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Blogging Made Simple

If you’ve ever been interested in starting a blog but we’re overwhelmed by where to start, you should check out Tumblr. Tumblr is what I would call a microblogging tool which falls somewhere between the more editorial style of WordPress and the IM style of Twitter. I recently decided to try it out and have been using it for more of a personal blog.

What I really love about Tumblr is its simplicity. They have narrowed down a post to seven topics; text, quotes, video, audio, chat, links, and photos. This quickly puts you in the proper mindset for what you’re posting and the related form simplifies the posting process. The design is easy to use and it doesn’t get in the way. If you have a thought that you want to share with the world, you can do so without much effort.

Finally, what intrigued me the most about Tumblr is the ability to post from my iPhone. This is something I’ve been looking to do through WordPress.com but haven’t had much luck. With Tumblr, I can easily post new topics through email and the nature of the microblogging format works perfectly for a mobile platform.

One area where I think Tumblr could use some work is in searching its user community . It appears that you can follow other people within the Tumblr network but I haven’t discovered a way to search based on topics. Right now, you need to know the URL, username, or email address of the person you would like to follow. I’m sure this is a feature that will be added or maybe I’ve overlooked it.

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I consider Hugh MacLeod’s blog a must read but I really enjoyed this post on his blogging speech at Edelman. It’s the kind of post you’ll want to print out and distribute to everyone at your company.

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My email is out of control. Not in the sense that I receive too much volume (although that can be a problem) but in the sense that tracking projects, archiving important resources, and keeping up with company information is not what email was originally meant for and I’m guessing there are many people feeling the same burden.

Let’s take company communication for example. I’m willing to bet that most people receive some kind of company update on a regular basis whether it’s a sales communication to marketing or an HR communication to the whole company, email is perhaps the worst way to deliver such information. We see these things, say I’ll go back to it later, and then several hundred emails later we remember we wanted to read something but can’t remember what it was or when we received it.

This is where a good company intranet comes in, especially one built on flexible Web 2.0 applications such blogs, wikis, and tagging. Companies need to deliver tools that employees can use to collaborate with online. Whether it’s a sales wiki that archives the latest documents to be shared with marketing or a blog from the VP of Sales talking about the latest trends in the field, using such tools would vastly change communication in a company for the better.

I’m tired of the weekly spam email. Instead, employees should be able to go out and find the information on the intranet that they need and subscribe to the RSS feeds that deliver this information instantaneously. Personally, I’d rather have one place that I go to for this type of company information and free up my email client to track my direct communication with my fellow employees. An RSS client is better suited for tracking this type of information and employees can use it to easily tag, and later find, the information that is important to them.

The benefits of such a system clearly out weighs the “this is how we’ve always done it” system. Just because the current system works, doesn’t mean it’s the most efficient solution. Remember, less than 20 years ago email was in such an underdog position. Now a business wouldn’t even think operating without it.

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