to reach with only their vocal chords (or even a pad and pen). This has helped to usher in the most momentous moment in human history.

Our ability to communicate freely together, without the intrusion of corporate interests trying simultaneously to sell us and censor our press, has played a significant role in speeding up the pace of change in the world. Finding a way for 7 billion people to communicate is no small task and it does present some challenges even as we overcome so many boundaries to become the most connected humans in history.

A favorite refrain of those threatened by the internet (usually at their pocketbooks), is that it is dangerous and unreliable, filled with unscrupulous people spreading lies and misinformation. On any network as immense as the internet, there will be some who negatively exploit the opportunity it provides. The vast majority, though, are people with the best of intentions seeking the truth and speaking from the heart.

Now comes the challenge. With so many well-meaning voices, opinions, stories and thoughts out there, how do we narrow our window onto the world enough to be able to take in the view? It’s very easy to get deafened by the cacophony, give up and reach for the old standbys in defeat. Suddenly you realize that the internet is just another outlet for the same perspectives brought to you by your television, and then what have you really gained?

Lately I’ve been taking advantage of the RSS feed option on many of my favorite info/ news blogs. The fact is, when your interests are diverse and there are a multiplicity of outlets feeding each of those interests, it can be hard to keep up. Having all the most interesting sites appear together on one page goes beyond convenient, it makes it much more likely that you’ll even take the time to check in and bone up on all the new developments in the world. Think of it as your own Huffington Post. On that site, Arianna and her team select the voices for you based on a clear set of ideals. It’s one stop shopping for politics, current events, gossip and more politics. Imagine how much better that could be if you were your own curator. Sounds like a task, but it’s surprisingly simple and the work is done only once for a lifetime of easy access to stuff you’re actually interested in. Google reader is my choice since it’s accessible from my email, but there are many more.

When it’s strictly news I’m after, Twitter has become my go to. Again, it’s like you’re the curator/ editor of your own newspaper. You choose your writers and columnists and then let them fill your screen with all manner of interesting current events. No filler, no advertising, not even too great of an effort to get it up and running. In fact, you don’t even need to bother tweeting yourself to follow along with others. One of my favorite tricks is checking the profiles of the people I’m most interested in to see who they follow and then linking up to the ones that look interesting. This has really opened me to up to all sorts of interesting ideas and idea makers I might never have been exposed to. Needless to say, Twitter works especially well for a short attention span. Just beware of the overly prolific tweeter. Before you know it you need a machete to make it through just one person/ groups posts and all the others get lost in the frustration of having to scroll forever just to find them.

Now if you want things even easier, I recommend the site that I check more than any other. Chris Martenson’s website is so chock full of critical information you could spend days or months there without a second wasted. I highly recommend taking in his vitally important Crash Course in its entirety. This is a presentation he put together over 5 years of extensive research and offers for free to all. A former Pfizer exec living the full American Dream, this man saw the writing on the wall and made some major changes. If his information wasn’t inspiring enough, his example certainly should be.

Beyond the extensive archives and resources, the site has something called the Daily Digest that should be essential reading. Martenson and his team have their finger on the pulse. See for yourself. You can have an email sent with the Digest or hook up to the RSS feed for it. Once you’ve seen a few, you’ll probably want to join Martenson’s very fortunate members and get even closer to the oracle himself. For a small fee your membership will give you access to Martenson’s personal posts and alerts. You’ll never feel more secure in your understanding of the global picture than with this guy whispering in your ear.

So there you have it. This is how I drown out the noise and zero in on the essentials in this vast internet universe. If you value the access and honesty brought to your life by this invaluable tool called the internet, maybe you should join the cause to make sure it stays open and free to everyone. For more on the issue of net neutrality, here’s a great article.

photo from Ad Majorem Blog