Cardinal Rule of Blogging - Don't Stop

This was going to be a meta-post about my own blog, and why I am so bad at keeping it up to date. Last night we cooked dinner with some friends and I made a comment that anyone who wanted their blog to be significant to the blogosphere had better be posting a least once a day, if not multiple times a day. I made this comment without a lot of thought, but then came to thinking "is that really true?"

What do we expect from the blogs we follow on a daily basis. For that matter, what is our expectation on status updates (micro-blogging) via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc?

On Whrrl, the product of the company I work for, I tend to update my status multiple times a day (often whenever I check in at a new location). This makes sense to me - I want to contextualize the other piece of information I am sharing about where I am. For example, if I check in at the office I am likely to update my status to "Danielle is whrrking" or if I check in at Purple Wine Bar I'm likely to say something like "Danielle is tipping back a great glass of claret". On Facebook, I update my status a couple of times each week on average. Although I check my Facebook profile for messages and updates nearly daily I don't remember to update my status unless I see someone else post an interesting status. Rarely do I go to Facebook explicitly to update my status - in fact I would say I never do.

Twitter is somewhere I text/go explicitly to update my status and answer the question "what are you doing right now?" because that is the point of the service (although people are using it for micro-blogging and posting links and whatnot now). It isn't hard to post an update to Twitter, sending a text to the shortcode is probably the easiest text command I use on my low-tech phone. Offer my "tweets" will come in sporadic bursts, maybe 6 in a day and then radio silence for the rest of the week. I don't feel much of a need to space them out though - I feel like it is expected that I will lifestream on Twitter in a way I don't do on Facebook or Whrrl.

This all culminates into the obnoxious noise that is my FriendFeed, loaded with so much crap even I don't want to read it. Who wants to see the long list of articles I've shared, changes I've made to profiles, status updates in multiple locations (which become annoying duplicate/cross posts when viewed in FriendFeed). It is just overload - and then on top of monitoring FriendFeed (which I'm not doing regularly, btw) I have email, GoogleReader, and stupid voicemail (for those people still stuck in the stone age, like my parents).

The thing is, sometimes I will have moments of "oh man, I should just disconnect all of this" but it isn't just an "online-life" anymore - it is my connection to people in the real world. Disconnecting online really does hinder my ability to keep in touch with my real world friends. Sounds like they have me hooked. I think this bodes well for Whrrl, but I've still got to figure out to manage all this information in my life. I can't wait for 5 years from now, with all the technology being developed around solving this problem.

If you actually update your status on LinkedIn I'd be interested to hear about what kind of things you write there. So far, I've been a bit baffled about how to use that feature in that context.


Southpark Last Night & the Internets

I'm not a regular Southpark viewer, but it came on after the Colbert Report last night and started out with all the characters (I don't know their names) being told by the Mom that they had a few more minutes on the internet before it was time for bed, much to their chagrin. I found this funny, and reminiscent of when I was growing up, other than the fact that there was a 1/1 ratio of people to computers (in my parents house the four of us shared one, 7 years ago). Then, the next morning the household woke in a panic because the internet was down and the family went to their neighbor's house to use theirs - where it was discovered that the outage extended to the entire community. So they rush to Starbucks (this begins to have a Great Depression run-on-the-bank feel), where there is no internet, and then consider going to the Mac store before finding out there isn't any internet their either. 9 days later, they decide to "head out Californy way..." to seek the internet in Silicon Valley. The story continues...

Anyway, the part I found most interesting was actually in the first few minutes when the wife comes into the room to tell the husband he only has a few more minutes on the internet and askes him to "just do one more thing" and then head to bed. After she walks out he says "just one thing?" and then, of course, turns to a quick view of some porn. However, this does make me think about just how much we multi-task when we use the internet. When are we ever doing just one thing? With a tabbed browser I usually have a queue of things to read, look at, look up or track.


What will you do with KML?

Today Google announced that they are giving the KML file format, originally developed by startup Keyhole who Google acquired, for geophysical data (maps) to the Open Geospatial Consortium.

I am curious to hear how different businesses intend to take advantage of this open standard - it seems like there must be a business opportunity here for services *other than Google maps* to do great things for consumers with user-generated mapping, especially now that the format will be so much more portable from one place to another. For example, a user of Gmaps could create a map there and then upload it somewhere else. Combine this with services that track where you are via GPS and there becomes an event more compelling story for what users might want to do with their location data as a timeline for their lives.

What would you do with the new KML standard if you could start a business today?


UPS Paperless Invoice

When I worked at Expeditors the arch-nemesis was UPS. Of course, the koolaid we all drank was that all our competitors were inferior, but at some point after the honeymoon period wore off I began to actually examine that claim. Of course, I quickly found the various "I hate UPS" website disgruntled employees and customers alike had created online (and didn't find any equivalent for Expeditors), but I kept seeing ads in business periodicals suggesting UPS is solving some of the problems nearest and dearest to customers' interests.

I picked up the April 21, 2008 edition of Forbes tonight, and on pages 14 and 15 there is a great ad. It shows a to do box piled with paper (drawn in the brown UPS white board pen of course) with a steaming cup of coffee next to it. Then it has a little post it note in the upper right hand corner (page 15) that says:

International shipping means lots of commercial invoices - in triplicate. But that paperwork could disappear when you sign up to use UPS Paperless Invoice, the industry's first electronic commercial invoice. It's just another way UPS simplifies international shipping.

Below that is a laptop with a steaming cup of coffee.

Even though I no longer work at Expeditors, I still have deep respect for the things they do for customers and I can't help but wonder what they have up their sleeve to respond to solutions like this one? So much of transportation today has less to do with moving physical freight efficiently from point a to point b (a lot of companies do that, and a handful do it really well) - and much more to do with efficiently moving the documentation of that freight. I wonder if there is an opportunity for a third party software-as-a-service business to step in and offer solutions to shippers that will help them streamline the amount of paper in the international shipping process and integrate with the big transportation services companies out there.


A Really Crummy Day

I'm sick and grumpy, and being sick makes me feel old for some reason.

I read a whole romance novel, ate chocolate, drank tea, and slept a bunch and I have been disconnected from the internets for a whole 6 hours straight. A-mazing!