personal information management systems Archives - Harris Social Media

All for one and one for all: 5 tips to managing multiple social profiles

on Sep 16 in hints and tips, lifestreaming, links, personal information management systems, reputation management, social media, tools, Twitter posted by

Do you Tweet? Have a Facebook profile? MySpace? LinkedIn? How about your own blog? Like many, you probably have at least two or three social profiles and, like many, are wondering how on earth you’ll find the time to manage them all.

Some people suggest you should only have one profile and focus on that. But others recommend separating your personal and professional profiles. Many users want to spread their presence and extend their network beyond one or two profiles. So you may need several social profiles, depending on your needs and circumstances.

 Here are five suggestions for helping you manage multiple accounts (and your time!) to get the most out of your social media presence.

1. Use disseminators to post to multiple accounts across platforms

Ping.fm Push microposts with one click to more than 30 of the most popular social platforms including Facebook and Twitter. Supports SMS messaging so you can update from your mobile device.

Posterous A “life-streaming” application enabling you to post multimedia to multiple platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, Blogger and others. You can update Posterous simply by emailing your post — no browser needed! 🙂

Hootsuite The best application (IMHO) for managing multiple Twitter accounts. Includes a scheduler to Tweet any time in the future, one-click URL shortener, stats for your posted links and dashboard for one-stop management.

2. Use aggregators to monitor conversations across platforms

Think of aggregators as the opposite of disseminators. You are pulling in information which you monitor for conversations and mentions. The simplest aggregator is an application that reads RSS feeds, say from a blog.

You can manage multiple RSS feeds through desktop aggregators but I have found the most efficient way is to use the iGoogle browser interface. Use the tab feature to build multiple pages around specific topics, then add RSS feeds from Web sites featuring those topics.

Friendfeed is the leading social aggregator. Use it to pull in posts from your friends and followers on up to 58 social sites including Twitter and Facebook.

3. Choose one or two platforms and do them really well

Rather than running around with a Tweet here, a Digg there, then a Facebook post, use the aggregators to make your life easier. But choose one or two platforms to focus your energies. For example, I focus on my Twitter activity and use Hootsuite to manage my multiple profiles. But I could decide to use Tumblr or Posterous if they better suited my communication needs.

4. Check in occasionally to your less-used accounts

The downside of having so many profiles is that you will inevitably miss some of the conversation. Include your FriendFeed feed (sorry!) in your RSS feeds to make sure you catch at least the main conversations. On the profiles you visit the least (say Plurk), put a message in your Plurk profile saying you are mostly on Twitter or whereever and will not likely respond to posts on Plurk. The idea is to point users in the direction where you are most active.

5. Practice to your strengths

If you are good writer, blog. If you like making videos, do that. I’m good at understanding complex issues and boiling them down to a few words, so I like to Twitter. By practicing to your strengths you will build your online reputation and personal brand.

Twitter charges into the breach

on Feb 11 in business, personal information management systems, Twitter posted by

Thought of the Day, Feb 11, 2009

So Twitter is planning to charge companies, according to the site’s founder Biz Stone. But big users, such as Dell and Comcast are lukewarm. Any cost would reduce the ROI for companies, hence the incentive to use the service.

So as Twitter desperately tries to monetize its business model, will companies turn to other kinds of microblogs?

The incentive will increase to develop more effective information management systems that incorporate tools to both aggregate and disseminate our data. (See Fragmentation of online media channels.) If Twitter doesn’t meet that need, some one will develop a platform that will.

The failings of following

on Feb 10 in personal information management systems, strategy, Twitter posted by

Thought of the Day, Feb 10, 2009

“A human being has a natural desire to have more of a good thing than he needs.” — Mark Twain

It seems that microbloggers are obsessed with who follows them, or doesn’t, or who they follow. Following, not following, unfollowing, checking who is following… ad nauseum. Every other blog post about Twitter seems to be about the philosophy, strategy and technique of following or how to get followers. The exact search phrase “who to follow on Twitter” resulted in 2,600 hits on Google! I’ve been guilty myself, in the interest of helping Twitter newbies. (Follow you, follow me: finding people on Twitter

What set off this latest Thought (rant) is a blog post about who to follow on FriendFeed. What about other microblogs, such as Plurk, or Tumblr? (See a list of the top 10 microblogs.)

Personally, I think it’s enough to follow a couple of hundred users who share your interests on the microblog of your choice. Otherwise you get information overload, and begin miss important Tweets. (The point of diminishing returns related to the number of Twitterers to follow is another topic I have blogged on previously.) And for me, the point of Twitter is to serve as an information management system, to get from social interaction what search or research is too slow to provide.

Yes, who you follow is important to your microblogging experience, and determines much of what you get out of platforms such as Twitter. But let’s develop a suite of best practices and be done with it.

What is QR code? Answers and possibilities

on Dec 05 in branding, business, marketing, personal information management systems, products, technology, tools, trends posted by

What will be next big thing? It’s impossible to say of course. One possibility is QR code.

Wonder what the black and white square on the left side of this Web page is about? That is QR code. It is a 2-dimensional barcode. (The familiar black and white lined strips are basically one-dimensional.)

QR code enables you to encode much more information than the bar code. The bar code (or UPC) can contain only numbers. But QR can contain so much more, including text and even pictures.

You may even have seen QR code on product stickers, notably USPS postage stamps dispenser from automated machines. So what’s the big deal now? Well, smart phones such as iPhone and the G-phone can run software which, combined with the built-in camera, can read the QR code. Anywhere. Anytime. Anyplace.

Scan the code to the left into your iPhone. It will yield the URL of this Web site that can load into the phone’s browser.

With the growth in smart phones, combined with the ease of generating the little squares with online apps (best is Kaywa.com), they are sure to become ubiquitous.

Imagine strolling down the street and seeing a poster about a sale at a nearby store. Scan the QR code into your phone, and it will automatically load a URL with a Google Map location and directions to get there.

Or you see a piece of street art. Scan the code and find out the name of the artist and where you can purchase it online.

Or if you have kids, in case they get lost, put their name, address and location info on their shoes or clothing.

Any advertisement could include QR code to provide access to more product info and a URL, enabling advertisers to track offline to online metrics with much greater accuracy than possible today.

Of course, there are countless other possibilities. Expect to see more QR code in 2009.

Info links
How Stuff Works UPC bar code
Wikipedia: QR Code

PIMS: Personal Information Management System

on Nov 21 in hints and tips, personal information management systems, social media, technology, tools, trends posted by

Do you use ping.fm? Or Friendfeed?

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.