Decent Exposure Stream your social activity in a Flash-based widget with BloggyBits

Posted by maggie.hunsucker August 31, 2009

bloggybits logo

The trick with social media is learning how to advertise yourself in order to advertise your company and products.  If no one knows you’re blogging, tweeting, and digging, what’s the point?

An easy way to promote your social media presence is to add a widget to your site. BloggyBits is a free, Flash-based widget that streams your Twitter, Digg, Stumbleupon, Flickr, and Delicious activities.  Of course, you don’t have to use all those services, but it’s nice to have some variety.  You can also add a custom feed, which comes in handy if you maintain a company blog in addition to your main site.

Plus, a BloggyBits widget is dead simple to create. Check the social services you want to feature.  Plug in your username (or the RSS feed) and arrange the services in the order you want them to appear. Push a button, and your widget is instantly generated with a preview window and embed code.   That’s it.

bloggybits blog BloggyBits flickr

The widget, itself, is nothing fancy, but it is clean and simple to navigate.  A user can toggle your social profiles by clicking on a service icon.   Arrows at the bottom of the widget let them page back and forth for older content.

BloggyBits makes a nice addition to any site or blog sidebar.  It’s an easy way to tie-in your company or brand’s social media activities without adding the ubiquitous “follow me” icons.

BloggyBits drops public feeds in an existing shell. There's no styling options or customization, which means no need for user accounts. However, if you want to manage your widget (i.e. change up some of the services), you can give BloggyBits your email address, and it will create a URL specifically for your widget.

Curious why Facebook didn't make the cut? We were. Then, we stumbled upon this tidbit on KillerStartups, which hints to BloggyBits's monetization strategy.


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  Through the grapevine Organize and promote your event with tweetup management tool, Twtvite

Posted by maggie.hunsucker August 28, 2009

twtvite logoLooking for a quick and easy way to spread the word about your next event?   Consider holding a Tweetup.  Tweetups are like Meetups (an idea we discussed in Swim, swap, and sweet), except you’re using Twitter to promote your event.

Thing is, a tweetup can get out of hand quickly.   It only takes one person retweeting the location and #freebeer, and your event turns into that house party you had senior year when your parents were on vacation.

That’s where Twtvite comes in.  Twtvite is a free tweetup management tool.  It’s simple to use and comes with several great features:

  • RSVP – yes, no, maybe
  • Waiting List – manages guest list for full events
  • Add to calendar (Google Calendar, Outlook, iCal, Yahoo! Calendar)
  • Maps -  shows location of venue
  • Printable name tags – based on people who RSVP’d Yes or Maybe
  • Comments

Here’s how it works:  Fill out a Twtvite form with your event details and Twitter name.  Don’t forget to add a #hashtag, which makes it easier for the service to see who is tweeting about your event.   After your Twtvite is created, you can tweet the URL or post a message to social sites like Facebook.  People who click on your link will be directed to the invite, where they can RSVP, see who else is going, leave comments, and more.

twtvite twitter event manager

You can also use Twtvite to find tweetups in your area.   If you’re leery about holding a tweetup or want to see a tweetup before committing, browse your local listings.

Twtvite provides a widget you can embed on your website to promote your event. The widget includes event details and a way to RSVP.

Need some tips on organizing a successful Tweetup? Mashable put out this Do's & Don't's list with helpful hints like provide food, checkout the location, make sure wi-fi is available, and more.


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  Macro Management Stay connected to your corporate social network with the Yammer iPhone app

Posted by maggie.hunsucker August 27, 2009


Mobile workforces are a reality for most businesses today.   People are spread between offices, meetings, and commutes, making it tough to manage your worker bees, let alone centralize operations.

In Everything looks like a nail, we discussed how Twitter-esque corporate tool, Yammer, can help.   Yammer keeps everyone in the loop through a “what are you working on?” live update.  As the platform increases in popularity, so have the features.   In particular, the Yammer iPhone App.

