Apps beat tasks, but not taste

Smartphone apps – mainly free ones, bless them – continue to change my everyday routines, enhancing once mundane duties into short, fun tasks.

For instance, I can find and launch apps to change channel on my TV and adjust my stereo quicker than I can locate the remotes needed to do both.

I use an app to record wine labels and tag how enjoyable they were much more easily than I can recall them.

And with nifty little Instagram I can enhance photos and share them much quicker than I could ever launch Photoshop and email pictures of my coffee to a bunch of strangers.

But I am running out of worthwhile things to share. And I am asking myself more and more, why are we all sharing photos of our coffees? Sure you might be excited by the smell and the unique design doodle in the latte froth, but all we see is a coffee. Like a meal, it’s a multi-sensory experience, not a visible moment. You’ve dumbed it down and crowded my feed – pardon the pun.

An occasional, extraordinary meal, sure… Tell me all about it so I might cook it or visit that restaurant. But snack food? A good espresso?

Then comes new app EVERNOTE FOOD. (link: http://blog.evernote.com/2012/06/07/everyone-to-the-table-evernote-food-for-android-has-arrived/)

“With Evernote Food we’ve created an absolutely beautiful way to preserve every dish, every table, and every bite you’ve ever had.”

Now you can capture the time, location, menu and photos of your favourite culinary experiences.

This app will even link your meal with other items you have saved in generally awesome notebook app, Evernote.

(It’s free and seriously good. Get it.)

“For example, if you used Evernote Hello at a lunch meeting, the faces of the attendees may be associated with the Meal.”

What a hideous thought.

And as you will find if you put all this effort in with Evernote Food, your meals are now shareable. So not only can you record every meal in detail, the menu, service, location and attendees, you can also tell everyone who wasn’t there!

Here’s an idea. Don’t.

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Best 8 Twitter Tools I Use

Here are the best Twitter tools that I use for tweeting and tracking of the multiple accounts I manage.

At one stage I operated eight accounts at once for various TV shows (@SunriseOn7, @MorningshowOn7, @SundayNightOn7,@7NewsSydney,@7Newsroom,@Vote7News), assorted TV personalities* and my own account (as well as one alter-ego!).

I am happy to concede this is too much Twitter for one person to manage – but man, it does force you to get efficient when you’re tweeting.

@Sunriseon7 now has around 50,000 followers and continues to add a few hundred each week. I aim to make it a destination not only promoting what’s on Sunrise but a useful stream of entertaining content, local and international news as well as breaking news.

To keep on top of breaking news that will be retweeted and gain you many new followers who want to read things first, you need to have the best mobile twitter setup available.

So I tested many, many twitter clients and this is what I have wittled it all down to..

I have put them in order of how much I use them. Aren’t I helpful?

1. TWEETBOT
I am such a fan of this relatively new iPhone Twitter app (client). It’s very intuitive, has many hidden features you are surprised by after a week or so, and nothing is smoother when using multiple accounts. I have paid for about ten twitter apps. This was easily the most worthwhile. It’s highly readable, fast and flexible. Plus, it never crashes.

My past favourites for the iPhone are Osfoora, Twitbit and Twitbird Pro.

2. TWEETDECK
Explaining twitter to the uneducated is best done by showing people filtered feeds, i find. But that’s just the start of how Tweetdeck simplifies the twittersphere.

For browsing of tweets including tracking breaking news and running multiple hashtag feeds, nothing beats the multi-column,multi-account interface of Tweetdeck.

If at all possible, get a separate monitor and leave it running. Alerts show you the latest tweets allowing you to spot replies and retweet at a glance. Plus, it’s got scheduling so you can keep the convo going when you are otherwise having a life.

Lately, I do admit, the app is running awfully slow.

3. BIT.LY shortcuts
Stuff the t.co URL shortener Twitter is trying to force us into using, bit.ly offers traffic analysis, real time updates, desktop alerts and browser shortcuts that saves me about an hour a day. Try the sidebar bookmarklet and the Chrome Extension to see what I mean. (I especially like the hover tool that shows how many clicks on a link just by hovering over any bit.ly link anywhere, and the right-click function “copy and save shortened link to clipboard”). Love it.

See also my blog on explaining all  my Chrome (browser) extensions

4. SNAPBIRD
Search as far back as you what in anyone’s timeline. Can be a little touchy sometimes but generally I find what I want.

5. BLACKBIRD PIE
Neatest way to embed a tweet on a website.

6. TWITTERSTATS
Get into this to see just how you have been tweeting, who you retweet the most, at what time of day and how your tweeting has changed over time.

Why is this useful? Well, imagine if you could see whose emails you forward the most or that you now send twice as many emails every day than you used to. Tracking your habits can reveal the changing face of how you are marketing your brand but also how that reflects the audience.

I know that for Sunrise, I have found that I get more response from people in the first half of the day and people are less likely to respond or retweet anything between 12 noon and 5 or 6pm. The stats show that after that, people lighten up again, so i now target those hours.

7. TWEETSTATS
A little less useful for brand tweeters but interesting nonetheless. Spits out nice graphs (for free) including your own twitter word cloud. Intriguing.

