One day last week, as I rounded a corner on the second of the two interstates that I take to work, I noticed a familiar site: Traffic was at a standstill. For miles. Stuck in the left lane with no exit for at least a mile, I pulled out my cell phone. But instead of calling the office to let them know I’d be a few minutes late, I pulled up on my mobile browser and “tweeted” that I was stuck in traffic about two miles from the office.

Twitter is a social networking service that allows users to post text updates of 140 characters or fewer visible to anyone who’s chosen to follow them. Because of the simplicity of Twitter, everyone arguably uses it differently. But since fellow Hammockites Laura, Rex, Summer, Patrick, Ben and Barbara M. choose to follow my Twitter updates, they were able to see I wasn’t at work because I was stuck in traffic. From the updates of other Nashville Twitterers I follow I soon learned the hold up was an overturned truck, and that I’d be better off exiting the interstate instead of trying to make my way through the last couple miles to my exit.

While we mainly use IM for quick conversations in the office, we can often be found tweeting at each other in response to questions we’ve posed on Twitter, varying from lunch plans to story ideas. I have often complained to the Twitter universe about how cold it is at my desk, only to be met with a retort from down the hall about the blazing inferno that is a colleague’s office. I personally find Twitter especially useful as a sounding board for story ideas, as I can get diverse feedback from the people around the world who’ve chosen to follow my updates.

But as long as I continue to have a long commute (75.2 miles round trip each day, but who’s counting?), Twitter will most likely serve as my No. 1 resource for real-time traffic updates. That is, until I learn to harness the power of wormholes and can teleport myself to work.

The April/May issue of MyBusiness which we publish for NFIB is hitting homes this week. The focus is on NFIB’s ramped up efforts to reform small business health care. NFIB recently launched Solutions Start Here, an aggressive national campaign to ensure that legislators will keep small business in mind when discussing health care reform for the country. The feature article Solutions Start Here has more details on how small businesses can join the fight.
Also check out this issue’s MyBusiness Manual: The Essential Guide to Small Business Benefits for tips on how to attract top notch employees—and keep the ones you’ve got happy and loyal.
As always, this issue of MyBusiness is packed with tons of great tips, tricks and other must-read stories for small business owners, so head over to to take a look.

While most of my work is done using a Mac, the Web work I do requires Internet Explorer in a Windows environment, which used to mean I had to work on two separate computers. However, because I work with a bunch of Apple nerds for such a great company, when my old iMac died I got outfitted with a brand new MacBook–capable of running Windows right alongside Mac OS X using some software called Parallels.

Running two operating systems on one computer might not sound like that big of a deal, but trust me, it’s awesome. Not only does it save me from having to physically move back and forth between two machines on my desk, but when I want to take my work home I can just grab the MacBook and go–no more worrying about what files I’ve copied to the server (or if the Windows laptop will actually connect to the server once I’m at home). And, I can actually copy and paste content back and forth between the two environments. Got some text in a document I wrote in the Mac OS that I need posted to the Web? Open-apple C will copy my text from the Mac environment and open-apple V will paste it into the Windows area. (Yes, I realize I sound like a colossal dork right now. But after months of using my computer this way, I’m still impressed with how much more efficiently I’m working.)

And you know what the best part is? I don’t have to lug around that ugly 12-pound IBM anymore.