If you have more than two or three online personas, you probably should. These tools enable you, from one place, to manage information from multiple sources.
Ping.fm is a push system. It allows you to post text and photos simultaneously to more than a dozen various applications, including Twitter, Facebook, Plurk, Tumblr and so on.
FriendFeed is a pull system. It aggregates information from various platforms into one stream. It offers a commenting system and groups, encouraging the growth of communities.
They both have limitations.
Ping.fm is one-way — you still need to go to the specific application to have a conversation. So I find myself regularly visiting Twitter to see how people are responding to my posts.
Friendfeed’s push out is limited — your posts can only be sent to Facebook.
Nevertheless, these tools will grow in sophistication. As I pointed out in an earlier post, there is a need for consolidation as the social media space fragments. (Charlene Li is a thought leader on this topic.) These aggregators (FriendFeed) and disseminators (ping.fm) meet this need for consolidation. They counter the trend toward fragmentation.
As these tools evolve, each of us include them (or something similar) as part of our individual Personal Information Management Systems (iPIMS). They will be essential tools in managing our online personas, conversations and communities.
So who will build tools to make this happen?
Some sort of mashup combining the features of FriendFeed and ping.fm would be a step in the right direction. Socializing search (as in Google’s latest upgrade) is another.
But whoever achieves the first integrated PIMS will surely have the online world in the palm of their hand.