We recently saw a tweet come across our learning lab that read, "Reading one good books makes you a lot smarter than skimming over 3,000 RSS feeds. (via @gapingvoid)."
While on the surface this comment makes logical sense and rings true to everything we have always been taught. Beware! Things are changing. Books are by no means the only source of credible information anymore. Relevant and proven learning fragments can also be accessed online. And RSS feeds are just one learning strategy you can engage to make that information come to you.
So, in answer to this tweet we simply state, it depends.
If the book you are reading provides all the answers you are seeking around a specific topic, then yes it can be better than skimming 3,000 random RSS feeds. However, if you utilize the power of RSS feeds correctly you could have pertinent information pushed to you that is not only on topic but dynamic as well. In other words, once a book is published it can no longer add new and updated data to its pages. But, a research site that has just published a new ground breaking study can send you new and updated data on that topic immediately. (In this example, the combination of both the book and RSS feeds could be an ideal approach to learning something new.)
Keep in mind that just because we have traditionally been conditioned to believe that experts in a field write books, therefore books have all the answers, doesn't mean that experts don't also write blogs, add to communities, and generally contribute to the Learning Explosion taking place online. (Which can then be pushed to you automatically via RSS feeds.) Read more about why we believe "the community" is becoming the new expert.
So, if you really want to learn something new, keep on reading good books, but also utilize the many online tools so that you can take advantage of the immense knowledge base available to you.