Category: Tools

Location-based apps make sense!

Don’t get me wrong. I love the social component of social media, including location based apps. But I’ve always taken a bit of a hard line on any app that tells the world exactly how far from home you are. It seems to me like it’s just inviting trouble.

But Four-square redeemed itself in my eyes this week. In the midst of an evacuation of a highly populated area, the Wall Street Journal used Four Square to notify people in the vicinity to evacuate.

It’s creative solutionizing such as this that could turn social media from a fun frivolity and potential revenue stream, into a serious component to contribute to critical operations at the business and public level. It helps that the evacuation was in Times Square, smack in the middle of NYC, which boasts the highest concentration of Four Square users.

Still, think about the implications for disaster preparedness and emergency response. This is just the type of thing I love to see.

Why Twitter Trumps Facebook

I have to give a hat tip to Jess at PRBreakfast Club for this one. As it turns out, Facebook has some great features, like inexpensive, highly targeted ads, but when it comes to business usability, a Twitter profile is much more useful than Facebook, or even LinkedIn.

The key to Twitter is networking – building relationships (often across multiple accounts, in this business) through tweets, conversations, and spreadin’ the news (cue cheesy music). And since your cousin and your granddad and your next-door neighbor are more likely to follow you on Facebook than on Twitter, tweets give you the business legitimacy unspoiled by cutesy comments from the peanut gallery, or Aunt Hilda’s bone spurs. You know what I mean, don’t you?

So do your research. Follow people in your industry or auxiliary industries. Interact. Converse. Share beneficial information. And don’t bother searching for your high school buddies. Save that for Facebook.

First amendment writes

I get giddy when I hear about government using social media. See, there’s this concept installed in my mind that government is some type of closed society – all the red tape makes it hard to get information, connect with representatives… You know what I mean. Social media is all the things government isn’t – convenient, social, authentic, informative. (Should I stop here and apologize to my dad, who is a member of local government? Sorry dad, I know you’re not all thugs.)

At the same time, I’m enthralled by anyone who uses social media for reasons outside the norm. The norm, in this case, includes connecting with an established network of friends and colleagues, marketing, and customer service. Anytime organizations use social media to accomplish more I get impressed.

So naturally, when I read this post about government responding to citizens via social media, I got excited. See, they’re using Twitter, YouTube, and blogging to educate the public about a recent salmonella outbreak. See? That’s clever. It kind of reminds me of when the CDC monitored blogs to locate flu outbreaks. Cool stuff, right?

I love the idea of real people representing ‘the powers that be’ connecting with us mere mortals with tools that are already developed. I love the idea of being able to access information – or access someone who can access information. I’m looking forward to engaging with representatives of local government and beyond. I can’t wait to see new ways of stimulating efficiency with communication enhanced by social media. How about you?

If you’re into this as much as I am, you may want to check out GovLive Tweets – a feed that tracks tweets from 540 different public entities.

Posting on Postling

A discussion on LinkedIn clued me in to Postling, a free online service that helps people like me manage multiple social profile accounts. I registered my free account at Postling a few weeks ago and have used it on and off to tweet, blog, and engage on multiple sites. Here’s the nitty gritty of it.

Interface

Maybe it means that I’m getting old (or, shall we say, more sophisticated… wiser…), but I love the large print and text entry boxes in their site design. It’s inviting, clean, and highly user-friendly.

Ease of Use

Postling makes it easy-schmeasy to switch between different account for blogging, tweeting, and more. What Postling supports: WordPress, Blogger, Typepad, SquareSpace, Tumblr, Drupal, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr.

What they don’t support: Everything else. Of concern to me is Posterous, LinkedIn, link sharing sites like Digg and Delicious, and other photosharing sites like TwitPic and what-not.

If your primary accounts are in the the list of what Postling supports, you’ll likely be pleased with the functionality and ease of it all. Postling allows you to create separate brands and manage your accounts under those brands – perfect for someone like me who manages social media for several different companies. But it would be just as great for a stay at home mom who wants to manage her personal blog separately from her Etsy business, for example.

Click to publish and scheduled posting are great. And, might I add, you can schedule Twitter posts too. I can’t get over that! I just love to know that I can schedule an important tweet to publish while I’m sitting in the dentist’s chair or doing something else that keeps me offline. Love it.

The interface for blogging is similar to the major blog services – text editing and WYSIWYG. If HTML is your thing, you can hit the little “source” button to edit that way.

Did you know that it also has its own blog capability? Yep. It gives you your own Postling page with a blog and a sidebar that includes links to your other accounts.

Cons

So, it’s pretty. It’s clean. It’s easy to manage multiple accounts and brands. In fact, it’s so easy my mom could do it. (Not that she’s tried, but I’m pretty sure she could if she was into that kind of thing…)

But…

I can’t listen. I have to go to a blog reader or Twitter client to listen. So I go back and forth between Postling and Google Reader and TweetDeck. And let’s face it. It’s easier to participate and engage from TweetDeck directly – I mean I can retweet or reply to someone just by hovering over their picture. In Postling I’d have to type in their name. I know – I’m lazy. But convenience is big when you’re managing multiple accounts on multiple platforms.

Since social media is all about being, well, social, I need to be able to listen. After all, a one-sided conversation isn’t a conversation – it’s a monologue.

If there was a way to incorporate a feed reader, I’d have to call it perfect. And spend my days hovering – 24-7.

So I suppose my family should be happy that isn’t possible. Time will tell if I’ll continue to use it. I still spend time on my WordPress dashboards playing with plugins and widgets. So it doesn’t make sense to head over to Postling when I’m already in a dashboard I can post from. And it doesn’t make sense to leave TweetDeck.

Conclusion

Overall, it’s easy on the eyes. And easy to use. If you’re looking for a way to post to multiple sites simultaneously, or schedule your Tweets – Postling is perfect. Unfortunately it isn’t quite perfect for me. I spend more time listening than talking, which makes listening (or reading) paramount. So there it is. Postling is a great place to wax lyrical and switch voices as much as you’d like. But you’ll have to get your feedback and response (and your fodder) someplace else.

Nice start, Postling. You do what you do very well. Now if I could just get you expand your functionality a bit.

Update: From @Postling: Thanks, it’s coming soon! In the mean time, we do offer tracking of Twitter mentions and FB Wall Posts under the “tracking” tab.

I’ve enabled tracking in my Postling account, which apparently is free only for a limited time. It will eventually be a premium service (there has to be a revenue stream to make the investors happy, right?) Only problem I see is that tweet above from Postling appeared in my TweetDeck immediately. 10 minutes later it still hadn’t shown up on my Postling tracking page. Er, fellas?

Tweets by EngageThem