Monday, June 25, 2012

Feedly - It's like Flipboard for your desktop. Sort of.

What I love about my iPad is that I can pick it up, open my Flipboard app and begin reading from all of the news websites (uh, hum my social media outlets) and ed tech blogs that I have hand picked. The best part is that these websites are arranged as if they were in a magazine or newspaper. Complete with a headlines and images. So, it makes choosing the articles to read a little easier. I'm a visual guy.
I love Flipboard for my iPad. However, I spend 85% of my day behind my desktop and there isn't a desktop version for Flipboard. So I went searching for my own and found FeedlyFeedly works very similar to the way Flipboard does. Once you sync your Google account Feedly takes your existing Google Reader feed and displays it on your desktop in a magazine or newspaper type layout for easy navigation. I use my Google Reader quite a bit, but I'm lazy and I don't like scrolling through an entire post to get to the next article. And just displaying the title isn't good for me. Remember, visual guy here.
Feedly has several options for you to choose how your content is displayed. You can display your content in a magazine style, with titles only, as a mosaic of images, as cards or as the entire article. Your content will be pulled straight from your Google Reader feed so you don't have to start manually migrating all of your websites to Feedly. Don't worry if you don't have a Google Reader feed.  You can start building content directly within Feedly. One downside, is that Feedly doesn't display your social media streams (Twitter, Facebook, Google+) within the layout you choose. It creates a separate sidebar that displays your social media stream. Similar to a widget in your blog. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Oh Social Media, How I Have Tamed You. For Now.

What I love about social media is that it can provide you several avenues of communication and collaboration in the professional world. If, you choose to use them. Whether it's Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Blogger, LinkedIn, etc. There seems to be infinite ways to "stay in the loop" or contribute to "the loop". However, it's those same infinite ways that can be a nightmare!

I'm sure many of you with multiple social media accounts have gone through one the following scenarios. You send out a tweet, with a great resource or idea, to your followers. However, you feel like those who have "liked" your Facebook Page would love to hear about this idea as well. And don't forget about you LinkedIn connections. So you find yourself...

A. Copying and pasting the various links to the resources into your many social media accounts and then making all the necessary edits.
B. Growing tired of maintaining all your accounts so you really only keep one account up to date.

I find myself doing the latter.

Then I found or If This Then That. It allows you to distribute content from one social media account (ifttt calls them channels) to others. No more copying and pasting from your Blogger to your FB Page, Twitter, Posterous, Tumblr, ect. It shows up on both! And it's so simple.
Here's the way the website works. You create these "If this... then that...." statements (ifttt calls them tasks) using your social media accounts. By creating content on one account you trigger the other account to post the same content. Take a look at a task I'm using below. If I create a post on my Blogger, then it creates a tweet on my Twitter feed with the post title and a link back to my to blog!

Sure, you can go on your Blogger, Wordpress or Facebook and hit "share" and send it out via Twitter, but eliminates that extra step. How about setting up a task like this...
So from now on all the Instagram photos you take, go straight to your Dropbox. 

I suggest you give this service a try and see if it works for you. Unfortunately, you can't create an If this... then that... statement that takes care of all of your social media needs. You'll need to create tasks that only includes two channels. For example, I can't say, If I post to Twitter, then post to my Tumblr, Blogger, FB page, LinkedIn, and Evernote. Which is a good thing. Because each service is a little different and requires a little tweaking in the way it's content is distributed. You can't post a 300 character status update from FB to your Twitter. So you'll find what work for you.