I thought it might be of use to people as an introduction to social media tools if I produced a list of some of the stuff I use on a regular basis. So here goes.
I use FeedDemon to read my RSS feeds. It’s a desktop based application, rather than the browser based offerings like Google Reader or Bloglines.
BlogJet is an offline blog editor. It means you don’t have to use the one embedded in your blog engine, whether it be Typepad, WordPress or Blogger. I find the inteface easer to use, and generally find composing blog posts – especially lengthier ones like this – a more comfortable experience offline. Similar tools include Qumana and Zoundry – but I have always found BlogJet the easiest to use.
WordPress is the best blog engine there is. Whether installed on your own server or hosted on WordPress.com it offers the best blend of features, speed and ease of use when compared to the others, such as Blogger and Typepad. It’s also very flexible and can be used to generate a standard website – you aren’t confined to the blog format.
FireFox made much of social media possible. The open source web browser has countless advantages over the competition, being more secure, extensible and small than, say, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.
Google Mail, or Gmail as it is more commonly known, is the best email service that has ever existed. It does so much more than any of the opposition, and does it better and faster. Just for starters: 2.8gb and rising of space to keep your emails in, tagging emails rather than putting them in folders (so you can have more than one tag per email), being able to pick up emails from other accounts, and reply from that address so the receiver doesn’t know the difference, inbuilt integration with the Google Talk IM client and instant editing of emailed documents with Google Docs and Spreadsheets. There’s more, believe me.
Basecamp is an online project management environment. It’s free for one project (so you just have to open lots of accounts if you don’t want to spend money) and provides shared to do lists, milestones, writeboards (a bit like wikis) and uploading and sharing documents (if you have a paid account). You can also chat live with other people on your project with an online instant messaging type environment It just works really well.
Flickr lets you upload your photos, share them with friends, family or everyone and then post them to your blog or other website. You can comment on other people’s photos, respond to their comments to yours and join onlien groups of interest. Also, given that the option is there to publish photos under a Creative Commons licence, it’s a great resource for photos for web and other projects. Just remember to be polite and give credit where it’s due.
YouTube is like Flickr, only with videos. You must have heard of this!
WikiSpaces is a lovely, simple hosted wiki solution. Let’s you upload files to your wikis, amongst other things. I use this for tonnes of stuff, including the LGNewMedia wiki.
Lots of people use instant messaging these days, and there are loads of different systems out there: MSN/Live, AOL, Yahoo!, GoogleTalk, ICQ, Jabber… With Meebo you can use them all with one login and one system. Even better, that system runs inside a web browser, meaning you can use it anywhere – assuming you have a decent connection and browser…
There are a few different web office applications out there. That’s right, an office application (word processor, spreadsheet, etc) inside your browser. Google is getting there with Docs and Spreadsheets, but at the moment Zoho are streets ahead.
Omnidrive will let you have 1gb of online storage space for free! Also, as they let you link directly to files on the web, it makes it a perfect service for hosting podcasts and video that isn’t suitable for YouTube. Also, if you store documents on Omnidrive (like spreadsheets or word processed files) you can open them up instantly in Zoho for editing online. Nice one! Honourable mention goes to Box.net in this category.
The blog search space is an increasingly crowded one, but for me, Technorati still does the business. A great way to find out who is talking about the issues you are interested in and what they are saying about you.