Online communication is becoming central to most of our social and business lives. Face it – a laptop and smart phone/iPhone are the tools we use these days. It used to be the traditional telephone and the mail box, but now we have a lot of different ways to “explode” our messages, “go viral” and keep large groups of people updated.
The problem is… it’s really difficult to figure out what tools to use and how to stick to some habits and processes.
Here are five of my favorite tools/processes (I don’t have any affiliation with these co’s – I’m just an online tinkerer):
1) Ping.fm – I use Ping.fm to update business messages to a variety of different social media/business platforms. I use the ping.fm toolbar to share stories that I find useful with my Twitter, Plaxo and LinkedIn groups. I find that some people are more active on certain networks, and I don’t want to have to manually update everyone separately. Ping.fm works great for this. I don’t update my primary Facebook page with this tool because those are mostly “social” friends in there. But I do have it set up to update my QualityWriter fan page.. which is really a nascent thing. There’s a good article about the best ways to set up Ping.fm here. Chris Brogan and ProBlogger Darren Rowse have good articles about how to structure your information sharing hub with a “home base” and “outposts.” They’re worth checking out for strategy purposes.
2) Eye.fi – This is an SD memory card that goes into my digital camera. It stores photos and has a built-in Wi-Fi antenna (I’m amazed at how small the technology is – looks just like a regular SD card!). Whenever I arrive at my local network/home wireless network, Eye.fi auto-downloads all my photos and videos to folders on my computer and automatically uploads them to my services (Kodak Gallery, Flickr, YouTube and Facebook) based on my settings. This thing is dynamite. This has changed my photo managing habits. I now try to delete all bad photos and videos off of my camera before turning it on near my wireless network… before the “auto-up-suckage”. Another way to handle this is to use the Protect feature on your camera. Only photos that are protected are uploaded to your folders and networks.
3) Google Voice – Google has a voice/phone service that integrates your landline and cell phone and texting into a unified “inbox”. I give out my Google Voice number to select clients and friends. When they call it, both my office phone and cell phone ring. It’s like a “Bat Phone.” From my laptop, I can SMS text my Gmail contacts (which are really all my contacts). This makes it easy to type out longer txts without doing the big-finger-blackberry thing. All messages go through my Google Voice inbox. They’re transcribed into text and emailed to me, too. I think I can have them sent as texts to my cell phone, too (not sure about this one). There are lots of other cool features – check it out, you’ll see.
4) ShareIn – If I want to update Facebook and/or Twitter friends about a story I’ve just read or a video I’ve just watched, I use ShareIn. This is a browser bookmarklet that gives you a “one click” way to do so. No more copy and paste. I wrote an article on how I came to embrace ShareIn here: How to Simplify your Social Media Life: The Pros and Cons of Posterous, Soup.io, ShareIn and FriendFeed. Ping.fm does this, too. But Ping.fm is better for touching all groups at once. ShareIn is good when you know exactly who you want to send something to – Twitter folks (who are more business for me) or Facebook (who are more social friends).
5) Posterous – This blog/hosting services is a quick and easy to share photos, thoughts, articles, sounds and videos with friends and associates. See the “How to Simplify” link above for more of my thoughts on Posterous. Essentially, I use Posterous as a place to update close family and friends with my videos and photos of family life. I wouldn’t do this kind of in-depth posting on Facebook, because I don’t want to spam a loose group of social friends with too much cuteness, kid soccer games and such. Posterous, however, is a great place to archive stuff and allow family members to catch up. My family and friends don’t need to have an account or log in any way. It’s just my Posterous URL. Simple… and I can update it via email or the browser toolbar bookmarklet. Easy peasy.
Check out these awesome services. They’re all free – except for Eye.fi, which is a one time cha-ching (mine cost $69.99 at Amazon – with free shipping – shipping is a little steep from the main eye.fi site).
Please let me know your tips and tricks too by commenting below and sharing this post with your networks and groups. Thanks. – Phil