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 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.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…..