The key to keeping me engaged with most things is to keep it fun and simple. As you probably noted from my last article, I gave up on Foursquare because it was neither simple, and it there was no reward (hence it wasn’t fun.)
Here’s a story from the successful side of the tracks… Google Chrome + Reader + TwitterFeed + TweetDeck plugin = easy to consume content and easy to share.
OK, those four things may not SOUND easy, but they are. Chrome is a very fast browser that is quickly winning over my heart. Save a few plugins for Firefox that make my work life easier, Chrome has my affections for all things personal (including this blog post and just about every Google app.) Like Firefox, Chrome also has the ability to load extensions/plug-ins/add-ons/whatever to enhance the functionality of the core application. This is done by opening a new tab and selecting the Web Store icon.
My new favorite is the TweetDeck application. I found it when I was looking for a replacement to Hootsuite. I loved Hootsuite(.com) for managing multiple twitter accounts, scheduled delivery, and multi-column display, all from a great web UI. Alas, they started charging for some of the more popular features, put caps on how many accounts you could use, and it just rubbed me wrong. The standard approach is to let the cheap people have the current features and offer enhanced features for those who want to pay, not take things away and say “Pay to get them back.” Sorry, it was time for me to move on. For my iOS devices (iPhone and iPad), my choice is Osfoora – thanks to the recommendation by Tee Morris. Sadly, there’s no Osfoora for Mac OS X. I tried the desktop client for Tweetdeck, but something didn’t sit right with me so when I found the Chrome app, I was skeptical. Skepticism turned to enthusiasm when I found it did everything I loved in Hootsuite save scheduled deliveries which I didn’t use all that often anyway. The growl-style alerts for @ replies and direct messages is very nice. The seamless integration with Facebook replies and likes is a HUGE win. It puts my two favorite social networking sites in one easy tab in my favorite browser.
Enter my “second life” to make things more complicated… Podcasting. During the week, I read several newsfeeds via Google Reader. As I find things I like and may use in Technorama, I star them and come back at the end of the week to pick the best ones. Along the way there are several that I find I MUST share. I thought about creating posts on Technorama’s site, but I don’t have the time to invest. I also found it cumbersome to copy and paste links from the website in to Twitter. Certainly there had to be a way to mark some articles as Technorama fodder, while sharing those rare gems with the world easily.
Enter Twitterfeed. I’ve known about it for a while, but never checked it out until I searched for “Google Reader to Twitter” and found a solution. Normally, when you want to share an article in Reader, you click the Share icon (or as I enjoy, the Shift-S shortcut key.) That’s all fine and dandy for the crowd that follows you in Reader, but that’s a small percentage of my social network. What about the Twitter and Facebook people? Well, TwitterFeed takes care of that. Now when I find one of those gems, I just hit Shift-S and I know in a few minutes it will get picked up by twitterfeed and sent to my twitter followers. Not long after that, FriendFeed will send it to Facebook.
None of these services took long to set up and get running. It makes it very simple to do the reading/scanning I was doing before and be able to quick tag or share items without missing a beat.
And for analytics? Well that’s as easy as going to the twitterfeed site and checking what people click on. Depending on what the results say, I may think twice about what to put in Technorama. I can also see responses from twitter and facebook right in the Tweetdeck client to see what others are saying or passing around.