Friday Heh

Share A Spreadsheet For Added Sticktoitiveness

I was just noticing that my friend Fox and I have been sharing a Google Docs spreadsheet humbly titled “Spreadsheet Of Ideas” for over a year, and it’s still active. It’s where we put ideas we’d like to hold on to, whether they are projects we’d like to share with each other or things we’re each thinking about on our own. The point isn’t to necessarily work together on stuff, just to collect the ideas we each want to keep. We stay out of each other’s hair and update it independently, whenever we think of it.

What’s nice is that on the main page of Google Docs, I can see when she’s been in the sauce, and any time I notice she was the last one in, that motivates me to dive in and see what’s new. Once I’m in it, it’s likely I’ll remember to add some stuff of my own. It’s inspiring to see progress being made by someone else. It’s like virtual co-working. Fox is in Australia and I’m in Atlanta, but we can still overhear and work alongside each other on our respective side projects and brainstorming.

It looks like we both went through a dead spell from December through June; not sure what that’s about:

datestamps
the datestamps

I’m glad to have it around every time I look in, and I can tell you it would have been long since abandoned and forgotten about if it didn’t have a co-owner.

So the protip here is for a document you’d like to keep alive for an extended period of time, find someone who you feel comfortable sharing and thinking with, and let them in on the document even if (and especially if) they won’t be collaborating with you.

P.S. Thanks, Fox!

A Clear Indication That Scoble Doesn’t Use Twitter Like I Do

“If you don’t read tweets for eight hours, don’t worry, all the big stuff you missed will be on TechMeme.” – (Scoble’s latest meanderings on the evolution of Twitter)

No, that’s not nearly it for me, or for many others. It’s not just a technology aggregator. It does that well, but it does so many other things well. Robert undoubtedly has scores of friends, loved ones, and colleagues on Twitter, and who have been there for a few years now, and yet he continually misses out on(or chooses to tune out) what makes Twitter great because he’s so focused on it as a tech news beehive. He starts out the above blog entry by celebrating that Twitter used to be “for telling all your friends you were having a tuna sandwich at Subway in Half Moon Bay” and is no longer. Incidentally, that’s the same argument newcomers make who haven’t yet immersed themselves in Twitter’s culture, which leads me to believe Robert really is only on the fringes while looking at his usage numbers you’d think he’s at its core. I’m thankful that sandwich talk is still a big part of what happens on Twitter. Robert dismisses birthdays as “small stuff,” of little importance if you miss it, and/since it’s not on Techmeme. I’d be pretty crestfallen if all of my friends dismissed my birthday as the small stuff. The “small stuff” is what I use Twitter for. The rest, meh, I can read in a zillion places that Adobe acquired Omniture. He’s got it backwards.

Any number of articles have been written, including Leah’s piece from the Spring on the value of phatic communications and how Twitter extends them to new territories — “Seemingly meaningless conversations that add up to a relationship being formed. It is the digital version of what’s up/fine in the hallway. Relationships include long conversations, sure, but the cement is often tiny interactions that keep the door open between long conversations. Twitter expands the hallway to the globe…”.

Another observation from the piece: “It’s very hard to say anything useful in 140 characters. Believe me, I’ve tried to spend most of 2009 saying stuff in 140 character bites. It isn’t satisfying most of the time.” For someone who reads so many Tweets and spends so much of his time immersed in Twitter culture, I was floored that he feels this way. He attributes the high percentage of tweets that have links in them to the fact that it’s difficult to pack something compelling into the short format, but I don’t see such a strong correlation between the two. A link isn’t necessarily used to expand on tiny thoughts; it can be an object that commentary is wrapped around. It’s the constraints of the medium that make it interesting. Even early on, I remember Robert struggling with this. He used to use ellipses a whole lot, to try to string together a series of Tweets into one thought — not sure if he still does that. At the time I made the remark to him at SXSW that there was a potential business model there. They could charge people like Robert who have trouble with brevity each time they use an ellipsis.

Robert has always described the world of technology through the lens of a very particular kind of person, perhaps even more particular than he realizes. When he decried the state of blogging in October ’07, he did so in broad strokes and imprecise language but he was really talking about his friends and colleagues in technology, not the rest of the online world. When he “returned to blogging” earlier this year, it was as if no one had been using blogging tools since he’d “left.” When you haven’t read him for a while and then pick up something he’s written, it’s often jarring to what extent he uses general language to describe very narrow and focused behaviors and interest patterns.

Friday Heh

Editor’s note: It’s no big secret that I store all my hehs as I find them at http://delicious.com/extraface/heh. All of my delicious bookmarks flow into my Facebook profile via FriendFeed, and until now that was unremarkable. Recently I’ve noticed a few people, and not always the same people, enjoying and commenting on my hehs as they flow throw Facebook. I’m wondering if the real-timiness of those hehs is diminishing the value of the weekly heh and I might need to revisit the format. Feedback welcome.

Friday Heh


A Reunion Of Sorts

I’m moving on this week from my position at Edelman in order to focus on some projects with a few old friends up North and invest quality time in a personal project or two with old friends out West. I’ll continue to be based in Atlanta for now.

I started out in Web work over a decade ago at Pagano, Schenck, and Kay’s PSK01, which eventually became Circle Interactive, Circle.com, and a progression of names and ownership structures. I’ll even claim responsibility for this masterpiece of an under construction screen from ’98:

Through much of that time I worked with Joe Polevy and Erik Pelletier, who went on to become a founder and a pillar of Almighty, respectively. We formed a bond over the time we worked together around shared values, frustration at the conventional processes and work models of the time, an abiding interest in how the work could get done in a better, happier, simpler way, a love of Web culture, and perspectives on what’s most important. As I left Boston to move to Atlanta around ’04, Almighty the agency was just starting to take shape. When I hit the fast forward button recently and looked in after an inquiry from Erik on what I was up to, it was gratifying to see that our disparate work experiences have only reinforced what we had in common professionally. That Almighty has brought together a larger group of people aligned under some of those views, including an interdiscliplinary, silo-free approach to work, is exciting to me as well. I look forward to becoming a part of the unfolding story.

I’m also excited to set aside some time to work with my friends Gregg and Josh at Incredibly Lifelike (who I met, worked with, and was inspired by while at EarthLink) on an important part of my personal and professional life that sometimes get short-shrift — making stuff. More on that as it develops.

I learned a great deal while at Edelman and had the privilege of working alongside some great folks, both in terms of clients and agency colleagues, in the midst of a meaningful and challenging evolution taking place throughout the firm from Public Relations to Public Engagement. Many thanks to all those I worked with, within Edelman and without. I’m glad to have made what I know will be some lasting friendships and professional relationships in my year here.

As is customary as I make career transitions and from time to time, I’ll be changing my The Wire “feeling most like” icon on my about page from Cedric Daniels to…let’s go with Brother Mouzone for now.

When he heard the news, my friend Jonathan contributed this jam, later matched in video by Doug, for your enjoyment: