Archive for November, 2006
Who knew that good ole Abe Lincoln was the master of electronic mail? Granted, his form of email was the T-Mail. Using telegrams wasn’t his crutch like email has become for many of us, but he knew how to effectively communicate. An now we can all learn from Lincoln, because Tom Wheeler has written a book called Mr. Lincoln’s T-Mails in which he chronicles telegrams that Lincoln had sent and received.
Through studying these very important, and very historic communications, Mr. Wheeler was able to gain some high level discoveries that could help us write better emails:
- Understand the Hierarchy of Communication
- Words are Important
- Less is More
- Message Candor
- Take a Breath
I think the biggest take away for me after reading Mr. Wheeler’s site was that the mode is not as important as the message; however, the message has to be adapted to the mode. So the next time I hear someone criticizing the youth of today for using shorthand notation in an SMS text message or for typing brief short sentences in IM conversations, I will evaluate both the content and the context of the message. There may be modes that I am not versed in communicating in, but at the end of the day, the goal is still to convey the information that needs to be shared.
Technorati Tags: Abraham Lincoln, Communication, Email, Telegram
Posted in Email, Voice
Josh Kenzer and I were featured in the Reno News & Review’s cover story today titled, “Up All Night: It’s a brave new world called the blogosphere. Meet some of its denizens.”
RNR mentioned part of the reason why we as a company blog, and they mentioned our podcast, Horse Power, which consists of interviews with local business professionals.
The picture David Robert took of us wasn’t exactly flattering – I never like pictures of myself, and Josh should have been featured just as prominently as me, if not more – but it was a very amusing and well-written article by Peter Thompson.
The article uncovers some of the motivation behind why individuals blog:
- Citizen journalism
- The joy of writing
- Exchange of information
- Uncovering hypocrisy
- Social change
- Democratization of information
- Freedom to be yourself
And, for Twelve Horses:
- Brand personalization
- Two-way dialogues with customers
- Search engine optimization
- Demonstration of expertise
- Advancement of our industry
- Practicing what we preach
- Participating in the conversation
I think one aspect of blogging that was not covered, but maybe alluded to, was the fact that some individuals that have blogs or troll blogs today have a habit of attacking others. Maybe there is some constructive aspect to attacking other people’s opinions, but surely an alternate opinion could be framed in a less aggressive and negative tone. If we as bloggers are truly trying to elevate the discussion, whatever that may be, then let’s be civilized in our approach.
With that being said, it is a learning experience for all of us, and almost any blogger out there can probably look back with the luxury of hindsight and pick out a blog post or comment that they would have positioned differently.
Reno News & Review’s article illustrates one thing for certain. People here in Reno, Nevada and beyond are passionate about blogging. The Web is raising our collective intelligence, awareness, and exposure, and for that I am extremely thankful.
Meanwhile, the blogosphere blazes on; but don’t let it keep you up all night.
tags: blog, blogosphere, josh kenzer, robert payne, twelve horses, reno news and review, nevada
Posted in Blog
Seth Sutel, an AP Business Writer wrote a recent article titled, “What are RSS Feeds on the Internet and How Can I Use Them?” Most of our readers are already familiar with RSS, but not everyone is using them. If you are not, please read this article, and then move to step 2 – implementation.
RSS is becoming a common means of consuming information for many people. By providing this alternate channel of communication, you are recognizing the varying preferences of your customers and satisfying them. Furthermore, you are increasing the likelihood that your message will be read.
Weather, stock quotes, news, press releases, blog posts, concert schedules, the list goes on. Information such as this can be delivered via RSS and organized into a convenient and easy-to-use RSS aggregator like MyYahoo, Google, and Bloglines.
That way you don’t have to go out and get the information, “RSS brings the Web to you.”
tags: RSS, Feeds, Google, MyYahoo, Bloglines
Posted in RSS
After listening to the 43 Folders podcast (episode from 10/29/06), where Merlin Mann interviews David Allen about using the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology on email, I decided to give it a try. For those who haven’t experienced GTD, its a system of dealing and organizing inputs like email, memos, phone calls, stickies, etc.
The idea seemed quite simple. When you read an email, determine if its actionable or not. If its not, it falls into one of two categories: A) its junk mail and needs to be deleted or B) Its an FYI (for your information) and then needs to be filed. If the email is actionable, you need to determine the next action and either do it right then or add it to your todo list, calendar or what ever tool you use to manage your day. And then here’s the important part…once you add it to your todo list, make sure you file that email away like you did for the non-actionable emails. At the end of each day, you should have zero emails in your inbox. A lofty goal but I think it can be done.
Since I use Outlook, it has a view for displaying your inbox by date. It shows your emails broken out by day for the current week then skips to last week, two weeks ago, three weeks ago, last month and finally the bottom of the barrel, older. Since I had significant email in all these categories in my inbox, I knew it was too lofty to try and get these all down to zero. I focused just on the Today category. Every time I checked and read email, I made the decision as to what was to be done next with the email and filed it accordingly. Mr. Allen’s main point is that the process of making the decision is where most people get hung up. Its a learned and practiced skill and you need to constantly hone.
I have been moderately successful. A few of the days have had one or two un-filed emails. One of the biggest challenges I found was remember to file emails after I replied to them. Since the flow was read -> reply -> read next, I wasn’t taking the time to move that email out of my inbox. Also, I think sub-consciously I was waiting for the reply to my reply before filing. In this way, the original email would remind me to follow up if I didn’t receive the reply I was expecting. To over come this, I realized I needed to mark a follow up item in my todo list if I was expecting a reply. This liberated me to file the original email away.
I have been doing this very simple process for almost two weeks now. It has made me more dependant on my todo list and less dependant on my inbox. I’m more organized and I feel overall, I’m getting more things done.
tags: Getting Things Done, GTD, 43 Folders, Merlin Mann, David Allen, Email, Inbox
Posted in Email, Geeky Stuff, Technology