Micro-blogging, tumbling and blogging

I’m sure many of you have read the post about Journaling versus Blogging, it was featured on a number of websites, including the German productivity blog imgriff. Somehow related to that post, I have to confess that recently I came across a number of similar patterns I tend to develop when it comes to blogging, and those patterns are grouping into new and interesting activities. In fact, there is much more than blogging, as the title of this post already told you. It seems that blogging as a process reached a certain level of maturity, which will naturally be followed by some sort of splitting into much more specialized activities.

Blogging in (r)evolution

Several years ago having a blog was a monolithic activity. Blogging in itself seemed like a one time / one player activity. You pick a topic, establish a posting routine, start writing and there you are, the next big thing of the blogosphere.

In the last two years this has dramatically changed. With the proliferation of social networking tools and with some very simple yet innovative services like twitter, tumblr or, in a different league, friend feed, the situation is completely different than 2 years ago. Blog networks written by armies of bloggers, solitary twitter heroes and companion tumblrs for every successful mainstream blog, all of these are just common sense nowadays.

What made this possible? And what seems to be the underlying reason for this?

Well, first of all, the expressivity of blogging in itself has reached the ceiling. There is some deep need for something different. The audience has been exposed enough time to this type of creativity. We all know now what a post is, what can you do in a comment, and how pingbacking works… It seems that the message is forced to change the medium here, trying to subtly evolve into new patterns and structures.

Second, it seems that blogging in itself has reached a certain level of formalism which made simpler for services like tumblr to streamline the blog to a thinner experience. You don’t need a truck to go from point A to point B, or, in terms of blogging, you don’t need a full blown blog to express yourself. All you need is the ability to post a picture, a quote, a sentence, or a link. You might think that this simplistic approach will not make history, but the web is just telling the other way around.

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iPhone productivity application reviewed: WhatTasks

The GTD galore is spreading along quite nicely, not only in a vertical direction, by reaching more and more adepts in its traditional western cultural space, but also in new spaces, some of them well over the Atlantic Ocean. One of these days I found the first Brasilian iPhone application which claims to implement the core GTD rules. The application is called WhatTasks and it costs 3,99 USD at the Apple AppStore (on the WhatTasks web page they are advertising a 4,99 USD price, but they also say that “international pricing is available”, so I guess I’ve been included in some kind of discount…). I’ve been contacted directly by the developer, Felipe Belo, a few weeks ago, with a polite request to tell my opinion about this. So, after I finally set up my new 3g iPhone – a white one, you can imagine that? – I thought I should give it a try.

The first thing to know about WhatTasks is that it comes in 2 flavors, a free, limited version, and a full featured version at the price of 3,99 USD. The limited version is called WhatTasks Lite and I installed it on my iPhone 2 weeks ago. What this application is doing is basically a list management. You can create as many lists as you want and add items to them. Once an item is done you can check it out. That’s basically all. It manages the “what” in your everyday activities.

But the real power of the application comes in the paid version (this is somehow predictable, if you ask me). The paid version also gives you access to the “when” and “where” of your activities. This is one of the core principles of GTD: you are doing actions in contexts and at specific dates. You are not just a robot which does everything as it comes, regardless of the specific time or place: you can group your spaces of action into contexts, and you can also group your doing intervals in time chunks: right now, tomorrow or even someday / maybe, if you are not sure of the exact schedule. By adding the “when” and “where” dimensions to the “what” of an action, WhatTasks really comes close to the GTD aware user.

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