There’s a story behind this post. Isn’t there always (smile). I’ve been searching for the perfect “sharing app” and I see on FaceBook where a buddy of mine, Chris Lott of LottSpace (great local site with tips on sales and tech. put it in your reader), had indicated that he has just signed on with a networking site called Bebo. When I inquired about this, Chris told me that he was doing it primarily for SEO and that updating would not be any big deal as he was using Ping.FM. Ping? I’d heard of it, mentioned it in some posts, but had still not gotten around to researching it. Turns out, Ping.FM is one of three apps that I am going to discuss today.
A brief bit of background first. I want an app that will allow me to post updates and content to my three major networks (Twitter, FaceBook, and LinkedIn) and I don’t want to have to post each separately. I’d also like to be able to post content. Finally, I want to do all of this from my home page that currently features TwitterGadget for Twitter updates and a FaceBook gadget that will do updates but, while it appears to be the best available for iGoogle, it’s still lame.
When talking about updates, let’s break it down into two categories: Status and Content.
Status Updates: This is the “what are you doing now?” kind of updates. I would recommend:
Ping.FM is a pretty cool app in that it allows you to broadcast your updates to a large variety of networks including the three that I am most interested in. You can also add links etc.. Setup was pretty easy with the exception of FaceBook. This took me multiple attempts. I will give you this tip, if you look at the Ping application within FaceBook, and it only has a permission to post one line messages, it ain’t gonna’ work. Looking back, when I added it to FaceBook, FaceBook typically asks what permissions you want to allow for this particular app. It had never asked me those question when I set up Ping. You will want to make sure that FaceBook fully gives you these multiple update capabilities.
At any rate, you can choose whichever of your networks you wish to update and you can also create groups with multiple networks. For example, I have a group for all three (Twitter, FaceBook, and LinkedIn) which allows me to write one update and have it go to all three. You can set up as many of these groups as you like.
Ping does have one other feature that I coveted. There is an iGoogle gadget that puts an update box right on my home page. Bingo (smile)! There is also a browser tool bar that would allow you to do about anything but updates so I took that off but you may wish to look at it. Finally, there is HootSuite integration. I was aware that this existed but nothing else beyond that. Suddenly, the clouds have been cleared. HootSuite is a great desktop Twitter client that rivals TweetDeck and Seesmic in many respects. It also has the Hootlet button that I use and love for sharing content. What HootSuite does not do is update to any site other than Twitter. However, the Ping integration allows it to now do this. I’ve played with it but need to look at it closer.
Before I had found Ping.Fm, I had already set myself up on HelloTxt and had it running perfectly. It has a slightly different desktop interface than Ping (I actually like it better) but it essentially does the same exact thing. Instead of setting groups, you check the boxes of the networks you would like to update on any given post. What it does not have is an iGoogle gadget. It does have a browser app but for some reason it would not load to mine which surprises me greatly as I use FireFox 3.1. Might work with 3.5 but I had trouble with that when I installed it and was forced to downgrade back down to 3.1. So, take a look at HelloTxt, I think you might like it.
Content Updates: As in “I want to share this content on ‘x’ sites”. Keep in mind that you can use HelloTxt or Ping to share links, photos, etc. to various sites. I also like to share links to web pages that I might be currently viewing. The Hootlet button from HootSuite is great for sending these to Twitter. With Ping integration, it might be great for sending these to other sites. But, I did find another specialty tool that I am kind of growing fond of.
ShareThis sits as a little button on my browser toolbar. When I am on a page that I wish to share, I just click on the button and select the site to send that page info to. It gets better. When sharing to LinkedIn, it allows me to choose to send this article, and my comments, to all my connections or to a specific group. FYI, LinkedIn also has a FireFox browser button if you would rather use that. When sharing to FaceBook, you not only share the link, you can also comment, show a thumbnail, and an article excerpt. Pretty cool!
Ultimately, all these apps are like screwdrivers. Sometimes you need a slot head and sometimes you need a phillips. And in a variety of sizes. Right tool for the right job. Go forth and collect tools (smile).
Thanks for visiting!
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