Get it All
Together

If you’re like me, you’ve got tons of social networking sites to keep track of. Personally, I think I was born without the self-control that prevents me from signing up with the next, latest-and-greatest social network just to see what it does. Keeping track of all that mess – and keeping it updated – is almost a full time job by itself.

And yet I’m committed to using social networking sites as a means to establish my authority on the web. I’ve been actively working to get the maximum bang for my buck with social networking, spreading my posts as far and as wide as I can manage. On the web design side, I have accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Delicious, Mashable and WordPress.com. On the political side, I have accounts on FaceBook, MySpace, Twitter, YouAre, Flickr, Delicious and Tumblr. That’s in addition to one website for each side of my online identity.

To manage all these accounts, I’m using a social middleware service called Ping.fm. Ping.fm taps into the APIs of all these services – and loads more that I don’t personally use – to update my status whenever I update it on Ping.fm. It also allows me to set specific hashtags to trigger only a specific subset of my registered services. I have a Google Gadget on my Google home page to update Ping.fm from any convenient location. On top of that, I have a plugin for WordPress, on which my site is built, that will update Ping.fm every time I post a new article.

This system is working well for me so far, but I’m finding that new middleware services are opening up all the time. Just today, I discovered Posterous via an article on Mashable. This interesting service allows you to create your own subdomain on their site and post simply by sending an email to post@posterous.com or post@yoursub.posterous.com. This posting allows you to upload video, pictures and audio and have them automatically show up on the site. Then, you can also update all kinds of other social networking services as you go.

The other interesting advantage is that this service allows you to potentially create an entirely new ad-hock social network by allowing others to post to your Posterous. You can create as many Posterous sites as you like, those sites can update whatever other services you would like. The possibility is that people can create entire online communities that stretch over several services and for which they own no Internet real-estate.

There is another service for which I signed up, but which I have not had the pleasure of trying out, ZooLoo.com. This service seems to provide much of the same type of service as the other two. When I get more into that, I’ll report back.

But now, I’ve got a new problem, rather a lot like the first one: I have so many middleware sites that it’s just as confusing to use as the update services I was trying to organize! Sheesh, the cutting edge is complicated…..

I’ve been struggling for the last couple weeks with a new plan to garner more exposure for my website and for the things that I do in the web design realm. Well, after much consternation and perspiration, I’ve achieved what I sought out.

Of course, we all know that working the social networking channels is fast becoming the way to professional success, regardless what your professional goals may be. It’s almost unheard of for someone not to have their own blog, LinkedIn.com profile, Twitter account and goodness knows what else. Getting those services to talk to one another is not as obvious, however.

In my case, I really want to be able to post articles on my various HolisticNetworking.net blogs and have them appear as status updates to my LinkedIn account. That way, when I’m active on my site, I’m active on LinkedIn, thus my status should be bumped to the top of my connection’s update roles.

My solution – which I’ve actually been using on my political blog for some time – is Ping.FM. Ping.FM takes the trivial update services of many major social network services and allows you to combine your updates in one location. Update your Ping.FM status and it cascades through your various networks.

Meanwhile, WPing.FM is a plugin for WordPress that allows you to update your Ping.FM status under a number of conditions on your blog, such as saving a draft of a post, publishing or updating that post. I’ve installed this plugin on the blogs I most want to be seen on LinkedIn. And after much consternation, I’ve discovered that it does indeed work, just with a wicked lag I can’t figure out.

I’ve checked my error logs and this doesn’t appear to be a problem on my site. I’m guessing that some of the services I’ve chosen to ping are relatively slow in responding. Ping.FM points out that until all services have responded, the ping is not considered complete.

So, maybe I need to trim my list of services to just LinkedIn, Twitter and Del.icio.us. But either way, this is going to be a huge improvement to my professional online persona which I recommend to all of you out there who are looking for a way to boost your profile.