The app is free and does a nice job of mimicking the look and feel of the browser-based version.  As employees update their status, it streams across your iPhone screen.  You can reply to another worker’s status, offer feedback, or update your own status.   If you’re frequently out of the office (client meetings, travel, whatever), you don’t have to miss a beat.   You know exactly what everyone is working on and what they’re talking about.

yammer iphone app2
The Yammer iPhone app has been around for awhile, so why talk about it now?  Well, they’ve released a new version with some excellent upgrades.  Most notably, push notifications.  Push notifications operate like text messages with the added bonus of not being charged for a text message.  When someone updates their status, you get a pop-up notification, and if you choose, a sound.    You can also pick and choose which feeds you want to get push notifications for.   We see this coming in handy if you need to closely monitor the status of a project and the workers connected to it.

Other updates include the separation of master feed and received messages and cached feeds.  The latter gives you the ability to view updates offline, based on the last time the app connected to your Yammer network.   A time stamp lets you know exactly when that was too.

If you’re already using Yammer in your office, and have an iPhone, this one is a no-brainer.  It’s an app for the true “mobile worker”.

Perhaps the most eagerly anticipated Yammer update is conversation threads. You now have the option of toggling between stream-view and thread-view, which means you can view comments connected to a particular update, a la Facebook.

Despite the industry accolades, many feared Yammer was just a Twitter wannabe, and it would struggle to find a place in corporate culture. Platform adopters actually argue that Yammer has improved their communications, eliminating superfluous emailing and crowdsourcing new ideas and feedback.


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  Lights, Camera, Action Create a music video-style sales piece with Animoto

Posted by maggie.hunsucker August 26, 2009

In Domo Arigato, we discussed how to put your images to music and make a killer slideshow presentation.  Now, Animoto (the featured idea) is letting you add video to the mix.

First, let me clarify that “slideshow” is an over simplification of Animoto’s product.   These aren’t exactly PowerPoint presentations here, but rather, mini music videos made with images, video, and text.   You can upload your own materials or pull from Animoto’s stock library.  Both images and video are categorized (e.g. travel, aerial shots, etc) for easy browsing.  Simply drag and drop the elements you want to use in your video, edit the order, and choose a soundtrack.   You can upload your own song or borrow a sample from Animoto’s library.  I was pleasantly surprised by the selection, even if I didn’t recognize the artists.  Songs range from classical to electronica, indie to hip hop.

When your presentation is to your liking, hit the finalize button and Animoto will create the video.  I threw this one together in 2 minutes using images found on my hard drive and Animoto’s stock video clips and soundtrack.

It’s no masterpiece, but it does illustrate the capabilities of this product.   You don’t need fancy software or a motion graphics artist to create a simple, yet effective video sales piece.  Animoto’s basic offering and what I demoed, the Animoto Short, is free, and a full-length video only costs $3.  An all access, 1-year subscription, which includes unlimited full-length video creation is $30.

We heart iPhone apps here, and Animoto's app is definitely worth a mention. Choose images, video, and soundtrack from your phone's personal library and click a button. It's that easy.

Animoto has a pure business offering too, which costs $249/year. The package includes unlimited full-length videos, commercial licensing, and no Animoto branding. Check out the gallery to see how a variety of businesses are using Animoto for their video needs.


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Let the Mountain come to Mohammed Turn site visitors into Facebook Fans with the Fan Box widget

Posted by maggie.hunsucker August 25, 2009

If your company’s social networking efforts are stalled, it may be time for a new strategy.  Instead of waiting for your brand enthusiasts to find you, try socializing on familiar turf – your own website.

Facebook Fan Box

Facebook has rolled out a new promotional feature called Fan Box.   Fan page administrators can now add a Facebook widget to their website that streams both Facebook activity and a list of your current fans.  There’s also a button that lets visitors become your fan without leaving the page.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist – or digital scientist for that matter – to see the benefit here.   The widget helps convert your existing site audience into Facebook fans – a move that positions them to interact with your brand more.  Not to mention, it provides yet another avenue to pull content into your site.

Facebook has made it pretty easy to add Fan Box too.   Just grab a few lines of Javascript, and you’re set.   You can find a link to the code in your page’s navigation bar, under “Edit Page”.   The widget requires a minimum of 200 pixels (w) x 554 pixels (h) to fit on your page.  If you want, you can reduce the size of the widget by eliminating some of the features.

It should come as no surprise that Facebook Connect is powering your Fan Box widget.

Several major brands are already using Facebook Fan Boxes, like Newsweek & Coca-Cola. Think of a Fan Box like a company news ticker, reporting anything and everything you promote about your products and/or services on Facebook.


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