Friday, February 13, 2009

RSS vs Twitter

I have been a huge proponent of NetVibes and start pages in general. RSS has such potential, I still evangelize to friends on the benefits of creating a start page and monitoring their favourite sites. The ability to aggregate great content and not have to actively find it is great. It's basically putting a filter on the web. Sure some articles will lead to others but for the most part I have a "manageable" container of key information.

The manageable concept is a tricky one. As I come across new sites and blogs, I add feeds while deleting few. I find myself now with 9 pages with 12+ feeds per page. There is a lot of great content. The idea of important vs urgent is different in my surfing. A lot of surfing is about staying current. Sticking to the same RSS feeds will keep me current on the topics of my chosen sites but not at a larger view. I as a person look to adapt and stay current. Feeds typically stay focussed on their niches.

Twitter provides a very current view. The noise factor is extremely high on twitter but newer tools like tweetdeck are allowing grouping and filtering to reduce the noise while still bringing current content to the forefront. More and more I rely on my twitter feed for content. People whose blogs I read are a good start, especially those that link. Tracking trends on twitter is fantastic. Many media outlets have multiple twitter feeds which are glorified repeaters of their RSS feed.

Does this mean that twitter will spell the end of RSS. I don't think so, just as RSS hasn't really gone mainstream yet, neither has twitter. Twitter with a more IM feel has a better anchor to draw people in, but RSS still provides a base location for people to find information. Every blogging service / CMS would need to build a direct twitter publishing service without RSS. RSS could become just the middle layer for twitter.

At least until Facebook or Google use their existing offerings to get into micro-blogging...

Continual progression towards automation

Every time you repeat a task, make progress on automating it. It doesn’t have to be big… It just has to be progress
I came across this from one of my favourite twitter feeds venturehacks. Pointing to this article on Emergent Properties of Continuous Automation . There are so many mundane tasks that I have great ideas towards automating and making more efficient. Typically my great ideas require a lot of effort. A more incremental approach could diminish the pain each iteration.

The big point is that it's not a big massively funded project. It's not some impressive consultant it's a mindset a change in your culture. Not easy to do, but immensely rewarding.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Internet Vs. Recession

Keeping up-to-date with the news these days is great way to get depressed. Each day multiple companies are announcing layoffs in the Thousands. The leading indicator - the stock market appears to have settled down but it still takes hits when a few pieces of bad economic news comes out on the same day.

The comparisons between now and previous downturns are relentless. There is one difference. The internet has flattened the world in many ways, both good and bad. News spreads much faster today, and unfortunately bad news trumps good (if it bleeds it leads). We are much more exposed to more negativity than generations before. The economy has been largely quoted as an issue of confidence. With the increase in communication and transparency the economy can suffer much more, much quicker. In a smaller sense the continuous bombardment of bad news can hurt the individual psyche as well. Too much info in dark times can be very painful.

I don't think all is lost. In the same way the internet depresses us quicker, I think it can aid in a quicker recovery as well. Much more meta-discussion and echo points exist due to the internet. Despite our love of bad news we are hopeful and optmistic news can resonate well on the internet. Looking again at the individuals job losses can be an incredibly isolating and lonely event. Having mediums like social networks can do wonders to lift people back up and help them feel connected and optimistic. We're all in this together. Despite the epic lows we seem to be in I think the internet age will change the way the world deals with the ups and downs. We have suffered a very bad blow but together we can recover much faster.

Related Links:
WSJ - Job Loss in the Age of Blogs and Twitter