// Internet Duct Tape

Social Media — What is it Good For?

Posted in Technology, Web 2.0 and Social Media by engtech on July 24, 2008

Social Bookmarking and Social Voting

I took a three month break from blogging and social media sites so that I could focus 100% on a critical project at work. Strangely enough I didn’t miss the flow of information; I was still able to find interesting links for coffee break time by browing Hackers News. Here’s a break down of my experience from leaving for so long and rejoining it.

Blog

Blog traffic went down -26% (vs -12% for the previous period).

Feed subscriptions up 9% (vs 12% for the previous period).

My blog email address is inundated with press releases and the very occassional question about an old post or tool.

My blog comments are a horrible nightmare of spam that I still have yet to wade through. WordPress has an annoying bug that when you click “Mark As Spam” it always returns you to the start. There’s been 20 pages of comments. It’s likely that most are spam.

It makes me wonder how much time a day I was spending on blog maintenance. The time sink in blogging isn’t writing posts; it’s all the related activities.

News

Surprisingly, I didn’t miss out on much by not having my lips attached to the news firehouse. Some crazy PM is trying to put me in jail with a new Canadian copyright bill that someone needs to question him about how it benefits his constituents. The iPhone is finally available in Canada, and the data plan is almost-but-not-quite liveable. Facebook has a redesign in the works. Xbox has some cool ideas for release next fall.

I’m sure there were plenty of things happening that I could have gotten worked up about, but nothing happened that directly affects my life that I would have found out about on the Internet.

LinkedIn

I’ve had a strict policy of only using LinkedIn for people I’ve actually worked/went to university with, and it’s been a good tool for contacting ex-coworkers years later about new job opportunities. Spam free.

Facebook

I try to keep Facebook to “real life people only”, and that works well for me. I only use it for group emails, and for photo sharing. Spam free once you get rid of those people who invite you to use applications.

Google Reader

I’m oversubscribed still. When you check your RSS feeds once a month, it becomes much more about the people who consistently keep you thinking or providing good information. Of course, information is only useful if it has impact on your life.

We, the information overloaded, collect new information but I wonder how much of it is retained and has lasting impacting on our lives?

Twitter

I didn’t feel any pain of Twitter downtime because I didn’t log into it. I need to cull my friendslist to make it more useful. But I found Kathy Sierra on twitter and if that’s the real thing then it’s a good sign for twitter having the potential for making me think vs phasing it completely out of my life because of the constant self-promotion.

I still like twitter for chatting with other bloggers that I respect.

Friend Feed

Still not sure if I like rooms or not. The Friend Feed hacking community is kicking even harder lately with a ton of new greasemonkey scripts thanks to Hao Chen. It looks like Lou Cypher is getting involved in Friend Feed as well which means even more cool little hacks.

Nothing new has been happening with ffapps or friendfeedwatch though.

Delicious

It might be time for me to abandon delicious for something new to use for bookmarking. The future does not look peachy for delicious with Josh leaving Yahoo. Maybe it’s time to look at Google Reader shares as an alternative.

Last.FM

I’m still using it, still finding great music because of it. I do like The Filter for making lastfm-esque playlists of my own music collection.

Real Life

I’ve been enjoying the summer and having more time for family, friends and non-Internet hobbies like reading, movies, and games. I really appreciate the knowledge I’ve built up with the programming I’ve done. I plan to continue that in that direction: releasing useful free software and delving into creating my own web apps. I want to spend less time participating and more time creating.

Weekend Reader – blogging, twitter, marketing, funny, lifehacks

Posted in Best of Feeds by engtech on May 18, 2008

Weekly Links

This is my weekly collection of the best stuff I saw on the Internet. You can follow this list of links as I post them on Friend Feed or on Twitter. Or you can get the weekly update by subscribing to Internet Duct Tape using RSS or using email.

(more…)

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Weekend Reader – twitter, blogging, usability, webdesign, bsg

Posted in Best of Feeds by engtech on May 03, 2008

Weekly Links

This is my weekly collection of the best stuff I saw on the Internet. You can follow this list of links as I post them on Friend Feed or on Twitter. Or you can get the weekly update by subscribing to Internet Duct Tape using RSS or using email.

(more…)

Comments Off

Delicious Links – 20 links – google, blogging, wordpress, twitter, lifehacks

Posted in Best of Feeds by engtech on April 12, 2008

Weekly Links

This is my weekly collection of the best stuff I saw on the Internet. You can follow this list of links as I post them on Friend Feed or on Twitter. Or you can get the weekly update by subscribing to Internet Duct Tape using RSS or using email.

(more…)

Comments Off

Crunching the Friend Feed Stats to Find the Most Popular Web Apps

Posted in friendfeed, Technology, Web 2.0 and Social Media by engtech on March 26, 2008

Social Bookmarking and Social Voting

One of the nicest things about the Internet is that if you sit on your ass for long enough, someone will code up whatever little side project you’re thinking about starting. In my case, I was interested in finding out general statistics about Friend Feed as a tape measure of how popular certain social bookmarking sites are. Enter Friend Feed Stats. Thank you, lazyweb.

What Is the Most Popular Web Service?

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Delicious Links – 20 links – tools, gamers, workhacks, code, links

Posted in Best of Feeds, Technology by engtech on March 16, 2008

Weekly Links

This is my weekly collection of the best stuff I saw on the Internet. They’re saved on delicious and stumbleupon and cross-posted to Twitter and Tumblr as they happen and then collected together for my blog on Internet Duct Tape.

Subscribe to Internet Duct Tape using RSS or using email.

