Archive for January, 2008

Is there such a thing as Twitter etiquette?

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

We got talking about Twitter etiquette at the Geek Breakfast, and I decided I was going to do a post about the emerging dynamics of being polite while micro-blogging.

Jackson seemed to think that was pretty ironic, though, since I’m apparently violating the #1 rule of Twitter etiquette: don’t post daily recaps of your Twitter updates in your blog. Or at least don’t make it the only content you post for a week or more.

In my defense, I said, I’ve been modifying my Twitter updates since I started doing that so that they’d be somewhat more substantive. That got a mumble of support, but the message was clear: daily Twitter summary posts do not make up for real blog content.

OK, so there’s rule number one, and I’m public enemy number one, and now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on to number two, shall we?

The ability to track topics is one of Twitter’s most useful features. I track several keywords, and when I find myself reading updates from the same people multiple times, I decide that they must be worth following. I don’t just start following them, though — I send them a direct message letting them know I saw their posts about magazines, say, or songwriting, and am now following them. So far no one has acted like I’m stalking them, and most of the people I contact that way end up following me back.

So rule #2 is: before you follow someone you don’t know, send a message and let him or her know why you’re following them. If nothing else, this will let the other person know what content is most interesting to other people, and that’s always handy to know.

Alright, so there are the first two rules: one of which I’m bad about, and one of which I’m good about. What would you add to the list?

links for 2008-01-29

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

Twitter Updates for 2008-01-28

Monday, January 28th, 2008
  • @jaxn does it seem sneaky and shady when magazine retailers offer free magazine trials? or just other retailers? #
  • why does it feel like everyone hates me today? i’m a nice person, i swear. :) #

Always make new mistakes

Monday, January 28th, 2008

I have a magnet on my desk with the message “always make new mistakes.” When I saw it at Wild Oats I bought it because, at the time, I was involved in several projects at work that felt like instant replays of projects from my distant and not-too-distant past.

But even now — and in fact, every day — it comes in handy as a reminder that making mistakes can be extremely valuable, just as long as you learn from them.

Last year, I managed the redesign of our web site’s checkout function to allow new customers to pass through without having to register. When we finally launched it to 100% of our audience, it had a glitch that prevented many users from being able to check out at all. In one day, that error cost the company about $17,000.

Luckily, we resolved the issue and re-launched, and the checkout process has been successful, certainly earning back many times what it cost that day. (The CFO jokingly asked me that day if he should just take the $17K out of my paycheck, and I said sure, as long as I get to keep what I bring in, too.)

Today I realized that even while redesigning the checkout, I completely overlooked a similar process on the site that is totally inconsistent with the way we handle checkout and very probably confusing as hell for our users. I mean, of course there are loads of things wrong with our site — we’re working on a complete overhaul, but it will be a gradual process — but the two processes in question are areas that I personally touched last year and attempted to optimize, apparently blind to how unnecessarily different they are.

It’s always tempting to beat myself up at a realization like that, and think what a terrible job I’ve done. But I haven’t done a terrible job — I’ve incrementally improved two important areas of the site, and now the right thing to do is to make them work well together.

I have another desk-top adage in the form of a cardboard sign with an image of Snoopy and, in German (I found it in Germany 15 years ago), “As long as you learn new tricks, no one can call you an old dog.”


“The Elton John of tigers”

Monday, January 28th, 2008

The Elton John of tigers

Originally uploaded by Kate O’

This is the handiwork of my coworker Heather, who gave my glow-in-the-dark collapsible tiger a suit made of Cherry Cordial Hershey’s Kiss wrappers. I think I speak for us all when I say “awesome.”

links for 2008-01-28

Monday, January 28th, 2008

links for 2008-01-27

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

Twitter Updates for 2008-01-26

Saturday, January 26th, 2008
  • at a garden design class at cheekwood. getting very inspired. now it just has to warm up enough for me to work in the garden. :) #

Spoiled, spoiled kittehs

Saturday, January 26th, 2008

I just ordered one of these:

I can’t wait until it gets here.

The only problem is, if it’s really popular with the target demographic, I may have to order five more.

Twitter Updates for 2008-01-25

Friday, January 25th, 2008
  • Watching a screening of Uncounted with a great group of liberal bloggers. #
  • "No one has ever been able to explain to me the difference between a conspiracy and a long range business plan." from "Uncounted" #
  • Check out for what you can do to help make every vote count. #

Twitter Updates for 2008-01-24

Thursday, January 24th, 2008
  • our creative director sent me an mp3 of a song called "make the logo bigger" to make me laugh while i’m sick. it’s rockingly hilarious. #
  • @marcuswhitney momentum is an amazing force in the universe. inertia, too. guess which side i’d rather be on? #
  • having persistent wrist pain. very frustrated about it. i so do NOT need carpal tunnel syndrome flare-up right now, thankyouverymuch. #

Twitter Updates for 2008-01-23

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008
  • exhausted from 6-hour meeting today, and still have to write up my notes and update my to do list as a result. yawn! #
  • can’t believe i’ve reached my 250 message limit on twitter so early in the week. sheesh! #
  • at home sick today with, apparently, the same stomach flu from sunday. yuck. #
  • placed a special order for fresh vegan lemon pepper pasta from lazzaroli’s. it’ll be ready to pick up on friday. yum! #
  • @mycropht i can’t pick a favorite, myself. arrested development was solidly funny from start to end for me. great. now i have to watch i … #
  • @brittneyg hee! congrats. and to think, you were coming to interview with us when you took that pic. ;) #

When Google gets in the way: a mini-rant

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

Oh, and you know what’s annoying? How links in Google search results are all embedded with lots of Google-y stuff now, so you can’t just right click on a link in results to use for your own blogging purposes. You actually have to click through to the link and then copy it to clipboard, or manually click and select the unlinked URL from the bottom of the result entry. That’s seriously annoying.

