Tag: tech

Inspired by my friend Ashima‘s recent finds on the Wayback Machine, I searched for one of the first websites I built. It was 1996 or 1997. I was 12 and obsessed with online zines and AOL message boards. I had created my own zine, which focused on advice for and by kids. It was called Problems & Solutions (so creative), and it was the very vanilla precursor to my edgier zine in high school, which I called “damsel” — lol. I wish I could find the archives of the zines themselves, but this website is still a gem (and the funky characters working as dividers appeared as dots and squares back in the day, for what it’s worth): http://web.archive.org/web/20010725144630/http://members.aol.com/emily28/

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I confess that I really do know the secret (for me). And it’s decidedly simple:

1. Sign up for the most well-designed to do list ever: Teux Deux. Get the iPhone app while you’re at it. 

2. Marvel at the beauty of dragging and dropping your to do list items and prioritizing your life with a swipe of your precious little fingertip. 

3. Discover that you keep most emails in your inbox because you have to *do* something with them… inevitably you are always two or three steps away from simply replying, which in turn (somehow) equates to always being 385 emails away from inbox zero.

4. Start adding those reply steps/projects to Teux Deux and booting them out of your inbox. If a client sends you content for a brochure you’re writing, it does not belong in your inbox. It’s an asset that can be found later. (This is the trick: thinking of your inbox as a magical library where people submit new stories and content every single day.)

5. Archive the associated email. (Assuming you’ve already discovered the power of Gmail.)

6. Watch your inbox count dwindle. And thanks to Teux Deux’s ability to effortlessly add and shift line items around, you will brainhack your way to email activity that is a tool for *making stuff happen* instead of creating more emails. Suddenly you’ll manage your responses and email activity based on your actual capacity and the actual priority of the project. The “just power through” emailpalooza lunch break disappears.

7. When an item on Teux Deux does relate to an email, search your Gmail archives, find related email (like looking up the resource you need in a library), and as the cool kids say, “Git er done.” 

And that, my friends, is how I’ve been at inbox zero for almost a week.

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My hubby Carl and I are learning soulmates. (Nerds make the best partners.) We are eternal students, which means we always have new ideas and resources and articles to share, but we also generate a lot of email in the course of a day. It is almost always something shared on the fly, to be read and discussed later. Like a correspondence course between people who share a house.

Today I realized how powerful Google+ will be in taking that exchange out of our inbox and into a much cleaner and more fluid setting. That got me pretty excited, so I decided to create a circle just for Carl, so I could easily share with him and keep tabs on our ongoing learning. 

I decided to call the circle “My Love,” because that’s the sugary sweet way I refer to Carl (yeah, we’re that couple). This resulted in a “Circle of My Love,” which of course was quite amusing to me because of said nerdiness. Finally, I decided to alert Carl to his special placement in such a special circle, and the following conversation ensued:

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I wasn’t sure it could happen, but in just a few days, I’ve found more reasons to believe Google+ is going to be a real player in not just social networking, but in knowledge management and content development. I’m still formulating questions and opinions about it (and we’ve been discussing it a lot around the office), but here are my quick takes on two common challenges to Google+:

“It’s yet another social network.”

At first, I had the gut reaction of — what, another thing? But Google+ is deceptively simple, designed in such a way that it feels more like a clean slate than it does another tool to use. It’s like Google has somehow capitalized on social media fatigue. The problem has not necessarily been too much social networking — the problem has been how cluttered and bloated the existing networks have become. As others have pointed out, Google+ is not another thing to do — it’s a chance to start over and get to the essence of what makes social media valuable.

“Aren’t Circles just like Facebook’s lists?” 

At face value, it may seem that Circles are nothing new. They let you organize people just like Facebook lets you organize people into lists. But the difference is how Circles are integrated into the experience… indeed, they *make* the experience. Connecting with people on Google+ is part and parcel with adding them to an appropriate circle — as soon as you click to connect with someone, the lists of Circles appears. This removes all the friction. In a couple clicks, you’ve added and sorted people.

Furthermore, when you post something on Google+, you must choose which Circles should receive the information for the post to be published. This is such a subtle distinction, but for me, it was the light bulb moment with Google+. It defines the “culture” of Google+, I think. Facebook has the option of selecting lists when posting an update, but the positioning is different. Facebook asks, “Who do you want to hide this from?”, but Google+ asks, “Who do you want to share this with?” 

This subtle, conceptual difference (coupled with Google+’s seamless execution of it via Circles) is what has the potential to make Google+ stick, I think. 

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