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.

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Congrats, Rocket Lawyer, on the LawPivot Acquisition

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Rocket Lawyer, the do it yourself legal document creation tool site, has just announced its purchase of LawPivot, the Quora Q&A site for legal advice. Seems a decent match. Rocket Lawyer leverages the mindset of the new Web – the belief  that anyone can leverage web-based information and tools to accomplish whatever the task at hand, in this case legal document drafting. Rocket Lawyer also taps into attraction of  a la carte legal services – when the drafting process gets onerous, Rocket Lawyer will connect you with legal counsel to help you with the details. However, the cost of admission to the document generating process is free. Rocket Lawyer is all about improving access and simplifying the process in an affordable way. For lawyers, Rocket Lawyer offers a place to build a profile and means to connect with clients who need more assistance than the free legal forms generator can provide.

LawPivot, on the other hand, takes a slightly different approach to matching lawyers with potential clients. Over 2,300 lawyers in 37 states, to be precise. Site visitors can ask confidential legal questions on the site. Attorneys will then message the visitors back with legal advice. Users can ask unlimited, free, follow up questions. LawPivot can assist with questions on corporate, intellectual property, contracts, employment, tax, and immigration law, among other areas. Like Rocket Lawyer, the lawyers on LawPivot can create profiles to provide some background to site visitors about the lawyer’s competencies. LawPivot also attempts to connect users with lawyers who are best suited to answer the particular question. The more a user interacts with LawPivot, the better the site can track usage trends and improve matching of lawyers and potential clients.

I definitely see the overlap between these two sites and it seems to me that a purchase / merger makes a great deal of sense. Between forms generation and Q&A legal advice for discrete legal questions, the combination of Rocket Lawyer and LawPivot can cover a great deal of legal need with agile on-line tools. It appears that Rocket Lawyer will build LawPivot into the Rocket Lawyer experience. It will certainly be interesting to see the end result of this marriage. Best of luck to both businesses in reforming the practice of law.

Introducing Facebook’s Graph Search

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It’s been a while since Facebook has done anything interesting enough for me to write about. The wait is over, apparently, as today Mr. Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s new Graph Search. What is Graph Search? No, it’s not a method for finding a visual for your business stats course. It is Facebook’s way of “giving back” to its users a little of that user data it has been hoarding for the past 6 or so years.

Introducing Graph Search

Graph Search is essentially a search engine of Facebook’s “social graph” – a network dataset which describes the connections between people, or in other terms “the global mapping of everybody and how they’re related” per Wikipedia. Apparently, Facebook has been developing this engine for years, and either has finally perfected it or has simply gotten to the point where there are enough datapoints to make such a search tool viable – there are more than 1 billion people, 240 billion photos and 1 trillion connections within the social graph.

How does it work? Users (it is only in limited beta preview for U.S. users only) will be able to search queries across this graph like “people who eat sushi” or “people who eat sushi who also live in Seattle.”  Or, you can search things like “TV shows that my friends watch” or “languages my friends speak.” Or maybe “places my friends visit.” The results that come up are culled from your Facebook friends, as well as other information made publicly available by others on Facebook. Scary? Perhaps a little, but Facebook assures that users will only be able to search the content that has been made available to them. The net effect is that everyone’s search results for the same query will be different and custom tailored to them and their own social graph.

When it rolls out, users will see a search box at the top of the Facebook site that invites you to “search for people, places and things.” It will predict your search as you type, offering options, and the results page can be further filtered and massaged. Results will be ranked with the highest hits being the ones with the most interactions, likes and comments. Web searches can also be run – Facebook has partnered with Bing to provide those results to you.

Obviously, you are thinking about privacy right now. And you are right to do so, particularly when Facebook rolls out something new. Facebook is moving preemptively to assuage concerns – check out the video below:

What about the business angle? Graph Search will work for business Pages too. Along with the organic results for business-related inquiries, Facebook has indicated it will include sponsored links in the results. Obviously, making sure your Page is up to date, adding new content and cultivating fans and interactions will be important in securing high spots in more searches.

No matter how one feels about privacy, Facebook, etc., there is no doubt that Facebook’s new Social Graph Search is a huge announcement. Google has no access to this wealth of personal data. Facebook clearly is positioning itself as a formidable search option when those personal connections are a priority. And, as the world becomes more and more impersonal, those connections are sure to gain importance.

Getting Productive in January, 2013. With Apps.

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New Year, new clean slate. New resolutions, new start, or restart, or reboot, as it were. With smart mobile devices, it is easier than ever to organize, prioritize and accomplish goals. Seems now is a good time to highlight some of my favorite mobile apps to help you on your way. Some of these have been mentioned here before, some are new. I am pretty sure you will find something in the list to meet a need or two.

