The times (and RSS feeds) they are a-changing

Short version: Update your blog RSS feed to http://feeds.feedburner.com/litmanliveblog

Longer version: So it’s been a bit of a time of change recently for me and this here blog. Along with the documented job move, I coded/experimented for the last month or so with a more lifestreamy approach to blogging on another domain. I liked it. I fell in love with it. I deliberated over how to integrate it with the current blog experience here as I wanted the best of both worlds. To run with the dashboard and the blog. I’m greedy like that.

But when it comes to this kinda thing, I’m a great believer of don’t touch what’s working. Which I learnt all too quickly again when over a previous weekend when I made the changes and then realised that after doing so, I’d made a hash of things and absolutely nothing worked. All the links were wrong and I felt like I’d made a huge mistake even touching things that work. I cursed myself for being an idiot. After having a cup of tea and getting it all back on track, I’m pretty happy with the new dashboard style homepage at litmanlive.co.uk and I hope you like it too.

So I moved the blog to a sub page of the site and created an aggregator type dashboard homepage which I absolutely love. Kinda like a visual snapshot of my life online. The articles I’m reading, sharing, writing and loving, all in one place and in near real time.

As an unfortunate consequence of moving things around a bit it would appear that I seem to have messed up the RSS thingmajig and instantly lost all my RSS subscribers because the url has changed and therefore the RSS feed has too. Or at least that’s what I’m assuming. Otherwise I’ll presume that you have a hatred for nice boxes of visuals and/or Dare. Obviously I was a bit disappointed about that as I’d amassed a quite decent number of subscribers but alas, it looks like it couldn’t be prevented.

So if you were reading the blog via RSS, can I ask that you update your RSS feed to http://feeds.feedburner.com/litmanliveblog.

You’ve got a few other choices also if you like. You can subscribe to blog updates via email also. I prefer to do this for any sites I actually want to keep updated by. Or you can now subscribe to the lifestream via RSS / email too to receive everything that I read, share, write and love.

See you soon.

Your RSS reader isn’t a newspaper, it’s a magazine rack..

2009 has been the year I fell out of love with Google Reader. It is probably due to the quantity of unread feeds subscribed to becoming unmanageable within.. say a a day. It was as if I was hunting for my football in a field that hadn’t been tended to for a year. There’s been immense growth yet still difficult to find anything. Reader for me wasn’t the place any more that I could dip in to for a few minutes throughout the day to see what was going on at a glance. I felt guilty for not coming back regularly and lavishing it with the time it required. In the end it bothered me so much I changed one of the options for it to not show the unread count of items. But that was just me hiding from the problem. The problem was an inefficient organisational hierarchy.

I’m starting my new years resolutions early this year. None of this traditional signing up to the gym, quitting chocolate, smoking or alcohol business. (I don’t even smoke!) One of mine is going to be to get my Google Reader organised. Hey, it’s a non stop party time at my place. An easy job you say? Well, i’ve accumulated close to 800 subscriptions and i’m starting at square one with them all.

I’ve become inspired of late by doing something about this due to a few people. Namely Fernando Rizo, Mat Morrison and Marshall Kirkpatrick who have given me a fresh perspective and a renewed vigour for changing my perceptions of how I should use Reader and what my reading hierarchy should look like. So when categorising feeds or organising favourites on your computer, if you partake in such an activity to start with, you would traditionally put them in folders due to their interest eg Sports, Music, Marketing, Gaming etc etc.. This hasn’t worked for me and i’m going to try out a new system alluded to by the guys above. Something more akin to ‘Must reads’ ‘News’ ‘Skip ’em’. I love Fernando’s analogies and rhetorical questions when it comes to how we have adopted (perhaps wrongly) the newspaper model for RSS..

“Website taxonomy was a waste of time, perhaps, but I loved it. When I would describe the contextual system to people, I would often ask, rhetorically, ‘who sits down and says, it’s time to read about economics or sports?’ This was the newspaper model in practice: the RSS reader is a newspaper you edit yourself, populated with a huge variety of topics. The RSS reader isn’t a newspaper for me: it’s a magazine rack, filled with specialty niche magazines that I read one at a time.”

