Be your own Big Brother: workstreaming

I came across an interesting concept on Web Worker Daily.  It is called "workstreaming" and it basically involves publishing a constant stream of information about what your are doing throughout your work day.  This can be done using a variety of tools that publish, among other things, RSS feeds about your daily activities and this is done to keep a number of people updated for a number of reasons.  Your boss may want to keep tabs on how that project is developing or your clients may want to know what is happening with their jobs. 

Being an entrepreneur and solo practitioner the idea of publishing job specific feeds is of more interest to me because they would theoretically enable me to automate the update process for my clients.  If I could publish a feed for each job it would enable my clients to receive the raw updates through their feedreader or by email using an RSS-to-email application like Feedburner or FeedBlitz.

It just occurred to me that this is very possible using at least one web application that is available now, Basecamp.  According to an article on the Everything Basecamp site:

We’ve been noticing that some people have been sharing their Basecamp RSS feeds with other people in their company or their clients. It’s very important that you don’t share your RSS feeds with anyone. Each person has their own RSS feeds, and each person’s RSS feeds are custom generated based on their permissions.
If you share your feed with someone else who doesn’t have access to a project that you have access to, they’ll be able to see things in the project they aren’t supposed to see. This is especially important when dealing with clients — sharing your feed with a client will allow them to see messages marked as "Private" or other content they shouldn’t see.
Each person with a unique Basecamp login needs to subscribe to their own RSS feed(s). If you’ve shared your RSS feed URL, click on the People tab, click "edit" under your personal information, and reset your password. That will reset your RSS feed URL. You’ll need to resubscribe to your feeds after that, but it will ensure that other people who you’ve shared your feeds with will no longer be able to get new content through your feeds.
This is for your protection and so no one that you are working with sees something they shouldn’t see. Please make sure everyone in your company that uses Basecamp knows about this. Thanks for your attention to this matter.

The one challenge with these feeds is that they are authenticated so if your feed reader doesn’t support authenticated feeds you may have a problem!  This sort of thing also introduces a level of accountability because now your clients can see whether you are working on their file and expect you to answer for why their job seems to be lagging.  If you are customer-focussed you may see this as a forced way to improve your response times because you know your clients are waiting and watching.

This capability really introduces opportunities to keep clients in the loop.  What is that worth to you? 

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