Dlvr.it Now Sends to Google+ – Go Autopost Your Blog!

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Web routing tool dlvr.it pulls content from existing feeds and formats and delivers it to your social networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and many more social networks. As of this week, dlvr.it will now route your RSS feeds to Google+, which for me is great news. I already autopost my blog on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Now I can easily make sure my content gets posted to Google+ too. This is exciting news as dlvr.it is the first third party tool that allows such cross-posting to Google+. At this point, it will only publish to pages rather than personal profiles, but this is still a start.

 

Dlvr.it is a bit like a focused IFTT – its purpose is to deliver RSS content to social sites. But it is about more than simply delivering the news. It is a delivery mechanism and analytics dashboard, allowing bloggers, publishers and brands a way to instantly syndicate content and expand reach on the social web and into new channels. You can manage and measure the flow of your content everywhere your audience is. Dlvr.it publishes media, blogs, and other content to your social channels, instantaneously. You can then measure how people are interacting with that content. In the dashboard, see who clicks, comments, retweets and otherwise interacts with your content. What is cool is that Dlvr.it sends to more different sources than some of the other feed publishing tools, and automatically formats it appropriately for the destination. You also can set all or part of your feeds to go to different destinations. It has its own url shortener, or you can use bit.ly to shorten your links.

 

Free gets you five feeds into three social services, with a 30 minute window for delivery. Pro and Ultimate give you more for $9.99 and $19.99 per month, respectively. One of the add-ins is the Google+ Page destination. You also get support with the paid versions, push updates, geotagging posts, feed scheduling, advanced filtering and auto text edits, and other features.

 

If social media content syndication is important to you, then it might be worth a little change to set up your content to be delivered where and when you want it to on your social sites – taking the manual sharing piece out – and getting a little more feedback on how well your content is received. With the addition of Google+ as a social destination for dlvr.it, the cost is even more compelling.

Crowdsourcing the Law? Apparently You Can, With Jurify

Seems a blasphemous concept, but how about getting top-tier legal resources from the finest legal minds for free? Jurify is looking to secure content from the best and the brightest lawyers to include on their site, offering in exchange recognition via direct attribution and inclusion on top ten lists by category. They are soliciting information from lawyers, double-checking its accuracy with other lawyers, and then offering the content to still more lawyers and the public at large for free or cheap. Up the Revolution!

Jurify’s brand new, slickly designed site, is the brainchild of law grads / lawyers Eric and Nicole Lopez who hope to change the way people access legal resources. They are so hip, they look like they are even using Instagram photos on their about page! So, what kind of content are we talking about here? Really anything – memos, blog posts, client alerts, white papers, videos, cases, articles, websites, news stories, training materials, sample briefs, sample forms, whatever. All tagged and searchable, with the ability to rate and comment on the content and awarded with Credibility Scores. What’s that? The Credibility Score measures a legal member’s level of engagement with a specific subject, generated via a proprietary algorithm. The algorithm factors include the type, quantity and quality of contributions, professional background and achievements. If you contribute quality content, the site promises to include you in lists that showcase your brainpower, presumably encouraging the public to choose you for more in-depth analysis. Oh, and you can even earn achievements, like little Foursquare badges. I want the Learned Hand badge – I have ALWAYS loved his name!

From their site:

Jurify is the home for top-tier attorneys and blue chip executives involved with the law. Created by experienced lawyers from global law firms who grew tired of the cloistered and outdated way law was practiced, Jurify is an invitation-only platform that channels the collective genius of the best attorneys worldwide to deliver high-quality legal resources in mere seconds.

Our content is contributed by carefully-screened attorney members who share without pay. These lawyers are rewarded withrecognition through direct attribution as well as placement in our practice-specific “Top Attorneys” lists. They also earn Achievements designed to showcase their accomplishments and provide additional validation to discriminating clients and employers in search of the best the legal world has to offer.

The site promises the mindware of the most accomplished practitioners, and invites viewer attorneys to apply for free membership, as inclusion in the site is invite only. I imagine they are pretty hungry for applicants right now – as it appears obvious the success of Jurify will depend heavily on getting quality material from a lot of quality contributors. While it may not be as attractive to busy lawyers already earning a decent living and finding it difficulty to piece two minutes together, I see it as a potential marketing tool for newer lawyers interested in getting their name out there. Which cuts against the promise of crowdsourced experience, but let’s overlook that small hiccup for the moment. There is also, as expected, a rather lengthy terms and conditions I recommend reading closely.

