Okay, it’s that moment when the last breath of the year hurrumphs and lumbers forward before it’s time to change the dates on the checks (and everything else). This is usually the moment when I start looking forward, but I am going to look back and ask “What tools and resources went viral for me in 2011?”
I love Storify. The new design is confusing, accessing current data from the Twitter and Facebook APIs is pretty chancy, but the basic capability to put a narrative together using social media content , hashtags and text is just superb. I covered everything from a teen group competing on a national TV show to Occupy Oakland using Storify.
2. Gmail filters and folders and labels
After my 300+ emails a day threatened to drive me insane, I did some serious research abut managing the inbox and took advice from Lifehacker. Strategies?
- Create filters for everything and everything not essential straight to the folder to refer to later.
- Use the labels “Action Needed,” “File me” and, in my case, “Story possibility” and “Ad prospect” to sort mail.
3. Music: Renting, not buying
I started paying for two music apps in 2011. I’d started with Pandora, which I love, in 2009; I’m now also paying for Spotify. The Pandora investment led me to British composer and pianist Helen Long, whom I adore and play all the time when I work; the Spotify investment allowed me to check out and play selections from several of the collections that the NY Times’ Jim Fusilli named as top albums (for want of a better word). I’d never heard Paul Simons’ “So Beautiful or So What” before. Wow.
4. Going to the gym 3 times a week and doing my circuit
I’ve been going to the gym for more than 2 years, but this is the year I’ve somehow internalized that I need to go regularly–and do aerobics and lift weights (and stretch). The consistency is hard-won, but hopefully not too fragile.
5. Kindle/e books
Amy Gahran got me to try her old Kindle and I got hooked. I’ve now bought two Kindles as gifts for family members (and linked them to my account) and downloaded more than 83 sample chapters and 38 books to my device (Some of the books are classics from Gutenberg). My rule is the Kindle is for travelling and actual books are for home, but I’m still sampling chapters like crazy on the Kindle, even at home. And it’s great.
6. Kale & Mustard Greens
We didn’t become vegan, and we didn’t quite go paleo, but we did embrace the dark green veggie thing, big time. I have passed through the making kale crisps with curry in the oven phase (I think), and am more in the sauteed greens at many meals a day stage.
My partner is a math wiz who dreams in Excel; I have been fighting a math block that kicked in as a teen all my life. It’s all A’s doing that I can do do things like forecast prospective value, all on my own, through the wonders of Excel.
8. Netflix for TV/Cable series
Gave up TV in 2008, got Netflix in 2010. 2011 was when I discovered TV series had changed. In the past year, I have very much enjoyed making my way through:
- Saving Grace
- Drop Dead Diva (gave up on it, kinda)
- The L Word
- Breaking Bad
I tried True Blood and Glee, but they didn’t stick.
I’m waaay too busy, with a job and a startup (okay, two jobs), but that makes maintaining close ties critical. My partner, my son, my siblings, my close friends…I made more effort this year to hold onto these connections, not that I always succeed as well as I might have. (And I won’t mention the great friends I need to see MORE.)
10. Planning events
I’ve been planning events most of my life, but really got in the groove this summer with Code for Oakland and the InOak lunch series. Now planning lots more for 2012. Fun–and a play to your strengths kind of thing for me.