8. HOOTSUITE
I have trained several people at Channnel 7 in how to use this web app. It runs through the website which pleases the IT team as nothing suspicious need be installed.

Hootsuite’s best feature has always been scheduling, which it achieves better than anyone else. (Tweetdeck’s scheduling remains buggy and often sends my tweets now not later.)

The layout is disconcerting as it has two navigation bars, columns, tabs within columns and layers. But if you can get past that, it is a timesaver with features like saving your frequent searches e,g, #quake or “breaking news”, multiple users, columns and it offers some good features to drill down on users. Rather amazing what they have done with HTML5.

*Why did I tweet for TV personalities? When some TV stars get started, I ease them into Twitter to avoid any major faux pas going public. Some even email me their comments which I then tweet (quaint!). They are all now independent tweeps, which i suppose makes me an empty nester.

 

For the record, here are the Twitter iPhone apps I no longer use – but i keep on the phone to watch  how they improve with updates.

 

I keep these on my phone just to view what their updates reveal

Have any great tools I haven’t listed?


Please share them below – or tweet me @buckleup

My Top 13 Chrome Extensions for Social Media Managers (and addicts)

Here’s one for the social media professionals, potentially social media addicts and the Google Geeks.

I now cannot work anywhere without my favourite browser Chrome.

Extensions are the little and mostly free add-ons that help streamline repetitive tasks spectacularly as I work daily across social media and web content. For mem they have replaced shortcuts, bookmarks and bookmarklets.

1. Send from Gmail
Awesomeness incorporated. You can select text and mail it. Or just mail the link and a pop-up window does the rest. I use this twenty times a day.

2. Awesome Screenshot
Annotate screenshots, select area, visible or full page, add text, circles, lines, arrows in an instant. then save. Shame you can’t email.

3. Session Manager.

Save all current tabs and reopen them later. SImple. Classy. Perfect if you are like ame and regularly open twelve tabs then need to swap computers or just save some RAM.

4. Evernote.
This is essential for any notetaker. Clips pages,pics, selected text,full pages. And keeps them forever, and they are searchable. Handiest for keeping a record of online transactions.


5. One Password

Inserts your password on any given page, saves all of them securely and generates fancy ones you wil never remember – but hackers can’t guess them. Win-Win! (You won’t find this in the store. Must buy the One Password program first. )

6. Google News

Expandable headlines should be the future. It’s the best thing HTML5 ever brought us. You want to read more, just click the headline & there’s the story! Sure, lists are ugly but have you seen most news sites lately? This works great with customisable news searches, syncs with your google account and updates download constantly.

7. Facebook
This needs work. The quick look at messages and updates is not a good enough replacement for the website because it pretty much is the website but with side navigation be fewer features. It’s also buggy and wasn’t activating when I went to get a screenshot. Keep at it Zuck.

8. Chrome It Later

Clips any page or selection to your Read it Later account, which syncs with my iPhone app to give me lunchtime or railtime reading. (Perfect for reading offline on trains when you lose connectivity.) I used to change the settings pane so I could add tags but now I don’t bother as I read most on the same day.

9. AdBlock

The most popular of all Chrome extensions, they claim. I never need to click this unless I notice this effective ad-blocker has removed some other valuable element by accident. Which is rare because ad-blocking works! I own three!

10. Bit.ly link shortener

Every social media manager needs this. I am regularly involved in five twitter accounts – only one of which is personal, so tweaks for quick tweeting are essential. This is like THE swiss army knife extension for twitter. It allows text clipping, multiple accounts, copies the link to your clipboard, and has a genius right-click menu feature that takes any link, shortens it & copies it to your clipboard. Sharing, tweeting & tracking of links was never supposed to be this easy!! Get it. No questions.

11. Mashable

Could be improved but gives you the latest tech and social media stories at a glance. The real estate is used poorly which makes the whole thing a bit of a let down. Alas, there are two mashable extensions – get the one with expandable lists of headlines.

12. Picasa

Don’t use this, why is it there? How often do you want to browse your own galleries on this underpowered version of flickr? It shows up comments. Has anyone ever commented on your Picasa albums. Did you even know they could?

13. Huffington Post

HuffPo is an unstoppable news source and aggregator specialising in viral content and political sex scandals. This extension gives handy, quick navigation of top stories in each category – which sure beats using their convoluted website (although NewsGlide makes it feel like you’re on an iPad. Much cooler).

——-
So there they are. I haven’t spent hours searching out the best but of those I have come across and used, these have stayed undeleted longer than most!
Oh, nearly forgot.
Those indictors in the address bar include two last good extensions.
The first one is an instant Google Reader RSS Subscriber that grabs any RSS and with one click adds it to your Google Reader list. You can even select the folder it should enter.
The light bulb is called Turn Off The LightsClick it while watching video or  slideshow and it cleverly dims the rest of the screen for a sexier viewing experience. Like many of these extensions, it’s great but you need to remember it’s there and to use it.
I am still yet to see a great extension for flickr or Tumblr, but I’m sure one is coming.
Next up…  I must learn how to sync my extensions across multiple computers.
Which extensions do you rely on? Which obvious ones am I missing? Please share, by using your Send from Gmail extension, of course.

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