Jurify is indeed a novel concept. Can it take hold? In a world driven by social media, achievements and on-line recognition and promotion, maybe it could. I hope it does. Better access to legal help isn’t such a bad thing, is it? Check out their promotional video below and stop by their site. Let me know what you think – this is definitely a conversation-starter.

State – A Roll-Your-Own Streaming App

There is a new kid on the block in the game of stream-management and that kid is State. Similar tools  have come before, with Friendfeed the most notable – apps that allow you to take your content from other applications and combine it into a single application much like braiding strands of hair into a single coil. The benefit to the user is a one-stop location at which the user’s own content can be managed and viewed, as well as a single vantage point for that user to view and interact with the streams of his or her follows. This was the point behind the popular Friendfeed, which has lost its luster in the wake of a talent sale to Facebook, and appears to be the driving force behind State.

It is not a clone, however. For example, your content isn’t just passively pushed into the service. You connect your services (five at the moment for bringing in content – Twitter, App.net, Instagram and, very interestingly, Dropbox, as well as Instapaper for sending out content), and build out your stream manually. When you add content using the icons on a “workspace” page, which you can rename with a better description of your page, you can select the incoming stream, then the resource – in other words the filter of content by filters that are meaningful to the service, including home timeline, mentions, user, place, tag, search, list, location, favorite, etc. Then fiddle with the content box dimensions containing the stream content and create a boxy-magazine like look. You can have several workspaces accessible by dropdown arrow.

You will also be able to follow others streams if users choose to make them public, and you can choose to make yours public or keep them private. Thus, when State really gets going (and hopefully hooks up more services), you will be able to use it as a content discovery tool and a personal content curation tool. The interface is unique and interesting. I can see the benefit as more services are added – and can definitely see the utility from both sides (managing your own and viewing others content) of the content coin.

You can ask for access to the private beta at the link above, and check out a demo of how State works. Can’t wait to see how this tool develops.

Twitter. Are You Doing It Wrong?

With only 140 characters to work with, it is hard to imagine screwing up Twitter. But, where there’s a will, there’s a way. The Atlantic reports today on a study of 43,000 responses to various types of tweets that parses out what readers liked and didn’t like in their microblog content. The study by Paul Andre, Michael S. Bernstein, and Kurt Luther revealed that readers felt about a third of tweets were worth reading, somewhat less than a third were inane and the rest fell somewhere in the middle. That’s a pretty high dreck to value ratio. Where do your tweets fall?

The researchers used a web site called “Who Gives A Tweet” to collect the ratings – users were promised anonymous ratings in turn for their own ratings of other’s tweets. After collecting reviews from over 4,200 users who rated at least ten tweets each, Andre, Bernstein and Luther began the parsing process.

And what did they learn? That the standout reason for disliking a tweet is that it’s boring. Boring often equates to tweeting old information or being repetitive. Other complaints? Links without explanation. Too many hashtags or Twitter specific syntax. Mean-spirited tweets, negative sentiments and complaints.

And what did people like? The highest value was ascribed to informative and funny tweets. Usually a tweet was rated one or the other but not both. And, despite the 140 character limit already serving as a brevity inducing mechanism, people appreciated more concise tweets that got the information out in as few words as possible. Reader also appreciated thoughtful questions to followers, deeming it a good use of the medium. Finally, and somewhat surprisingly, self-promotional tweets did not suffer any more negative treatment than passing along someone else’s news or content – readers appreciate the news, even if that news is generated by you rather than the AP.

The report concluded with these thoughts:

Content. Information sharing, self-promotion (links to personally created content) and questions to followers were valued highly, while presence maintenance, conversational and ‘me now’ statuses were less valued.

Emerging Practices. Our analysis suggests: embed more context in tweets (and be less cryptic); add extra commentary, especially if retweeting a common news source; don’t overuse hashtags and use direct messages (DMs) rather than @mentions if more appropriate; happy sentiments are valued and “whining” is disliked, and questions should use a unique hashtag so followers can keep track of the conversation.

