Introducing Yodel Anecdotal

Today is a great day. I get to open my mouth and let you in on the project I've been working on ever since I arrived at Yahoo! earlier this summer. I present to you Yodel Anecdotal, the corporate blog for Yahoo!. So I bet you've got flashes of Dell's One2One corporate blog floating around and thoughts pondering whether Yahoo! already has a similar blog. Well I'm here to tell you that Yodel Anecdotal is completely different. Sure Yahoo! has over 10 blogs for just about every Yahoo! product and service, but it lacked one for the company itself.

What Yodel Anecdotal is About

Yodel Anecdotal is not the type of blog you visit to check if there's a new API for that JavaScript library you so dearly love nor is it the kind of blog you go to get info on the company's earnings reports. It's what Yahoo! is all about - the culture, the traditions and some dabbling of current hot topics in the general tech realm. You don't have to be a Computational Media major at a top 10 public university to understand what's going on. User interaction is encouraged on Yodel Anecdotal. I would say more but I think Nicki Dugan covered it all when she wrote the about page. If you're wondering what the name is all about... pick up the feed and stay tuned.

What I Did for Yahoo!

I flew to California thinking I was just going to be a blogger intern, but then again Yahoo! is not your ordinary Internet company. I ended up having a huge effect on the blog's current state. Taking on the role of lead developer, I transformed mere Photoshop mock-ups into an A-grade browser compatible blog. And for the record, I could have done it in a week if I had a Mac at work. =)


With a Yahoo! Web Hosting Professional server at my disposal, I quickly setup a new WordPress install and began creating a Yahoo!-worthy theme. However, my gig wasn't just CSS, XHTML and a wee bit o' PHP. I made many of the small graphics on the site in addition to fixing up many images (stuff like this) taken by an excellent photographer hired by Yahoo!, for the header images. You will soon notice the images in the header rotate (via this script) every page load - there are quite a few header images. Try to guess how many we're running.. I dare you.

One of the aspects of the site, other than struggling with Internet Explorer, that I spent a lot of time on was integrating other Yahoo! properties into Yodel Anecdotal. I came up with the idea to integrate the most recent 6 photos from a Flickr account we created, which was made in a few minutes thanks to the help of Dave Kellam's nifty flickrRSS plugin. To seamlessly integrate audio content in future posts I installed a flash-based audio player plugin that does just the trick. I ditched the standard WordPress search for Yahoo! search. Also included were bookmark buttons and Yahoo! 360 blog buttons. In the way of usability, a "Top" button was added to the bottom of each post, as the frontpage will soon become rather lengthy.

Yodel Anecdotal

In the way of monitoring traffic, readership and growth I convinced Yahoo! to jump on the Mint and FeedBurner (thanks to Don Loeb at FeedBurner for helping us with some nitty gritty feed stuff) bandwagon. Thanks to Steve Smith's FeedBurner redirection plugin, the end user will almost never notice our use of FeedBurner. For when the traffic gets too great I implemented a modified, Yahoo!-server friendly version of WP-Cache with the help of Van Pham. While I was at it, I installed a nifty Head META Description plugin that does SEO wonders. I also used valid XHTML markup where possible. The last bit of optimization came in the form of going through the theme files with a fine-tooth comb and rewriting dirty PHP calls while removing extraneous ones. Speaking of PHP, did you know the PHP creator Rasmus Lerdorf works at Yahoo! in Sunnyvale?

I could go on all day but that's seriously enough tech talk, you get the idea. Go check out the site! Oh and please do us a favor by blogging about it!