5+ reasons why you have to love tumblr!

Leaving for Germany as I am tomorrow morning, I’m moving way too fast to do this justice, but if you’re a social media maven or online community manager [or both!], tumblr is a tool that you may have overlooked for it’s sheer simplicity. If that’s the case, look again. Here are at leas 5 reasons why I’m adding tumblr to my social media utility belt..

  1. Simple yet powerful
  2. It can auto-publish to both Facebook profiles and fan pages making it a great community manager tool
  3. It has a great iPhone interface making it the perfect onsite reporting tool
  4. It works with Shareaholic or it’s own bookmarklet making it a perfect page sharing tool
  5. Marc LaFountain, the Community Ambassador. He’s a god amongst men in the social media space…

This is just a partial list of all the cool things that tumblr can do — you’ll want to go here to get a more complete inventory. As I head to Germany to cover the Agritechnica show for AGCO, I’ll be liveblogging the trip as well as the event. Track me on my Dashboard and see how well it works as I run it through my FriendFeed…

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At least 3 reasons why I’m not Buzzing with enthusiasm

Image representing Google Reader as depicted i...
Image via CrunchBase

At least two people in the Googleverse are underwhelmed with Buzz; me and internet maven Richard Scoble. Scoble bats first…

“Together with a lot of web workers, I depend on being able to skim through information sources quickly. Services like Google Reader are well-optimized for doing this, especially in List mode. (To turn on List mode, from the “All Items” view, click on “Show: List” in the blue bar at the top right of the screen.)

The List views in Gmail and Google Reader make it easy to look at the subjects of posts, and scroll through them quickly. Google Buzz, unfortunately, uses the threaded conversation approach of Google Wave, but without the tools for controlling what appears on the screen that Wave has.

I hope that the limitations of Google Buzz’s interface are just growing pains. Maybe the designers of Buzz didn’t anticipate that some posts would generate hundreds of comments. So let’s hope that they’ll give us the tools to use the service efficiently, or, as one commenter suggests, Google Buzz users might give up on it before it’s a week old.” Source: Google Buzz: Not Efficient? – WebWorkerDaily

On his own blog, Scoble goes on to say…

“OK, now I’ve had a bit of time to play with Google Buzz and everywhere I look I see a badly-executed copy of FriendFeed.

With two important exceptions:

1. Google Buzz actually has a lot of users and much better information flowing through its veins. There’s a reason that FriendFeed doesn’t have many users: it has some very anti-user features that retard user adoption (back when I was excited about FriendFeed I kept hoping that FriendFeed was going to fix some of their issues).
2. It has pretty nice location features built in, especially if you use Google Maps on Android.” Source: Google Buzz copied FriendFeed’s worst features, why?

If you want to read the rest of his rant, go to the source. Here’s my random list of pet peeves…

  • I don’t even like to get electronic newsletters because they’re a distraction; email is for email and needs to be segmented from social media…
  • Information comes into Buzz, but it can’t get out; no rss output for the things I want to share
  • Insufficient keyboard shortcuts; what happened to e for email like Reader? Google Reader is perfect for my needs — Buzz is like a fly droning around my head while I’m trying to concentrate…

What do you think?

Writing a killer blog

…without killing yourself in the process. Good thoughts from Louis Gray…

With new Facebook Groups, FriendFeed’s gone mainstream. Two years late.

Image representing FriendFeed as depicted in C...
Image via CrunchBase

What’s really striking about the new Facebook Groups is that they truly are “FriendFeed gone mainstream”.

When I first saw the new Facebook Groups I thought, “My, they look a lot like FriendFeed”. That’s no surprise either, the team that pioneered realtime discussion and sharing groups at FriendFeed now works at Facebook and its co-creator Bret Taylor is now CTO there.

FriendFeed was, and still is, loved by a loyal following for its fast, powerful social sharing and discussion possibilities. Just before Facebook bought the company last year it really had become something special, a technical feat of beauty that I loved. The problem was that the mainstream public never took to it. It was just too… well, geeky. Now with the newly re-imagined Facebook Groups we see how FriendFeed can finally be accepted by the masses – by being less geeky, more streamlined… and built right into Facebook.

Like FriendFeed, Facebook Groups have the ability to share and discuss text, images, photos, videos and links in realtime. The ability to import feeds is missing, as are other “advanced” features of FriendFeed like cross-posting, exporting RSS feeds, posting via emails and the like, but by stripping those out what we have here is essentially FriendFeed’s vision gone mainstream.

People certainly seem to be taking to the new groups’ potential. Here at The Next Web we already have lively Apps and Apple groups among others, and Robert Scoble has a group for tech news reporters and bloggers that has got off to an interesting start.

Einstein's Razor or FriendFeed?

