13 Comments

Summary:

If you work remotely from your colleagues — whether you’re a telecommuter or a freelancer or entrepreneur joining with other entrepreneurs loosely across geography — it’s helpful to let associates know what you’re up to on an hour-by-hour, day-by-day basis. In the presence of ubiquitous connectivity and absence of facetime, use workstreaming: publishing work-related activities and events to your remote colleagues, usually via RSS but sometimes in other formats and ways.

If you work remotely from your colleagues — whether you’re a telecommuter or a freelancer or entrepreneur joining with other entrepreneurs loosely across geography — it’s helpful to let associates know what you’re up to on an hour-by-hour, day-by-day basis. In the presence of ubiquitous connectivity and absence of facetime, use workstreaming.

I defined workstreaming last March as “the publishing of work-related activities and events to your remote colleagues, usually via RSS but sometimes in other formats and ways.” This jumps off the idea of lifestreaming: sharing a moment-by-moment or event-by-event account of your life, whether through video or blogs or tools like Jaiku and FriendFeed.

How can you do workstreaming? Message boards can work well for corporate teams: post a message when a project milestone is reached, a document is available for review, a sale has been closed, a bug fixed. On her new blog Anywired, Skellie offers tips for using micro-blogs like Tumblr, Twitter, and Soup.io to do it. A macro-blog like WordPress or Blogger works well as a coarse-grained, person-focused workstream. Stowe Boyd is working on a secretive project called Workstreamr that he calls his greatest obsession. I can’t wait to see it.

Do you want to learn more about workstreaming and other new ways that web workers succeed when ubiquitous connectivity is a given but face-to-face contact is not? Then check out Web Worker Daily’s book Connect! A Guide to a New Way of Working, where I discuss workstreaming and other secrets of success in the connected age.

Related research

Subscriber Content
?
Subscriber content comes from Gigaom Research, bridging the gap between breaking news and long-tail research. Visit any of our reports to learn more and subscribe.
By Anne Zelenka
  1. Twitter is awesome for precisely this reason. It is quite freaky to get minute to minute updates on what thought leaders in the new media/blogging space are doing.

    For Web Workers who are learning as they go along and start ups and freelancers looking for tips this is invaluable.

    Share
  2. I have never used Jaiku but I am addicted to Twitter. I also use Tumblr where all my blog posts and Twitter updates are logged.

    Share
  3. twitter is changing the way we socialise – away from multi-this-and-that to a simplified point of view..

    Share
  4. LOL @Twitter,
    I’ll stick with programs like dotproject & exchange calendars / CRMs for this sort of application / tracking.

    Share
  5. I’d love to use Twitter for this, but the rest of my team is not yet drinkin’ the kool aid. We go a less “immediate” route, and everyone sends out daily emails of what they’ll be doing that day and what got accomplished yesterday. It’s actually a HUGE help since we’re all remote.

    Share
  6. Great post Anne. I work with a team based in several remote, international locations. Some are using Twitter and we’re using Basecamp and Skype extensively.

    A shared chat group in Skype works really well if you’re interested in staying connected and less interested in publishing and saving a log of your work.

    Heading over to Amazon to order Connect!:)

    Share
  7. We are using Skype too.

    Share
  8. Yup this is my work and home setup since October. Works well – transparency and a good level of privacy

    My recipe is
    * Soup.io for the lifestreamblog;
    * Twitter or Zooomr for the updates
    * Zooomr or Gallery2 for the images
    * gallery2 or Youtube for the vids
    * Rememberthemilk via Yahoo pipes for completed tasks
    *Skype and messengers through Pidgin

    MS free since 2003

    Share
  9. The problem with the workstreaming concept is that it obliterates one of the benefits of working remotely. I believe some of us are drawn to remote work precisely because we are burst workers (a concept also articulated in this blog.) Those of us who hyperfocus for short periods of time and take more downtime throughout the day will a) seem as if we’re “goofing off” when we step out of the stream and b) be forced to interrupt our productive flow to make gestures of “engagement.”

    Share
  10. [...] and I still need to be convinced that Twitter provides a useful experience for most people, but Web Worker Daily, which you know I hold in high esteem, sees the benefit of Twitter, and reports on it [...]

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post