10 Essential Social Networking Tools to Save Time
With the hundreds of social networking and social bookmarking sites available today, it's not surprising that people find is difficult to manage their social media accounts. While you want to have a presence on many of these different sites, it can be time-consuming to update your status and profiles on each site — especially if you also use blogs, social bookmarking sites and instant messaging platforms to promote yourself or your brand.
Here are ten free social networking tools that can help you manage numerous social networking and bookmarking accounts, plus save you time by aggregating your updates — that is publishing one update across multiple social sites.
Click to view Ping.fm supported sites
Ping.fmPing.fm is a free online service that you can use to post a single message across more than 40 social networking sites, plus it is easy to use. First you need to create an account by providing your e-mail address and a password. Once logged in, from your dashboard you can edit your profile and select which social services you want to send your Ping.fm updates to. When you select a network from the provided list you simply log in to that account through Ping.fm (e.g., to add Twitter you log in using your Twitter credentials). Ping.fm is compatible with all the popular and many of the lesser-known social networking, photo-sharing, and social bookmarking sites. It also supports a number of blogging and instant messaging platforms. As you update via Ping.fm you can choose which of the social sites and services to send your message to prevent sending your message out to profiles and pages where the update may be seen as irrelevant spam.
Posterous is a free online service that can save bloggers a lot of time. Posterous updates multiple social networks and blogs, but all you have to do is e-mail your update to post @ posterous.com, include any media and links you want inserted and Posterous will push that content out for you. Despite sending the update via an e-mail, Posterous supports many common functions on social sites. For example if you want to update your blog, when you e-mail Posterous you can add your tags in the subject of your e-mail using special syntax in the header. When you send an update, your own personal Posterous blog is updated and news of your Posterous update is pushed out to other social sites as a mini-feed or status update, depending on the site. Posterous currently supports updates for Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, Blogger, Wordpress, Typepad, Movable Type, Livejournal, and Xanga.
RetaggrRetaggr is an online service that acts as a central location for all your personal information and provides a public gateway to all your online profiles and social networking accounts. Retaggr is not a social aggregator, but rather a social profile management tool. One of the main features of Retaggr is that when you sign up you get a permanent URL to your own personal digital profile card. The profile card lists all social networks, blogs, and instant messaging platforms you use, letting others connect to you via their own favorite platform. You can even add Skype, instant messaging accounts and personal Web sites to your Retaggr profile. For anyone who uses multiple social sites, Retaggr is an excellent way to keep track of what accounts you have and where they are. People who view your profile card can select a platform to connect with you on from a drop-down list and be directed to that platform to send a friend request or to to view your profile within that network.
Flock is a Mozilla-powered "social Web browser" that can be used to publish updates across your multiple social media profiles and accounts. The Flock browser supports a number of social media sites including Bebo, Digg, Gmail, Facebook, YouTube, and others. Using Flock you can access features of specific social sites (like Twitter updates and Facebook chat) and Flock lets you organize and manage multiple social accounts from a single control panel window. You can also use the built-in Blog editor to post to your blog, manage RSS feeds, upload photos to Flickr and send status or news updates to Twitter and other social sites that use news and status feeds, all from from the Flock browser interface.
Friendbinder is an online service that lets you keep track of all your friends in one place, plus you can also post updates and replies from within Friendbinder. In your Friendbinder life stream you can follow replies to individual entries on Twitter and Facebook and also post your own updates to multiple social sites. Friendbinder supports a number of popular social sites including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Digg and others.
Atomkeep is a relatively new online service that sends your social updates to a number of social networking sites with a single mouse click. Atomkeep is a social aggregator that keeps all your social accounts in sync. Through Atomkeep you build a profile and when it is updated the updates are pushed out to the supported social sites you have accounts on, including a number of popular photo-sharing sites and blogs. Atomkeep supports over 30 sites, including several popular job boards where you can use Atomkeep to ensure your resume is up-to-date on all the supported job sites you have an account on. Currently the service is in beta and new accounts are activated as Atom keep's capacity allows. If you want to try Atomkeep sign-up on the Web site to be notified when an account is available for you.
DandyID is a profile management service that lets you add your info (name and ID) from more than 300 social networking and media sites. The basic free DandyID account will allow you to collect and identify all your online profiles, prevent others from impersonating you online, send messages and more. The Pro account ($4.99 month) includes additional features such as the ability to track how people are connecting with your identity online, and also increase your visibility in Web search engines.
AddThis is is a tool that can help increase exposure to your blog posts or Web articles by giving your readers one-click access to share your content with their friends on social networking and social bookmarking sites. It is a free service and includes support for a number of social media sites. After creating an AddThis account, you choose where the button will be used (e.g, Web site, Blogger, WordPress or MySpace), select a style of button to share, and choose if you want analytics to track the performance of the button — if you create a button without registering on the site then you cannot view button analytics. When you have entered in those details you get easy cut-and-paste code to add to your site or blog post. It takes only seconds to create an AddThis button.
FriendFeed is used to share and discuss the interesting things you (and your friends) discover online. After signing up for a free FriendFeed account or sign in using Facebook, Google or Twitter accounts. FriendFeed works like other social networking sites in that you find contacts and friends from within that service, but you can also publish your FriendFeed out to a number of other sites including Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, and Twitter.
TwitterFeedTwitter and blogs are a powerful combination and the free online service, TwitterFeed will automatically feed your blog updates to Twitter, Laconica, Ping.fm, or HelloTxt. After signing up on TwitterFeed you need to connect TwitterFeed with your Twitter (or other) account, provide a feed name and enter in the URL to your RSS blog feed. TwitterFeed also lets you choose how often to Tweet an update and you can also select a service to shorten the URL (e.g., bit.ly, TinyURL and others), and other customable options. If you maintain multiple blogs, you can add additional blog RSS feeds under one TwitterFeed account.
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