Open Web Vancouver Keynotes – Tim Bray

Comments 5 by Rebecca Bollwitt

Tim Bray and meBlogging on behalf of my company I’ve blogged my thoughts on today’s Open Web Conference featuring keynotes by Zak Greant and Tim Bray.

Over on Payments on Rails my recaps are rather industry/company specific so as a blogger on 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:

  1. 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?
  2. Don’t Lecture: Give examples, have a conversation, open the conversation.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.”
  5. 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.
  6. 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.”
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

  9. Look good : Have a talented designer, ’nuff said.
  10. 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.

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5 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. RaulMonday, April 14th, 2008 — 4:30pm PDT

    Thanks for the link love *and* the insights *and* for … well, everything, Master Blogger Jedi 🙂 May the Force continue being with you 😀 (and with all of us in the blogosphere)

  2. RodneyMonday, April 14th, 2008 — 5:14pm PDT

    A great post, thanks for passing on Tim’s tips and for sticking that Youtube video among the tips.

  3. MattyMonday, April 14th, 2008 — 11:23pm PDT

    That was the first positive comment I have heard about Flickr video. At first I agreed with the people saying the time limit was too constrictive but now it all makes sense. It’s funny because I love the idea of 140 character tweets, so why not apply that to video. I wonder if there will be a video limits in Seesmic.

    Really good post. I wish I had attended!

  4. Geeks & Global Justice » Blog Archive » Open Web: the shizzleTuesday, April 15th, 2008 — 4:23pm PDT

    […] Tim Bray is a character… I’ve seen him about town (he lives here though he works for Sun) – somewhere in the tech scene, no doubt. It was his trademark hat that I recognized. Anyhoo, his keynote was entertaining, engaging and elicited the odd guffaw from the audience – pretty good for a conference talk. Though he was speaking to a room full of developers, he seemed ot talk a lot about social media, blogging and the value and meaning of blogging in a Web 2.0 world. One of the insights from Tim was that blogs or websites shouldn’t be “sticky” – they shouldn’t lock people in and isolate them from the web (hey Facebook), but serve as a rest stop and a navigational tool to help visitors on their way to finding what they need. This was helpful and reassuring for me. One of my objectives for this blog is to collect a bunch of great links that will be useful for people, and keep them coming back. For more, check out Miss 604’s synopsis here. […]

  5. Internet Marketing Conference: Welcome to Panel Day » Vancouver Blog Miss 604 by Rebecca BollwittFriday, September 12th, 2008 — 9:39am PDT

    […] what you have to say with the fewest possible words.” [Editor’s note: This reminds me of Tim Bray’s advice from Open Web – #6 of the commandments, “be […]

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