Welcome to Orcmid's Lair, the playground for family connections, pastimes, and scholarly vocation -- the collected professional and recreational work of Dennis E. Hamilton
Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger -- Netdisaster: I've gotta give up the link blog. Robert Scoble built his link blog and connection practice up into a nightly scan of 1000+ feeds. He can't keep it up. Today, he announced that he is reducing his linking to occasional, irregular postings. I'm sure it was a reluctant decision, and I wonder if he now feels relieved. That is usually how I know I've done the right thing in letting something go. Marc Orphant has provided a compassionate response on his blog.
How Does He Do It?
In his giving-up announcement, Robert provides some good tips on how to efficiently gather links ourselves. There is also his presentation at Northern Voices, although it is a big help to have been there. I loved it when an audience member asked what software he was using as he showed his Outlook 2003 setup. In fact the three-pane layout of Outlook 2003 (with reading pane activated), combined with drag and drop is a big piece of how one can scan lots of feeds, delete uninteresting titles, glance over the remaining goodies, and then drag the keepers into a place for future interest. I had installed Office 2003 on Blocco, my new tablet PC, by that evening.
Scoble's scanning and sorting technique works well with my inbox and my junk mail folders too. I have been able to keep both of those empty since I took on the Scoble practice. To do that, I had to move an 839-item inbox into a backlog folder, and so far I haven't had to dig anything out of there. The difficult part was getting accustomed to an empty inbox and give up thinking there is anything wrong. Now that I have the ideal spam filter in Outlook 2003 (It's spam unless proven otherwise, and my otherwise list is pretty small), I only have to do with 5-10 new arrivals a day, so applying the Getting Things Done inbox discipline is way easy for me. There is also good advice that I took after viewing a Webcast from Microsoft and Mission Control on eliminating e-mail overload.
The next thing is to learn how to use aggregated feed-search facilities, such as PubSub, that Robert uses. We all wrote down those URLs and I am sure there was a spike in PubSub that weekend. I now use PubSub the way Scoble demonstrated it, mostly for the rare mentions of anything I post and also for material on trust and trustworthiness that may apply to my M.Sc dissertation project. You can tell how PubSub works by seeing the PubSub clippings that Scoble moves to his link blog. Robert searches for his own last name, which works great for him, and that's how he can be on top of what others say about his posts and whether they have something he want to tie into his own link blog.
As part of the Outlook experience, Scoble also uses NewsGator. This provides an integration of feed reading with e-mail, mail filing, and searching (via Lookout or MSN Desktop Search or any other Outlook search engine). I organize that way but I have my feed subscriptions go into too many separate folders. I am slowly categorizing my feeds into a small number of delivery folders, and I sort those later, just like sorting through my inbox. I was also relying on the Scoble Link Blog more and more as a way of reducing my own feed reviews. I found Scoble to be a reliable connector, and his leads provided a much higher interest-hit level than my scanning of the others individually.
Finally, Robert has an effortless way to add posts from the feeds he reads to his own blog, using OutlookMT as a way to automatically post an Outlook folder to a web log. It doesn't work with Blogger, so I can't distract myself with this just yet.
When I first read of the link-blog shutdown, I wondered if Robert was feeling discouraged and I called his cell-phone. "Waddya want?" he says, and I think maybe I have a wrong number, not recognizing his voice on the phone. No, it is Robert Scoble, and I tell him that I saw the posting and wanted to let him know that it will all turn out. He taught us to fish, so we can sustain the connecting he was providing. "Thanks. Who is this?" he says. Oh, duh! He has no reason to recognize my telephone voice either, even though we've met face-to-face, and chat from time to time in Skype (but not VOIP). I am so accustomed to my cell-phone showing me the names of callers, that I forget that it gets that out of my own Outlook Contacts that I've downloaded to the phone, and in Skype and MSN Messenger, we're always announced. I only felt stupid for a little while.
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