links for 2008-07-14

Temporary Double Phone Envy

I didn’t get in line to get an iPhone 3G on Friday — I actually had a full day of real work to do for clients! (Unlike, I assume, everyone else standing in line…) Today, the local Apple and AT&T stores are out of stock. Hopefully I’ll be able to get my iPhone in hand and activated before I leave for BlogHer 2008 on Thursday.

However, a good friend of mine got her iPhone 3G, which complements her Nokia N95. Meanwhile I’m still dicking around with a crappy low-end prepaid Tracfone, for now.

The result:

links for 2008-07-11

links for 2008-07-10

links for 2008-07-09

Twitter for Newshounds: My New Strategy

Today I set up a new Twitter account just for following the news. It helps.

I’m both a media/news geek and an avid Twitter user. Also, several news organizations post their current headlines and breaking news updates to Twitter. These facts have dovetailed nicely for me — I follow several news orgs on Twitter.

But this morning, I had to make a change. The news orgs were drowning out the people on Twitter. And I want — and need — to hear both.

Most news orgs that post to Twitter do so with a minimum of effort. They use Twitterfeed: a free service that automatically converts items from your RSS feed into Twitter updates (“tweets”) to your account. News orgs generally update their sites — and hence their feeds — very often. Therefore, it’s common for several tweets from a news org to hit Twitter all at once. The problem is that in a scrolling display like Twitter’s (and most third-party applications for accessing Twitter), this can have the effect of visually crowding out posts from individuals. This only gets worse if you follow more than one or two news orgs via Twitter.

I have several Twitter accounts, which I use for different purposes, so I mainly access Twitter using Twhirl — a popular Twitter application that supports multiple accounts. So I just set up a new Twitter account (newsamy) specifically for managing my news subscriptions. I then “unfollowed” all news orgs at my main Twitter account, and started following them (plus several new ones) at newsamy instead.

Now, when I want to keep an eye on Twitter, I keep a window for each account open in Twhirl. This makes it much easier for me to see what more people and more news orgs are saying. I can close either or both windows when I want less background noise. So far, I really like it.

My plan is to not post any tweets at all from my newsamy account — it’s strictly a listening post for me. So there’s no point in anyone following me on that account, nothing will be happening there. But here’s the list of news orgs I currently follow there. (UPDATE: LOL, I already changed my mind about that. Had to complain to USA Today about a particularly useless tweet of theirs.)

Does your news org post to Twitter? If so, you might want to leave a comment telling Red66, so they can add you to their list. If you want me to follow you, send me an “@ reply” on Twitter to my main account (@agahran) and I may check you out for awhile. (Don’t send a reply to @newsamy, I don’t receive replies there.)

UPDATE: Matt Sebastian mentioned that another Twitter application, Tweetdeck, can help accomplish similar goals by allowing you to create groups within your list of Twitter friends (people you follow). That’s another great solution. However, at this time it doesn’t appear that Tweetdeck supports multiple Twitter accounts. Personally, I need to use multiple accounts (especially since I have amylive for live event coverage via Twitter) — so Twhirl is a better option for me at this point.

NOTE: I originally posted this to Poynter’s E-Media Tidbits.

links for 2008-07-08

Ethical Quandary: Assistant, Blogging, and Logins

I’m wondering how to handle a tricky aspect of working with an assistant.

Hi, all. Sorry I haven’t been blogging here much lately, but I’ve been slammed trying to keep my head above water with my client projects. I’m working on a strategy to lighten my stress level (and reduce the near-constant sensation of being pecked to death by ducks) by considering hiring an assistant.

OK, assistants (virtual and otherwise), PLEASE don’t consider this an opening to pitch yourself in my comments! I need to think through some issues first, and here’s a biggie:

Posting to blogs takes an inordinate amount of my time — not writing the post, generally, but simply making the post — logging into a client blog’s back-end system and dealing with its formatting and other idiosyncrasies to make the post go live. This is especially time-consuming for one client’s blog, which relies on an entirely custom-made, clunky, and bug-ridden content management system.

One thing I’d like an assistant to do for me would be to take the post that I’ve completed and edited, along with illustration (if any), log in to the client’s back-end, and actually post the entry — and preview it to check it before it goes live.

I’m about the ethical and logistical issues. Here are the questions I’m pondering:

  • Should I get the client’s permission beforehand before giving my assistant access to the blog back-end?
  • Should I ask the client to set up a separate login for my assistant, or just give my assistant access to my login for the blog?
  • What questions or concerns are the blog owners likely to have about this, and how might I address them constructively?

I’d love to hear thoughts on this — especially from anyone who has outsourced blog posting (rather than writing). I’d especially love tips for training, oversight, expectations, etc. Please comment below!