Archive for the ‘blogging’ Category
My guestblogging stint at BoingBoing ended a few weeks ago, but they’re allowing me to stay on and contribute regularly. So far I’ve showcased the silly, but I’ll also be covering Real Stuff. Much more to come, I hope. I’m also blogging occasionally for my job and will continue to do so as much as I can. Some examples: When Storytelling Isn’t Enough, a conference report, and When The Longtime Star Fades, a fictional case study that appeared in the September HBR. The latter includes what is, to my knowledge, the only reference to A Flock of Seagulls in the history of Harvard Business Review.
I hope to write more, everywhere, including here (thanks, Shayne, for the nudge to come back). Why? For a selfish reason, I think. As with exercise, another habit I haven’t developed as much as I should, I feel better on the days that I write than on the days that I don’t. So I’ll keep writing.
Yeah, I know, not a lot compared to last time. But I’ll have plenty more next week. In particular, I’m curious what BoingBoing readers will make of my day job.
It was a thrill contributing to BoingBoing, but now it’s time to return to real life. I’ve linked to my first week’s posts already. Here’s Week Two, in reverse chronological order:
Did Charley Patton play that way? (this one in particular had great comments)
For those of you who had better things to do the past week than follow my posts on Boing Boing, here they are, in reverse chronological order:
I’m thrilled to report that I’ll be guestblogging on BoingBoing, one of my all-time favorite websites, during the first two weeks of March. In the guidelines, I’ve been told “We don’t allow nudity in the images, except under special circumstances.” Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. Internet peoples, you have been warned.
And now, part of a conversation, guaranteed repeated verbatim:
Lydia: What’s BoingBoing?
Jimmy: A site where interesting people write about interesting things.
Lydia: But you’re not interesting.
We’ll see. I have a month to prepare.
Two questions for the proprieter:
Where ya been?
As promised, I took off a month from this blog and the assorted Twittering and Facebooking. I wasn’t quite tanned, rested, and ready after the month, but I think I may have learned a few things.
Repeat: where ya been? You said you were going to be gone for November and it’s halfway through December.
Oh, that. Well, right after I came back I got a kidney stone attack: intense pain, multiple trips to the emergency room, bad reactions to narcotics. I’m me again, but I’d like the past few weeks back. I’ll write more about that in the days to come.
Lots to write about in the days to come. The main point: I’m back here, for a while at least.
Here’s today’s example:
The Management Lessons of Las Vegas (MIT Sloan Management Review)
Work is heating up (hence my presence in front of a computer on a Sunday afternoon) and one of the things that’s gotta give over the next month, until we get the new MIT Sloan Management Review website up and stable, is blogging. But don’t fear: I’m still going to deliver useless information to you. It’s just that for the next month I’ll be doing it in 140-character increments, i.e. via Twitter. In recent weeks I’ve found it to be a good vehicle for making one point quickly and then moving on. This is not one of those occasional hiatuses (hiati?) I pull here every few months. You’re welcome to follow me on Twitter. And I will be back here on a regular basis once work permits. And, face it, 140 characters at a time of me might be all you need most days.
(For those of you who follow my updates on Facebook, I use Ping.fm to update Facebook and Twitter simultaneously and identically. You don’t have to subscribe to both.)
Just read about Lily Allen on Billboard. It’s the same piece, with similar sources, that was on Idolator yesterday. Indeed, in recent months, I’ve noticed that plenty of music-industry news stories in Billboard appeared one or two days earlier, with much the same sources and a lot more attitude and context, on Idolator. So why is there still Billboard?
Is it true that you were in a traffic jam that lasted for three states?
Yup. Started in Maine, ended in Massachusetts: all of New Hampshire was stop and go.
Why were you in Maine?
Dropping off Eli and his BFF at a photography workshop. I’ll get to spend 9-1/2 hours in a car again picking them up a week from Saturday.
Did you bring enough music to listen to in the car on the way back when you didn’t have to listen to two teenage boys blurt out whatever came to mind?
Depends on whether you think hearing the 57:19 version of “My Favorite Things” from John Coltrane’s Live in Japan is way beyond enough. I never want to hear a bass solo again (except by Eli).
Why do I hear an echo?
Because I’m alone in the house. Eli’s clicking pix in Maine, Jane and the girls are on the Cape for the coming week, and it’s just me in our modest-sized-but-enormous-feeling home.
What are you wearing?
Next question, please.
Will you blog more this week than last week?
Probably. It’s only Sunday night, the last time we can still feel optimistic about the work week ahead.
What else will you do?
I suspect I’ll veer wildly between GTD and GND. Here’s what I hope to accomplish between now and Friday:
* get 24 things done at MIT
* dentist’s appointment
* write drafts of two scenes for the novel
* organize the office (home)
* organize the office (MIT)
* exercise five times
I’ll update my progress daily. Perhaps tracking all this publicly will serve as a productivity tool: the threat of public humiliation works. Sometimes.
Where you been?
Canada, mostly. The five of us and a friend of Eli’s packed into the van: half a week in Montreal (good, and I was not responsible for this), half a week in Ottawa (great), and a one-night stopover in Burlington, Vt., on the way back. As of Tuesday, I’m three-quarters of the way to Inbox Zero. I need to learn French for the next trip to the Great White North.