 Even though I already focus most of my Twitter activity on passing along news, this report gives me ideas about how to package my tweets in a more appealing format. Might be worth taking a look at your own content to see if you fit within the worth saving or worth chucking file. Because, you don’t want to wonder whether your tree makes a sound when it falls in the Twitter forest and there’s no one there to hear it.

How To Deal With Google Search + Your World

A lot has been going down at Google lately. New collapsed privacy policies, which I am covering in my next class at Solo Practice University, and the roll out of the new Google Search, which adds a + Your World layer to the search giant’s core application – search. What does it all mean? What do I do with this? Big questions, but there are answers to be found and it isn’t as overwhelming and life-changing as one may think when one reads the hue and cries over privacy and search integrity overflowing the tech blogs in the wake of the roll out.

You can read more about the details of Google Search + Your World here. Or check out the video below for an overview.

The essential change is that Search +, as it is being called, will include content added by your friends to your search results when you type in a query. You will also see relevant profiles (Google + profiles, that is) in your results view, and you can expand your social connections with profiles related to your search queries. The assumption, or really the sell, is that content on point generated by your contacts will be of greater relevance, value and presumably veracity than results from the larger, impersonal web. Social results will be marked in your results list with a little blue person, so you can distinguish social or Search + results from general results.

What kinds of content will you see from your friends? Photos, Google + content from your Circles, Google profiles and people and pages related to your topic. So not all of the content being served is directly connected – popular Google social content will also show, which presumably is what traditional SEO companies and advocates are squawking about – it will turn Google relevance on its head. The new mantra is fostering a presence on Google+ in order to improve social search results. Facebook and Twitter won’t help you here – Google is clearly favoring its own content, in part because it can and in part because of impediments to mutually beneficial relationships with Facebook and Twitter. Big business at its best here folks.

Google has been moving in this direction for some time, with its introduction of +1′s across the web improving page ranking and integrating social search back many months ago. It is now giving its own social network, Google +, a leg up in the social search results. And why shouldn’t it? Social search is the next big evolution of search on the web and if Google has readily available relevant social content, they would be “mad” not to include it in their results. And, for all of those users afraid of social polluting their search, you can always toggle off the social search function using the buttons at the upper right corner of the search results screen – or not log into your Google account at all when you search.

So, as a content creator, get yourself on Google + and make the best effort of it. You probably already have a Twitter stream and a Facebook page – get that content moving on Google + too. If that sounds daunting, add some tech wizardry with a cross-posting extension like this one here. If you are a content searcher, then you can toggle social on or off, but consider that you are getting more potentially relevant leads and links with social turned on. Search both to compare results – that one extra step might will put you in a better position than searching one or the other alone.

Google + and social are definitely here to stay. Might as well make the best of it.

 

 

Scoop.It's Rich, Easy Curation Makes You Look Like A Pro

Scratching both the itch of discovery and creation, Scoop.it is an invite-only service that offers a slick, powerful tool focused on content. Within the rich interface, users can set up topic-based pages to fill with relevant content. Or, users can explore the pages created by other users. Or both.

Scoop.it makes the curation part VERY easy for you – along with the standard bookmarklet that will allow you to pull from all over the Web, you will also get a stream of recommended content from around the Web for each page you maintain right on the site. Recommendations are based on your own search terms and can be tweaked by source or term. With one click, that content is packaged into a nice little “box” showing the title with link to original article, image and a quote that sums up the article, enticing the reader in for further discovery. When you have curated enough content, your page starts to look like one of those magazine-themed apps like Flipboard or Pulse. Scoop.it also shows you stats for your page, so you can see how people are interacting with your content.

Of course, there are cool social features. In addition to the usual sharing options to other social sites, Scoop.it lets you follow other pages of interest, comment on material and even suggest material to topic curators. Check out the embed of my page on Pro Tech:

Scoop.it’s team likens itself to Tumblr without the blogging and Paper.li with more manual control over the content. Scoop.it isn’t stingy either: they are fine with you taking your Scoop.it page and embedding it elsewhere, anywhere – such as a Facebook page, WordPress blog or LinkedIn, with widgets and embeds. The Slideshare below talks about this new feature in greater detail.