Which one will win out? One of the maxims I always try to keep in mind is ‘Einstein’s Razor’. In case you aren’t familiar with it, Einstein’s Razor states that “things should be as simple as possible but no simpler”. I try to apply that to my life in many ways, but especially when it comes to technology…

The other day, I was doing a training session on Google Reader and one of my mentors, David Sauter of Envano, asked me the question “if Google Reader is so powerful for publishing, why are you still using FriendFeed on your blog”. Now that might sound to you like ‘how many angels can dance on the head of a pin’, but that question has been bugging me for two days. If I really want to ‘make things as simple as possible’ I need to dump FriendFeed but breaking up is hard to do as Neil Sedaka reminds us here…

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbad22CKlB4

What is FriendFeed?

“FriendFeed aims to be a one stop shop for all your social networking updates and news items. The four founders were all team members at Google and helped to launch such products as Google Maps, Adsense, GMail and Google Groups. They’ve brought their expertise to a slightly different area: social network aggregating.

FriendFeed is a service which, instead of layering a meta-network on top of all your other social networks, will create a news feed incorporating them all much like the Facebook news feed.

Users tell the feed which networks they belong to (Facebook, Digg, Last.fm etc) and FriendFeed personalizes a data feed with info from each of the sites.

The company was acquired by Facebook in August 2009.” Source: FriendFeed | CrunchBase Profile

On ‘paper’ it sounds great [and it was] — unfortunately, since the Facebook acquisition, there has been no sign of Facebook’s intention to improve FriendFeed, let alone keep it alive. In the meantime, Google Reader has continued to add features and benefits so the question was a valid one — why add another layer of complexity to the mix when Google Reader can do everything I need?

Next to Gmail, Google Reader is the single most important tool I use. Using my trademark ‘pass or play’ methodology, I’m also able to save articles which are interesting, but not quite ‘blog- or postworthy’, out to a widget on the sidebar of my blog where it serves as additional reading or eye candy for my readers. I have used FriendFeed for that purpose for what seems like a lifetime. Now, however, I’m going to try to give it a go without my trusted FriendFeed. Instead, I’ll be forging ahead using the simply elegant plugin ‘Recommended Reading: Google Reader Shared‘ by Jacob M. Goldman (C. Murray Consulting). I’ve known about this excellent plugin for quite some time — I just couldn’t break my FriendFeed addiction. Now, however, since David is always forcing me to eat my own dogfood I have to give it a go…

Why don’t you take a look at the sidebar and let me know what you think? FriendFeed or Google Reader Recommended Reading — which one should stay?

My 14 top tools for thought leaders

Image representing FriendFeed as depicted in C...
Image via CrunchBase

LOL! Here I sit looking back over the past decade, thinking that it seems like only yesterday that we were sitting in fear of Y2K. Now I’m making a living using tools that for the most part didn’t exist back then. It’s a wonderful [tech] life, eh?!

Wrapping up 2009, here’s the list of my favorite social media tools, organized according to their position and role within the e1evation system. This may look like a simple list but it took over a year to develop and that’s not because I’m a slow learner — it’s because I use rigorous filters for inclusion in my social media toolkit. I also am constantly using Einstein’s Razor [“Things must be as simple as possible but no simpler.”] to keep the toolset small. With that intro, here they are…

Perception

  • Google Reader
  • Feedly
  • iTunes [for sme podcasts, silly!]

Publishing

  • Posterous
  • ScribeFire
  • Shareaholic
  • FriendFeed
  • Facebook Page [along with key applications]
  • WordPress

Propagation

  • Facebook Page
  • Twitter [along with Hootsuite]
  • LinkedIn
  • Feedblitz
  • Tumblr

Preferences [other favorites tools]

  • Delicious
  • Evernote
  • Instapaper
  • Scribd
  • SlideShare
  • YouTube

Effectively using these tools together has elevated my business blog to #474,040 in the United States and #1,612,683 in the world in just 6 months according to Alexa. Imagine what you could do if you added one of these tools to your toolkit every month or so next year!

Questions? Feedback? Leave a comment or use the contact page. And, have a great 2010!

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Every once in awhile…

…I stumble upon something that I had used once and had forgotten and can’t remember why I stopped. This morning I fell in love with Shareaholic all over again…

“Shareaholic makes it easy for you to submit the web page you’re on to your favorite sharing or bookmarking service, including: digg, del.icio.us, facebook, friendfeed, bit.ly, connotea, google bookmarks, google reader notes, gmail, kaboodle, magnolia, meneame, mixx, myspace, plurk, reddit, soup.io, stumbleupon, tipjoy, tumblr, twine, twitter, weheartit, yahoo buzz, and ycombinator. You can also e-mail the web page directly to a friend.” Source: Shareaholic – The browser add-on extension to share, bookmark and e-mail web pages quickly

Why is this important? Let me try to net it out quickly…

Finding a great website may help you advance your knowledge but what if you had a way to share it with others that required little or no additional effort? Wouldn’t that be worth it? Sure, there are some websites that I keep for my own private use, but for the sites that contain good information for my ‘followers’, I can post those sites to my ‘rooms’ in FriendFeed and they show up as featured articles in the right hand column of my blog. That way, these bookmarks benefits me as well as the rest of the world and make my site more of a destination because of the valuable resources that are there! If you want to drive people to your website or blog, give me a call at (920) 486-4798 or drop me a note using the contact form above. I can help!

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