Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Introducing Ben's Scratch Pad

I've added a new piece to Ben's Journal - Ben's Scratch Pad. Folks will quickly recognize this as my twitter stream.

I've been thinking through twitter, trying to decide if it deserves a place in my publishing toolkit. On one hand, I really like how easy it is to publish with it. Quick thoughts, links, quotes and other small bits of content seem like better candidates for twitter than for my regular blog. Perhaps most importantly, the small format size should make my commitment of almost-daily posting an easier one to fulfill.

On the other hand, I didn't want to divide my already limited effort between two sites. I have enough trouble getting folks to read my blog - getting them to read my twitter stream seems like another big hurdle.

Then it hit me - I have total control over the benjisimon.blogspot.com. Rather than thinking of twitter as a secondary site, I decided to integrate into my existing site. You can't help read one without reading the other.

Now when I have a really busy day, and just have enough time to post a few snippets to twitter, my blog visitors will be treated to at least some fresh content. Mission accomplished. Almost.

What if you don't read my blog by visiting my website? What if you just read the feed. A quick Google search for feed splicing found this useful article on the topic. It turns out, Yahoo offers Pipes which among other things, glues together RSS feeds.

As a side note, Yahoo Pipes really is remarkable. It makes use of a graphical approach to composing feeds. In fact, it's the closest thing to a Graphical Programming Language that I've ever seen work. Check out my pipe here for an example.

The end result is I now have a new feed URL. Click here to subscribe to it. This feed allows you to simultaneously read both my Journal and my Scratch Pad at the same time.

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