Scoop.it is a total package for content curation, meeting many needs – particularly of those passionate or knowledgeable, but without the time to devote to a blog to impart that information to the public. Look like a content pro with Scoop.it.

XYDO – Your Social News Reader

What do you get when you cross the now, apparently, defunct Socialmedian and social-question-site darling Quora? Well, I am not sure, but it might look something like XYDO. If you like your news crowdsourced, timely and with a healthy side of friends, then XYDO might interest you. Instead of using algorithms to filter news of interest, XYDO prompts you to use your trusted friends to sift the good stuff to the top of your web page. You create an “activity stream” of content by choosing fairly fine-grained topics of interest and friends to follow from your social services. This content is pulled from links shared by these users. Further break down this content by stories that are trending, newest or top in the past 24 hours (or current). If you want a broader view of the news, step back and peruse the front page, so to speak, which pulls top content sitewide. Each news story offers some interaction as well, in the form of a voting option (which looks a lot like Quora’s answer voting mechanism), the identity of who shared the story, the categories the story belongs to, how and when the story was shared and a process for commenting on or discussing the story within the news blurb displayed on your XYDO page.  And, when you check out a story, note the related articles showing in the right hand column – you could dig yourself pretty far down into a given topic pretty if you are following the right people and subject matter. And it isn’t all tech – some of the early closed beta adopters set up some legal channels in XYDO, so the topical content is not strictly tech-oriented (although I don’t mind that particular orientation myself).

Follow content, follow sources, contribute your own sources to existing topics. Trending updates on a story can show back up in Twitter from XYDO if you choose to follow them there or keep tabs on the highly interactive, clickable, information-laden XYDO page. But don’t forget to leave a trail of popcorn – if you are a news junkie like me, you might need some help getting back out of the forest of information.

When all is said and done, I like XYDO’s take on news delivery, post-information explosion. It seems the best options for filtering content these days are either leveraging high tech algorithms or leveraging people you know and trust. No matter how you slice the “behind the scenes”, any filtering, tagging and sorting of the vast quantities of content is a GOOD thing. Cheers to XYDO – hope they keep it flying.

This week, XYDO opened its closed beta doors to the public. Go check them out at the link above and add your own voice to the mix – the more quality curators hopping on board, the better this crowdsourced news mecca will become.

Qwiki & PostPost – Two Great Consumption Tools

I have been playing around with a couple of web tools and thought I might share with the class. Both offer filters, or perhaps lenses, for content with a focus on presentation.

The first one is Qwiki, a tool that has been in closed alpha testing for a while, but has just been released to the public. Qwiki bills itself as a multi-media search engine, but I see it as more of a visually stunning wiki tool. Visit Qwiki and you will find the usual search box. A nice touch – suggested results show below your typed term offering you options. Qwiki includes more than 3 million reference terms, mostly nouns such as people, places, and things. Enter a term and receive an “information experience” – a selection of videos, photographs, maps, and more, as well as links to related topics. You get a narration and scrolling text of the “answer” to your query running throughout the video / slideshow. Share the Qwiki you happen to be viewing via social media links, email it, or embed it in another site. The wiki part for me was being prompted via button at the top to “improve” the Qwiki, such as suggesting video and images that might go with the subject matter. Combining user-participation with such a stunning experience is intriguing. It is SO science fiction. While Qwiki might have limited appeal now, due to its smallish database, imagine its impact when it can access a database of information the size of Wikipedia. And, consider “reading” the morning news on your smartphone with a Qwiki interface. Businesses and professionasl should run and not walk to Qwiki to develop their own brand – what a great way to leverage web presence in an information environment. Not so far-fetched and definitely appealing.

The second is PostPost – a social newspaper for Facebook users. Do you like Flipboard? Do you like Facebook? Then you will probably enjoy PostPost. The “real time” social newspaper is Web-based. Simply log in with your Facebook credentials, authorize the free app, wait a moment, and get a really nice magazine of your friends’ Facebook content. The page will show links, photos, and videos, offering an experience akin to paper.li’s treatment of Twitter. This is meant to serve as a real-time layout, with intelligent grouping of similar content, making it easier to read and share. You can control the experience by moving content between sections and change the size of the newspaper. Filter and block what you don’t want to see and emphasize what you do want to see. A real boon for large friend lists or overactive sharers.

