Know Now…Or Learn Very, Very Soon

I caught a great post from Ed Kohler on his blog Technology Evangelist. He took some time to outlineĀ  25 Not-Very-Technical Things Journalists Should Understand in 2008. I noted that he chose not to use 2009…implying, of course, that journalists need to know it now, not for the future.

Even if you have never picked up a reporter’s notebook there are plenty of things on the list that, if you intend to communicate these days, you should know. Businesses need to connect to current and future customers, parents need to connect to their kids, employers need to connect with employees, etc. You will surely need to use the web to connect. If you don’t know now, learn in the near future. So let’s take a look at a modified list. You should know…

  1. The what where and how of a blog.
  2. How to embed photos and videos on a website or blog.
  3. What is, and how to buy, a domain name.
  4. What is, and how to use, an RSS reader.
  5. How to do some advanced searches online.
  6. How Wikipedia (or any wiki) works and changes over time.
  7. How to join conversations on blogs.
  8. How to upload photos and video to the web.
  9. How to record audio.
  10. How to shoot video.
  11. If you are trying to reach specific audience, how to measure a your content’s performance.
  12. How to use Facebook and LinkedIn. (MySpace as well if you anything to do with music.)
  13. How to use Twitter.
  14. How to find experts on the web.
  15. How to secure your laptop.
  16. How secure your browser to limit access to what your kids can see.
  17. How to keep your personal information safe online.
  18. How to back everything up…in more than one place.
  19. How to delete all the stuff you’ll never use or knew existed on your computer.
  20. How to be honest and real online. Not as easy at it may sound.

So I ended up with 20. What did I miss?


  1. Wired just published a story that blogs are DEAD! So 2004!

  2. I’d disagree that blogs are dead. Blogs do not have the pure “back channel” feel that they once enjoyed but they still seem to be working as a powerful tool that connects people and ideas. I suspect blogs have a bigger future yet to come.

    I don’t really have anything to add to Phil’s list. But this post was emailed to me by a friend asking “How do I do this?” I think they meant, “Where do I start?”

    To me the answer is, “Start anywhere.” Start with ONE or TWO of these things. Comment on some blogs. Open a Linkedin and/or Facebook account. Start playing with it.

    If those things are already done, open a WordPress site or sign in to Twitter.

    Most of the things on this list can be learned by most anyone with 10th grade education.

    Be yourself. Don’t write and revise 75 times if you’re posting a blog comment; just write. Conversational tone key.

    Suspend your fear. You won’t break it.