So how have I got around not using Reader this year? Firstly, I started using Posterous more and more as a place for me to reblog cool stuff I’ve seen throughout the day. As I got more up to speed with using it myself, I found out about the reader feature on Posterous itself. It is truly fascinating and not well documented enough that it even exists. It is simply found at posterous.com/reader when you’re logged in. This was purely and simply page after page of content by the people I’m subscribed to. This works much better for me than reams of text in Google Reader. How I’d describe it is a much more visual RSS reader. But it’s not RSS. For me it’s bite sized nuggets of inspiration. It’s generally not hugely long textual posts to read and digest, mostly being the odd thought provoking / interesting image or slideshare embed with a line of commentary at the end of the post saying what they think about it.

Obviously, the ever present issue of garbage in, garbage out is something to be mindful of. If you subscribe on Posterous to accounts that don’t inspire, inform and satiate that constant appetite for information then you’re not going to get anything out of that either. I feel ‘closer’ to the people I subscribe to on Posterous than I do in Reader, because of the bookmarklet. A simple widget type thing that sits in your web browser address bar that allows you to reblog anything you see on the page before you. Try it out yourself with this page if you like. Sign yourself up with Posterous, get the bookmarklet and see just how easy it is! This is how I mainly use Posterous so the cool stuff comes to me through the Posterous Reader and I am simply a filter, disseminating the information that I feel has value in one way or another. In turn I enjoy more of a community element than I do with Google Reader. But then that’s entirely a subjective point of view. I know Rizo shares stuff on Reader, much as I do on Posterous and friends comment on it so it’s different horses for different courses.

It was this article that got the ball rolling for me. Hope it helps you too. I implore you to read and digest it. It links also to this article and this one too. Read them both. You can read about elegant triage systems and everything!

I better get started with it all then..

More about that thing called Social Media..

The results of a new survey have been released recently on media relations practices, specifically how journalists use social media to stay on top of the game. Original Source.

A few key messages to take home..

YOY more blogs are being read, only 25% of journalists don’t read one or more.. what are they doing, living in a cave with no access to the world wide web?

Who said blogging was dead?! It would appear it’s only just beginning!

Over half are using tools like Twitter to seek out new business opportunities, story leads and to connect with peers in similar work.

Similarly, over half scan Google News to follow world events, a sign that there’s much more to Google than just search.. How to monetize news stories though? (New fan of Google reader here by the way) Speaking of which 1/5th have 5 more or RSS feeds delivered to their readers each work.

The users surveyed and indeed the general public alike appear to becoming more tech savvy, where the online world is more intertwined with their every day working life. As a result they’re better connected.. social media you could say has played a part in all of the above.

Let’s take Twitter as an example of a tool at the very heart of the social media world. So much so that I’ve been noticing a few job specifications for social media related roles noting within the requirements ‘If you don’t know what Twitter is, don’t bother applying’

I have connected with extraordinary individuals whom I’d never have had any contact with in every day life nor would possibly be able to, without jumping through a few hundred hoops. Twitter itself single handedly breaks down the barriers of communication and allows me to communicate and engage with CEOs, Directors, and inspirational visionaries whom I can learn greatly from.

What are your thoughts on the explosion in interest in Social Media over the last few months and years. Do you use Twitter? Is it something you have integrated in to your daily life or is it something you just don’t ‘get’ ?

Results in full below.

  • 75% of journalists read one blog or more (compared to 70% last year) and 29% read 5 or more blogs to keep up with their beat (compared to 25% a year ago).
  • More than three-fourths of journalists surveyed use social media to research stories (compared to 67% last year).
  • More than half (56%) use NewsStreams and micro-blogs like Twitter, Pownce and Jaiku to identify new leads.
  • Almost 38% of journalists now say they visit a social media site at least once a week as part of their reporting, compared to only 28% last year.
  • More than half (53%) of journalists say they visit Facebook, YouTube and Social Bookmarks at least once as month as part of their research – up from 44% last year.
  • Nearly 19% receive five or more RSS feeds of news services, blogs, podcasts or videocasts every week, compared with only 16% a year ago and 44% receive at least one regular RSS feed.
  • The majority (76.4%) of journalists said that they use local newspapers to follow news, while 63% check the New York Times, 51% scan Google News and 32% visit Yahoo! News to stay informed.
  • 34% of journalists use Wikis as a living media kit for the companies and beats they cover.