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Yak Shaving and Other Blogosphere Tales

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Today’s one of those Sundays when yak shaving seems to be the order of the day. A day of catching up with much-neglected email and prep for the week ahead.

Trouble is, I’m a piler not a filer when it comes to email. So first I need to engage in some yak shaving.

What is yak shaving? you may ask. Well, there’s a story about it, courtesy of a post on Joi Ito’s blog (complete with a great example), from his review of an article in the new Make: magazine.

Yak shaving is defined as “Any seemingly pointless activity which is actually necessary to solve a problem which solves a problem which, several levels of recursion later, solves the real problem you’re working on.”

Perfectly summarizes my day so far as I’m still at the “seemingly pointless activity” stage.

So as part of the yak shaving process, I’ve gathered notes of some interesting things that have been going on out there in the big wide blogosphere during the past week:

  1. There was an interesting-looking debate on “The Fall and Fall of Journalism” at the London School of Economics last Monday, on blogging and journalism. Suw Charman posted commentary on the event, and has also done a podcast (80-minute MP3, about 28 megs). Brilliant, Suw!
  2. You probably have stats for your blog so you know who’s visiting, from where, what pages they look at, etc. How about knowing what links your visitors click on when they’re on your blog that will help you understand what content your visitors actually like? Check out MyBlogLog.com and take it for a free trial. Very neat service. (Hat tip: Steve Rubel.)
  3. Bill Campbell and Stuart Henshall have started Skype Journal, a blog for independent news, views and support for Skype users and developers. Definitely a useful resource if you want to get more out of your Skype experience, eg, finding out about recording podcasts over Skype.
  4. My podcasting partner Shel Holtz has written two thoughtful commentaries on the huge role communication plays in engaging employees. The first post focuses on the key to creating satisfied employees; the second on how much Wall Street has to do with making workplaces employee-unfriendly.

  5. While still on the subject of podcasts, Jonathan Marks announced that he is the world’s first podcast consultant. From his post: “I am happy to help those podcasters who want to sound professional, with a proper critique on the style needed for a better, more engaging podcast. We could start by putting a limit on the length of the shows. 20 minutes is great, 40 minutes is super specialist….an hour means you don’t respect the listener or you are hoping to reach people with nothing to do in their own lives.” Shel, it looks like we’re in Jonathan’s latter category here ;)
  6. Another big PR agency, Burson-Marsteller, has resurrected the blog they started back in 2002. News about it from Constantin Basturea says it has all the bells and whistles – permalinks, comments and trackbacks. But, Constantin says, “all postings are signed by a gentle Anonymous under the name of “e-fluentials”, instead of being signed with a person’s name. And, despite the fact that it offers three flavors of RSS, plus ATOM, none of them is listed on the weblog.”
  7. Finally, TypePad launched localized blogging services in Finland and the UK which now brings to 8 the number of such localized services. TypePad is also the engine of the new Friendster blogs. Such developments could by why Six Apart (which owns TypePad), may still be a tempting target for Yahoo, who Reuters says (in a Yahoo News report) is “likely to build and buy tools that help its users create, publish and search blogs [...] [and also] expand into social networking software, which lets users share and organize content.”

Ok, yak shaving progressing well! Now continuing with the recursing…

[Yak image courtesy of Jennifer M. Leonard, found through a quick search in Google Images. Used totally without permission; hope you don't mind, Jennifer.]

Neville Hobson is the author of the popular NevilleHobson.com blog which focuses on business communication and technology.

Neville is currentlly the VP of New Marketing at Crayon. Visit Neville Hobson’s blog: NevilleHobson.com.

Yak Shaving and Other Blogosphere Tales
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  • http://shavingoil.blogspot.com Shaving Oil

    I to am an email piler. It is so much easier just letting them pile up, until you actually have to go through them all. I personally like to wait until the very last minute to do anything. It makes life more exciting!

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