This Week at Internet Duct Tape

Internet Duct Tape is my blog where I talk about software, technology, blogging and other geeky subjects.

This Week at Internet Duct Tape

Internet Duct Tape is my blog where I talk about software, technology, blogging and other geeky subjects.

This Week at Internet Duct Tape

Internet Duct Tape is my blog where I talk about software, technology, blogging and other geeky subjects.

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Delicious Links – 20 links – geek, twitter, sleephacks, design, programming

Posted in Best of Feeds by engtech on February 17, 2008

Weekly Links

This is my weekly collection of the best stuff I saw on the Internet. They’re saved on delicious and stumbleupon and cross-posted to Twitter and Tumblr as they happen and then collected together for my blog on Internet Duct Tape.

Subscribe to Internet Duct Tape using RSS or using email.

This Week at Internet Duct Tape

Internet Duct Tape is my blog where I talk about software, technology, blogging and other geeky subjects.

This Week at IDT Labs

IDT Labs is where I announce new software I’m working on.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Delicious Links – 20 links – programming, community, development, twitter, lisp

Posted in Best of Feeds by engtech on February 09, 2008

Weekly Links

This is my weekly collection of the best stuff I saw on the Internet. They’re saved on delicious and stumbleupon and cross-posted to Twitter and Tumblr as they happen and then collected together for my blog on Internet Duct Tape.

Subscribe to Internet Duct Tape using RSS or using email.

This Week at Internet Duct Tape

Internet Duct Tape is my blog where I talk about software, technology, blogging and other geeky subjects.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Blog Tip: Creating a Blog Maintenance Start Page with Netvibes

Posted in RSS Syndication, Technology, Technorati, Twitter, WordPress.com Tips by engtech on September 25, 2007

Bloggin Tips and Tricks

In Blogger GTD, Leo mentioned that it was a good idea to have one inbox for all your blogging related notifications. I hate cluttering in my inbox, but I do agree that it makes sense to have a single point of reference rather to spend 5 minutes checking some information in one place and then spend 5 minutes checking information in another place. As Skelliewag says, those 5 minutes add up over the course of a day and by the end of it you’ve wasted an hour.

Directing everything to my inbox would never work for me, but it is possible to have a single start page for all your blog maintenance activities using Netvibes. If you aren’t familiar with Netvibes it is a combination of an RSS feed aggregator and a widget platform. It is analogous to iGoogle (but works better). In simple terms Netvibes lets you put lots of information in one place and look at information from several web pages on a single page.

blog maintenance netvibes start page

If you’ve never tried it out before then please visit http://netvibes.com — they let you play around with a default page even if you don’t have an account.

This is what I put on my blog maintenance start page. Replace internetducttape.com or engtech.wordpress.com with your blog URL.

Column 1: Comment Administration and Social Site Monitoring

blog maintenance netvibes comment monitoring

The first column is for things that I want to respond quickly to — comments and checking to see if my site is submitted to Digg or Reddit.

Box #1: Comments RSS feed: http://internetducttape.com/comments/feed

Or you could use my WordPress Comment Extractor / WordPress Trackback Extractor to get only the comments or only the trackbacks.

Box #2: Shortcuts to WordPress administration activities using the Netvibes Bookmarks widget.

Bookmarks: http://www.netvibes.com/subscribe.php?module=Bookmarks

I add the following bookmarks:

Box #3: Social Site Submission Watchdog is a custom Yahoo Pipe I created.

Click on this link then

  • change your blog URL
  • click on Run Pipe
  • copy the RSS link to Netvibes

Column 2: Blog Stats

blog maintenance netvibes check blog stats

It’s a bad idea to check your blog stats multiple times a day, but is it so bad if you’re also checking blog comments, emails and instant messages at the same time?

Box #1: This will only work for WordPress.com bloggers, which is too bad because it’s a great way to check stats at a glance.

WordPress.com Mobile Widget: http://gamespotting.net/wordpressnetvibes.html

Box #2: Technorati Rank from RSS. Another custom Yahoo Pipe. This one is a little more complicated to install because you’ll need your Technorati API key.

Click on this link then

  • change your blog URL
  • find your Technorati API key and cut-and-paste it
  • click on Run Pipe
  • copy the RSS link to Netvibes

Box #3: Filtered Blog Reactions from Technorati. This is another custom Yahoo Pipe. It shows the blog URL as the title and links to the front page instead of directly to the post.

Click on this link then

  • change your blog URL
  • click on Run Pipe
  • copy the RSS link to Netvibes

You could use this RSS feed instead: http://feeds.technorati.com/search/internetducttape.com

Column 3: Direct Communication

netvibes blog maintenance communication twitter

I use the second tab as a way to keep a quick check on how I stay in contact with other bloggers — through Gmail and Twitter.

Box #1: Gmail: http://www.netvibes.com/subscribe.php?module=Gmail

I use a dedicated Gmail account for blogging — I don’t receive any personal or work related email with that account.

Box #2: Twitter Replies RSS feed: http://twitter.com/statuses/replies.rss

This shows some of the power of Netvibes — you can view password protected RSS feeds.

Box #3: Twitter: http://www.netvibes.com/subscribe.php?module=Twitter

Create Your Own Blog Maintenance Start Page

This gives you a few ideas of how I use the service, but the possibilities are endless.

For instance there is a Facebook widget: http://www.netvibes.com/subscribe.php?module=Facebook

Not to mention several widgets that let you directly embed a web page. Using those generic modules you can embed Google Reader into Netvibes and other crazy stuff like that.

What are you going to put on your blog maintenance start page?

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