Over on Payments on Rails my recaps are rather industry/company specific so as a blogger on Miss604.com I would like to elaborate and touch on a few other points, particularly those presented by Tim Bray.
Many of Tim’s tips include things I already strive to achieve on my blog every day, which includes knowledge I love to pass on to my blogging padawan.
Social media tools like blogs and Twitter are part of the new culture of contribution which is good for business as it encourages the flow of information and communication. Whether you’re a diary blogger, corporate blogger, developer of projects of websites, here are Tim’s words of advice:
- Listen: Take advantage of community-based sites to know what’s going on, “so you’re not fighting with one hand tied behind your back.” Wouldn’t you feel reluctant to go to a website where it doesn’t seem like anyone’s listening?
- Don’t Lecture: Give examples, have a conversation, open the conversation.
- Be intense: There are millions of voices out there on the web, unless you are passionate and care about what you’re writing, posting, photographing – nobody is going to notice.
- Be human: Don’t have an eleven step editorial process ie. if you’ve ever been in an organization that needs to put out a press release. You may have experienced that it could take 2 weeks for 2 page release and “then you end up with something no human being would have ever written…. or now would want to read.”
- Correct yourself: It’s okay to admit you’re wrong and fallible, you’ll increase your reach and effectiveness by being intensely human and if you screw up, admit it and correct it.
- Be brief: “A lot of us, when we write, have a lot of mental static that gets tossed in. Almost all our works can be improved by shortening them.” Noting Flickr’s new video system only allows 90 second clips is brilliant, the same with Twitter’s character limit. Tim also quoted Blaise Pascal: “The present letter is a very long one, simply because I had no leisure to make it shorter.”
- Update often: With of all your projects for the “short attention span generation” have something new to bring people back and keep them interested in what you have to say. This applies to content AND software, “release early, release often,” and take an agile approach.
- LINK: Link from your community, corporate website etc. if you put something on your piece of the web and don’t link anywhere else, “then you’re saying you know everything – and you’re wrong and your audience will know this,” suggests Tim. He says make people happy by sending them away ie. you only spend maybe 3 seconds on the Google home page but it’s the page you may visit most in a day.
For my own thoughts about linking and community, you can view this interview I did a few months ago with Reachd.
- Look good : Have a talented designer, ’nuff said.
- Balance hubris and humanity: “The desire to talk to the world, and the ability to shut up and listen. Write something great today, and do it again tomorrow.” – Tim Bray
I know, that wasn’t brief at all eh? I have to say I couldn’t agree more with the points Tim articulated and as Colleen said this weekend, “join the conversation.” Whether it’s with your website, blog, clients, customers, employees and your team at work.
Speaking of work, one final assertion by Tim was: “Don’t stay in a lousy job.” If you can do great things, in whatever capacity – be a part of something that will enable you to be great. Don’t. Be. Bored.