The Very Rich Hours of the Lambrights

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Web 2.0 Communication Tools–23 Things Step #7

March 13th, 2008 · No Comments

The next step in the 23 Things on a Stick program is Web 2.0 communication tools. Some of the tools they highlight, such as email, aren’t really Web 2.0ish but can be used on the web that were not originally envisioned by their creators. I’m supposed to talk about how I use some of these things. OK!

Email–I use Microsoft Outlook for work (i.e. SELCO) email. Outlook is a fantastically powerful application that encompasses much more than mere email. That power, on the other hand, makes it a little cumbersome to use at times. There’s a lot here and the Help documentation is generally pretty sad. That’s not just a dig on Microsoft. Documentation and user support is pathetic across the software industry these days.

But we’re not here to talk about that today. For me, the biggest productivity booster in Outlook is it’s search capability.  I keep most non-distribution list email.  It serves as a written record of assignments I’ve made, assignments I get from my boss, things people have told me that I will not be able to remember, etc.  I used to have a carefully crafted, wonderfully intricate, and utterly maddening folder system to store this stuff so I could find it later.  Now, I tend to just dump it into a handful of very broad folders and rely on search to find the message I need.  It works very well.  I’ve experimented with personal wikis, text editors, and other tools to maintain this kind of information.  Using email is by far the most efficient.  The only times it fails is when I try to do things verbally.  I try not to do that or, if I have to, to send out a followup email summarizing the conversation.

I use Google mail for my personal mail.  It takes the whole concept of search and tagging to a whole new level.  I don’t use folders at all in Gmail.  Everything is tagged and resides in one of three places:  Inbox, Archive, or deleted.  I guess deleted isn’t really a place.  But you get the point.  Stuff I want to keep for the long haul goes into the Archive.  Everything else is deleted or just hangs in the Inbox where I use tags and search to find them later.  Works like a charm.

This is turning into a long post.  I’m going to go ahead and put it up.  I’ll talk about the other tools in my next post.

Tags: 23 Things on a Stick

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