It’s really fun being part of online social networks. It’s fun to communicate with others and to share.
It’s a big pain in the *#$ to participate in all of the great networks out there. It’s really difficult to make sure we broadcast a consistent message across the different publishing platforms, but more importantly, its been a big inconvenience to scan all the networks to listen to what other people have been saying and sharing. Even following the same person and the different things that they share over different networks is challenging. While people may not post all of their flickr uploads on Twitter, you might like to see that information…
Tools have been around to help us with these problems for a while, but we’ve been slow to adopt them. We’ve gotten so used to using these tools inefficiently because we’ve developed a comfortable habit of doing it that way.
Let’s really define some best practices in terms of using social network tools.
Things to avoid:
- Duplicating efforts to publish content.
- Manually publishing content that can be done automatically.
- Bookmarking websites and sharing them as a multi-step process.
- Friend information disconnected from each service.
- Different accounts and different passwords for each network.
- A single point (or as few points as possible) to monitor selective information streams at any location.
- A single point (or as few points as possible) of publication for each type of task.
For these problems we can sometimes fix the problem by correctly linking our accounts together, or by taking advantage of tools that are out there. Other times we can only rely on services to adopt tecnologies like OpenID. None of the tools that can help us with these bad are perfect, but they’re on their way.
Ping.fm is a greatway to push out micro-blog updates, status updates, and social-bookmarks through one service. As of now, these are the services that I have intergrated through Ping.fm:
Ping.fm also has a ton of integration with different applications and tools at the Application Gallery http://ping.fm/apps/, which is great as it provide a lot of flexibility in publishing to different networks, and then flexibility in where you want to do your publishing. The great thing about Ping.fm is that if more social networks enter the scene, you can create and account, link it to Ping.fm once and be done with it. Suddenly more social networks does not add any more mental weight.
Another service that is similar to Ping.pm is Pixelpipe, though I haven’t spent enough time with it yet to really figure it out.
For reading content? Friendfeed.
I still have problems sometimes when trying to use Friedfeed.com for an extended period of time, but more recently I’ve come to appreciate how much time it saves me. It’s able to provide richer information than the Twitter stream, lets you participate by a sutble “Like” if you don’t want to leave a full comment.
There’s a lot of things that could be said about Friendfeed to emphasis the benefits it brings to the consumption aspect of social networks, but being able to participate on the consumption end of social networks across a person’s entire range of online activities is great.
How do you expand the reach of your content online or aggregate your stream?
Can you be more efficient by using only Ping.fm for pushing content, and Friendfeed for consuming?
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