Tuesday, August 19, 2008

How to Streamline Your Social Updates

Last week, I talked about websites and software that can help you keep up with your colleagues all in one place. These social aggregators collect updates from a variety of social networks (like Facebook and Twitter) and present them all on one organized webpage. Set one up, and you easily keep up with what your friends, family, and colleagues are saying online.

That’s only half of the challenge of social networking though. What can you do to make sure that everyone sees what you have to say without visiting a dozen social networking sites? Social aggregators can help you here too.

Many of the tools that I mentioned last week not only allow you to read updates from all your friends in one place but also allow you to post updates to multiple sites. You write one updates, and the social aggregator pushes that update to all the networks you want. If you’re primarily interested in microblogging, for instance, a tool like Twhirl will allow you to post your 140-character update to your account at three different sites—Twitter, Jaiku, and Pownce. You’ll find other aggregators that allow you to both read from multiple sites and post the same update to those sites. The most universal tools I’ve found are Ping.fm and AtomKeep.

Ping.fm is to posting your updates what FriendFeed is to reading details from all your social networks. Once you’ve signed up for an account on Ping.fm, you can post a single update to over twenty different social networks, including Facebook, MySpace, Blogger, and Twitter. Settings in Ping.fm keep track of whether a network only posts microblog updates, status updates, or full blogs. And not only does this site streamline and organize the way you post updates to your friends and colleagues, Ping.fm allows you to send you posts by instant messages, from your cell phone, and from a Facebook application in addition to sending your posts from the Ping.fm website. It’s a great tool for simplifying the way you keep in touch with everyone. The site is still in its beta stage, so you need an invitation code. Use code “vivalaping” to get started.

Now that you’ve simplified the process of posting updates, what do you do when your homepage address needs to be updated on all those social networking sites? Who wants to visit all of them just to change that information in a profile. Here’s a secret: Set up AtomKeep and you won’t have to. You just enter your profile information on the AtomKeep site, and then you can sync your details with nearly thirty different websites. You may be worried about security, but no worries there. The site is not automatic. You tell it when to update another site, and you must enter your usersname and password each time, so your profiles should stay relatively safe. A word of caution: pay attention to the details that you enter for your profile and where you update. You may have a private website that you do not want to share on Facebook, for instance. AtomKeep has no way of knowing to exclude that website when it syncs things for you. The best rule of thumb is to only put information in AtomKeep that you would post on every site you add to your account.

So there you have it—FriendFeed from last week’s post and Ping.fm, and AtomKeep this week. Together the three sites should make it far easier to keep up with the Web 2.0 world. They’re all web-based and all free. Set them all up now, and you’ll be able to keep up with friends, family, and colleagues even when you’re busy in the classroom this fall!

4 comments:

Mark NP said...

Thank you! This was useful and informative. I reached your blog through the NCTE newsletter.

I will add you to my bloglines acct. I hope that you continue to post about other neat, timesaving web 2.0 applications in the future.

Anonymous said...

I have a classroom of 1 to 1 computers for English 11 and am benefiting from every trick of technology that you share! We use Moodle and Criterion. Have you mentioned Moodle yet? It's a good tool for those who have classroom computers.

Erin said...

Flock is a nice social web browser with an aggregator built in. I started using it this summer and has fueled my addictions (facebook, delicious, wordpress).
http://www.flock.com/

Rollercoaster said...

Sorry this comment doesn't apply to this post. I tried the "Middle Section" blog - it's pretty sparse and outdated. Hmmmm.