I posted part one in this two-part series of ‘part of my process’ posts on my blog. Part one covered Hemingway, Pinboard, Terminal and IFTTT. In this post I will cover tools that I use for content discovery and publication.
Right Relevance is a web service that recommends content from social channels. It is based on areas of interest. Klout provides a similar function as part of its social measurement service. I could write a whole blog post about what’s wrong with Klout’s measurement approach. But their content recommendation function is alright. I have found from experience that Right Relevance tends to provide better quality recommendations.
For specific subject areas there are ‘subreddit’ threads at Reddit. Certain subject areas like technology have special purpose sites: for instance techmeme and Slashdot. I have included some more geek orientated options at the bottom of this post
The way I explain RSS to my non-tech forward friends is by an analogy. RSS is the web’s analog of a ticker tape machine. In Western’s that is the machine which put incoming messages on a strip of paper. While outgoing messages went out in Morse code on a telegraph key. In the stock exchange or newsroom; continuous computer paper replaced the thin strip of paper. A teletype machine or computer printer would print messages as they came in.
RSS sends updates from websites in a way that applications can collect the content up. Different services present it in different formats like an email type interface or digital magazine. Most people were familar with RSS from its use with Google Reader. When Google Reader shut down, it didn’t kill RSS. Instead a cottage industry of RSS readers sprang up to replace it.
My RSS reader of choice is Newsblur. Newsblur has several benefits. You can train it to filter your feeds based on author or key words over time. The unread posts can be uncovered with one click and read if you still need to.
It provides three different views
- Feed – the information as its provided in the the RSS feed. Depending on the feed this may contain images
- Text – text only. Handy for when you need speed as it filters out formating and images
- Story – what it looks like on the original site. This helps understand the context where other content is on a page alongside the main story
Newsblur has a good in-browser interface. It provides integration with both Pinboard and Buffer. It also supports Reeder, a popular desktop RSS reader for OSX.
Newsblur has a native application for both iOS and Android. A third party wrote a free native application for Windows phone. In the past there was also support on Symbian, Maemo and BlackBerry. You get a lot for your $24/year subscription.
Buffer is the social publishing tool that I use. It provides similar benefits to Hootsuite, but is much more user friendly. Buffer also has a transparent pricing model compared to Hootsuite. It integrates in my process via IFTTT. Buffer has a native app for iOS and an in-browser interface. It integrates into sharing functionality within iOS and Newsblur. It is the end point in my automated plumbing for social content publication.
It has good basic analytics built in. I use ‘The Awesome Plan’ which costs $102/year.
Weiyun is a cloud file storage and sychronisation service like Dropbox. The key differences being, it is only available in Chinese and it provides 1TB of storage for free.
Weiyun has Android, iOS, Windows and OSX applications.
Here is a presentation hosted on Slideshare that highlights the tools discussed in today’s ‘part of my process’ post.
More everyday tools in part three.