Sorry. As you were.

Can’t a girl have a big-ass glass of booze anymore?

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

If you saw this, you had to have known I’d be all over it. ("All over it" meaning, of course, linking to it lazily without much comment.) From Jezebel, a "Network"-worthy rant about our inalienable right to a cocktail or three:

Here’s the thing: We’ve got higher life expectancies these days but we’re in a fast-paced, globally-warmed, been-there-done-that, terrorism-threat-level-permanently-orangeish world where there are few legal ways to soothe the soul; and sometimes chocolate and pictures of kittens just aren’t enough. Many of us emerge from our square-ish homes, travel in boxy vehicles to spend the day in a cube of a workspace. Why not hit the bar for some actual social human interaction? The ancient Greeks had Dionysus; we have happy hour. The government thinks you drink too much? So what?! And if you’re successful, working hard, isn’t there something civilized about an after-work cocktail? Does anyone else want to raise a glass and toast the invention of alcohol?

Never fear: I do. Cheers.

Twitter Updates for 2008-01-22

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008
  • @jaxn well you know where to get your people subscription. ahem. #

Twitter Updates for 2008-01-21

Monday, January 21st, 2008
  • updating my queue on netflix. it’s silly how rarely i do that. #
  • just listed my first-ever freecycle offers. i’m psyched to clear clutter and get my stuff to new homes with people who will appreciate it. #
  • @tubenerd sorry you’re all flu-ey. i am too…ey. #
  • recovering from stomach flu and preparing for my first executive staff meeting tomorrow. lots to do! no time for flu! #

Twitter Updates for 2008-01-19

Saturday, January 19th, 2008
  • getting my gtd system re-started #
  • @marcuswhitney nashville jazz workshop is right near me, so if you go there, holler and we can have drinks at germantown cafe #
  • @mashby i’m a big fan of for keeping track of my various lists. what about you? #

Twitter Updates for 2008-01-18

Friday, January 18th, 2008
  • warm 3-berry muffin for breakfast. if it gets better than this, i sure don’t know how. #
  • about to leave the office and spend the weekend alternately relaxing and organizing #

Twitter Updates for 2008-01-17

Thursday, January 17th, 2008
  • slowly waking up with nyc-sized hangover #
  • waiting in newark airport for my flight back to nashville. #
  • shut up you masher. :) #
  • about to run out of battery on my laptop. trying to do one last thing, and then one more last thing… #

Twitter Updates for 2008-01-16

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008
  • Excited to have finally gotten a "Go public." bumper sticker from Nashville Public Radio. I’ve arrived! #

Twitter Updates for 2008-01-15

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008
  • installing iphone update. and trying not to think about macbook air, time capsule, or any other new apple products that aren’t free. #

Twitter Updates for 2008-01-14

Monday, January 14th, 2008
  • weekend is winding down & i’m satisfied. tidied email, read feeds, did laundry, edited wardrobe, baked muffins, had pizza & wine. & more. :) #

Twitter Updates for 2008-01-13

Sunday, January 13th, 2008
  • edited my skirt wardrobe. had 51 skirts. prob’ly a few too many. giving 19 to goodwill. getting 1 repaired. prob’ly still a few too many. #
  • @tubenerd i’ve seen a few, but i’m not crazy about any of ‘em. i’ve been setting up remember the milk for gtd-esque nirvana. getting closer. #

And one more along those same lines

Sunday, January 13th, 2008

Sorry, one more “compare and contrast” picture pairing that I’m enjoying:

Front of house with neighboring houses

Big house, little house, big house

Aside from the fact that the trees are all lush and green in the first picture and all winter-blah in the second, I guess it’s no secret which one makes me happier, is it?

Bear with me while I enjoy how far we’ve come

Sunday, January 13th, 2008

I just uploaded a picture to Flickr that I took of the front of the house during the brief snowfall we had on New Year’s Day. While I was tagging it, I went back looking through old pictures of the front of the house and was absorbing just how much work has gone into it. I made a comment on the picture with this string of pictures, but wanted to share it here too:

Front view of Germantown house

Front of house

Scaffolding in front of house

Demolition has begun!

Five or six days later, front porch is a pile of rubble, 3/23/2007

Front wall below doorway during repair by great masonry crew

Front porch and stairway in development

Porch and door

And the current pic is this:

Magic hour... and snow!

I’m so tickled. I love this house. I consider myself incredibly lucky to live here.