Either way you slice it, making content more visually appealing and stimulating will improve retention and enhance consumption. Both Qwiki and PostPost are aiming to do just that. Check it out and check back in with your comments!

Relieve Eye & Finger Strain with Snip.ly

Content creation, sharing and consumption is what the Web is about. But, no doubt about it, the process can get a bit weary-making. To that end, there are tools out there that help speed up the sharing process and others that filter and hone information for easier consumption. Tools like curated.by and Keepstream allow you to pull information out of the gushing onslaught to show the thread or “story.” Tools like Amplify allow you to cull bits of information from around the Web – literally clipped sections from Web pages – and share them via personal stream within the Amplify environment or across the Web via widgets.

Amplify is onto something with its “clip the important part” leanings. Another offering that leverages this same concept, while meeting the needs of both content sharers and consumers, is brand new tool Snip.ly. Snip.ly has a site on which people share “snips” of the Web and bookmarklets and extensions to make the process of snipping and sharing as easy as possible. The idea behind the tool is that people see information flowing past in their Twitter and Facebook streams but opt not to explore simply because reading and processing the articles and media behind the links is too energy-intensive. Instead of sharing a link to the full article or media, Snip.ly allows you to clip the most important piece (in your evaluation) and share just that piece via URL. If a viewer clicks on the link, you are taken to the snip and, if the viewer is interested in finding out more, he or she can click within the snip to go to the full content. The snip becomes the gateway or filter – allowing users to expend less energy getting more information about the information on the other side.

Via Snip.ly’s bookmarklet, you can cull information from pages by simply highlighting the text and selecting your sharing medium, Facebook or Twitter, in the bookmarklet’s window. Like Amplify, you can include your own editorial comment on why the content is cool. When your readers click through to the target article or page, your snip remains visible over the page.

This is interesting, for sure,  for the individual user as well as their ultimate target audience. But the big picture is even cooler – Snip.ly will host these snips that ostensibly represent the coolest stuff out there in the minds of Webizens. Go directly to Snip.ly’s site to browse the stuff that caught others’ eyes. If content discovery is your passion, use the “shuffle” feature to get a random sampling of snips. If all goes according to Snip.ly’s Hoyle, it could become a ranking resource of the Best of the Web. Depending upon the filters and search functionality Snip.ly employs, it could become a decent resource in its own right.

Lazyscope Your Twitter

Big thanks to Louis Gray (link here) for breaking this one: the team behind my personal fav real-time discovery tool for blogs is putting its considerable creative force into a desktop client for Twitter. I have praised Lazyfeed in the Studio on prior occasions (link here and here). Now the Lazyfeed team has brought its hypnotic scrolling relevance goodness to your Twitter stream with Lazyscope (link here).

Lazyscope is an Adobe Air application and offers some of the same look and functionality as a traditional Twitter client in the left hand column. Tweets with links show a long URL and a quick synopsis of the subject / content. But, you can get the full content with media if click a tweet – it will show in the right hand pane of the interface. The bottom right corner shows new tweets of interest. All in that fun, scrolling Lazyfeed-like way.

What makes Lazyscope extra cool is the integration of your Twitter stream with RSS reader capabilities. You can enhance the Twitter stream with your favorite RSS feeds and really turn Lazyscope into a one-stop-shopping center. You can subscribe in the right pane or enter a URL in the appropriate box at the tope. RSS updates will then show in your stream, right along with your Tweets. In essence, you are getting the best of both worlds in the debate over whether RSS or Twitter is the preeminent news consumption tool.

Another very cool feature is the ability to subscribe to and filter out a Twitter user’s particular content. You can subscribe to one users pictures and skip the Tweets by subscribing only to their photo service, bringing viewing into Lazyscope. Or simply subscribe to a user’s YouTube channel or blog posts. Pick your poison and filter out the rest.

Seems Lazyscope is all about fine-grained news consumption on the desktop. If you use Twitter primarily as a news reader and would like a better mousetrap for doing so, check out Lazyscope, sit back and watch the fun roll in.