Was everything the same when you returned?
Mostly. Manny is gone, and so is Scrabulous, but it looks as if the latter has returned in not-too-diminished form. I missed a particularly weird Carl Icahn hissy fit, and I’ll have to check in with Paczkowski for guidance on how to interpret that.
What did you learn about your newspaper-reading habits while you were gone?
As I’ve noted previously, I’m done with print newspapers. For the first half of the vacation, I did a reasonably good job of staying off the laptop (and we were in another country, so I didn’t want to turn on the iPhone unless absolutely necessary). If I wanted to know what was going on in the world I had to read the print versions of the Times and Journal, both of which were available in hotel gift shops at imminent-apocalypse prices. I imagined that reading newspapers this way would feel like a luxury. Instead, compared to their younger online siblings, they felt out of date and, well, short. Aside from the immediacy you get from following news via the net, chances are you see that news as part of a larger river of information. It’s always coming at you. In comparison, reading the news in a newspaper feels limited, finite. It ends. News on the net never ends (for better or worse).
Also worth looking at was the National Gallery in Ottawa. We spent two hours there. I bet we could have gone at least two days without running out of surprises. I was particularly taken by William Kurelek’s “Arriving on the Manitoba Farm,” which looks dark and formless in this image, but reveals more and more layers of detail and meaning when you have the pleasure of standing in front of it.
When you stopped in Burlington, Vt., on the way back, did you see any newspaper headlines you’d expect to see only in Burlington, Vt.?
What did you read?
Parts of Francine Prose’s Read Like a Writer (mostly zzz, but it did introduce me to this guy) and Hawthorne’s The Blithedale Romance, and (several times) my favorite Chekhov story, “The Lady with the Dog.”
And you read them all on your…
Kindle, right. It’s a usability nightmare and the selection of Amazon-blessed-and-DRMed books is insufficient and random, but I found it convenient and comfortable under all but the most low-light situations.
Did you write?
Yes, especially early in the week when I was still keeping that off-the-net promise. It’s amazing how less depressed you can be about the quality of something if you’re actually working on it. And maybe I should consider a new business model.
What was Jane’s most memorable quote during the week?
There were so many candidates, but I’m going with “I’m trying to save the tattoo.”
How’s the new job going?
So far it seems like a very good fit. I’ll have a full report at the end of The First 90 Days.
Weren’t you going to tell us the point of this blog?
Comments from Doug, Owen, and Andrea — and a gift from Brian — showed me the limits of my thinking from a few posts ago. And Jane has suggested that I write about what I think about: namely, media and technology. So, unless you’re reading this via a newsreader, you’ll see that the blog now has a new tagline: “media, technology, and the rest of it.” I’ve got some ideas for making this more than a vanity blog; we’ll see if I can live up to them. Oh, and to warn you, I’m going to pay more attention to Twitter.
Gotta see how the WordPress app for the iPhone works.
One of the unexpected side effects of moving this blog to WordPress was easy access to real-time statistics. I could tell, pretty quickly, whether a particular post or type of post was getting picked up or ignored. It’s seductive stuff — as anyone who has followed his or her book- or record-selling stats on Amazon knows so well. The bad part, aside from the time-wasting, is that the easy access to stats makes a blogger think too much about audience before posting. Blogs, I believe, are supposed to be about unvetted expression, capturing a moment, embracing the amateur and enthusiast in you even if you’re a professional writer in your real life. I intended to title one of my previous blogs “Quality over Quantity,” to celebrate that, but as old-timers know, I committed a typo and wound up titling that blog “Quantity over Quantity,” an unintentional joke too amusing to fix.
Now I’m not so sure. It’s 2008 and almost everyone has a blog (or has at least tried):
Is blogging getting old? Over the past two years, Twitter and Facebook status messages have emerged as media for distributing thoughts deemed too evanescent for a blog post. And now there are so many such services that aggregators such as FriendFeed and Ping.fm have emerged. More are coming. Nothing is so mundane that it can’t be shared immediately via many media. As Philip Greenspun’s blog puts it in its tagline: “A posting every day; an interesting idea every three month.”
I am a bit too enamored with my own ideas, as are many of us. As Jane said to me once and probably thought many more times, “Tell it to your blog.” The blogosphere is a wonderful place, but it’s one by definition full of noise. Although I value that noise and revel in it sometimes, I think too many of my posts are mostly noise, little signal.
Sometimes statistics reveal a truth. The two posts here that received, respectively, the most traffic and the most pointers in recent weeks were Barack Obama, Rolling Stone, and the secret of one great magazine cover and Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Twin “Hurricane”s in Rio. They’re two of the more substantive posts here from the past month. Neither post will change the world and both of ‘em featured pointers to more interesting content elsewhere. But they both sought to do a bit more than point to something and say, “Cool.” So, as this blog trudges forward, I’ll stop posting just to post. If I have something interesting to offer, I’ll try to communicate it in a substantial and entertaining way. If I don’t, I’ll try to shut up.
I need one — not for this little blog, but for my job. Help us!
Jane (surprised): “Hey, that was interesting. Why don’t you put something like that on your blog for a change?”