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Prismatic

Free

First off, I can think of no more effective and efficient way to parse the content flowing through Twitter, Facebook and Google+ than with Prismatic. This great iOS app reorganizes your Twitter feed to promote the content that is of the greatest interest to you. Enough of the Foursquare checkins and cat pictures. Prismatic will send along content from your tried and true sources, as well as offer up new sources of material to pique your interest. The UI is beautifully designed and gesture-based controls make a lot of sense – I find it very easy to use and effective for slicing through a lot of material very quickly. For those who have resolved to wade through their news sources more effectively and efficiently, Prismatic is the tool of choice.

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CloudOn

Free

If you are on Android or iOS, and you want to get as close to that Microsoft Office experience as possible, look no farther than CloudOn. Another previous feature here in the Studio, CloudOn not only gives you a meaty Office experience, it links you to Box, DropBox, Google Drive and SkyDrive to keep your mobile device at a decent fighting weight. It also features built in Adobe Reader and File Viewer tools. With the mainstays of Word, Excel and Powerpoint, most of your Office needs can be met with CloudOn on the go. Create and share and track your changes easily with the FileSpace feature. For those who have resolved to get more document drafting and editing work done while mobile, CloudOn is your best bet.

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Sparrow

$2.99

Let’s face it, the iOS Mail app, even with iOS 6 tweaks, still leaves something to be desired. If you are left wanting more in your mobile email client, check out Sparrow. If you can live without Push notifications (and really, can’t we all?) there really is a lot in this package. Pull all your emails, IMAP and POP, into a unified inbox and directly attach photos & images when composing without having to move between apps. Easily navigate with up and down swiping in a threaded conversation, and swipe once to uncover your mailboxes, labels and folders or swipe again to get to your account list. Mail will show profile images, and swipe to star, add labels, archive or delete. Smart contacts keep your most frequent contacts on top of the list. Enable send and archive to quickly unload your inbox and use a built-in web browser to navigate the web within Sparrow. Tapping and swiping moves you quickly between mailboxes and you can single click to mark all as read. Pull to refresh and leverage Priority inbox support. You can also use email Aliases. Search gets you local mail as well as remote mail on the server. Very nice indeed. And there is more. For those who have resolved to get on top of taming their email inbox, Sparrow has got you covered.

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Paper

Free, with in-app purchase for more tools.

Are you embarrassed by your attempts to render a picture? Would you like to be able to sketch your ideas and show them to others without your audience looking at your art with sympathy? If you have an iPad and want to be able to present your visual ideas easily and smartly, check out this iPad drawing app. It truly makes anyone’s scribbles look compelling and polished. Paper doesn’t overwhelm with an overly complicated interface and too many tools. There are just enough variables and options to keep your work interesting, but not so many that you will struggle with what to toggle next. Paper also employs some smart algorithmic magic behind the scenes to help your work look its best, with its expressive ink engine. Easily share what you have done via email, or on Tumblr, Facebook or Twitter. For those who have resolved to get more in touch with their right brain, Paper may offer the edge you need.

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Pocket

Free

How many times you have been browsing the Web, stumbled on something pretty cool or interesting or on-point, but had insufficient time to fully digest it or use it for your intended purpose and later lost access to it? You may not have heard of Pocket, but you might be familiar with the by its previous name – ReadItLater. Pocket is a shinier version of the Web notebook/bookmarking tool for Android and iOS, with visually appealing thumbnails of your saved media, and the compelling ability to save and then access the content across devices, even without an internet connection. Save stuff to your Pocket when your online and then read or view to your heart’s content while flying or out of internet range. Saves from your browser as well as from some of the finest content curation tools and apps, like Twitter, Zite, Flipboard and Pulse. Share the stuff you really want to keep from Pocket into Evernote, another Studio favorite tool. For those that have resolved to more effectively save, read and organize their content even without an internet connection, Pocket is the way to go.

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Zite

Free

With all that news out there on the web, wouldn’t it be nice if someone or something could simply pick the best stuff for you, the stuff that is most interesting, and give it to you in an easy to read layout with simple sharing tools? Wouldn’t it be great if your news curation assistant got smarter every time the two of you interacted? This is possible with another Studio feature, Zite. Zite initially was iOS only, but is now available on Android and Windows Phone 7 too and I find myself turning to it first when I don’t have a great deal of time to read and really only want to get the most important highlights on my most favorite news topics. And, like Prismatic, Zite will throw your some curveballs with new sources or topics that may be of interest based on your interests, so it never gets stale. For those looking to get the best, on-point news quickly and effortlessly, Zite is the go-to source.

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Google Drive

Free

While I have absolutely nothing against Dropbox, when I think free, agile and generous online file storage, I think Google Drive. Introduced this year to great anticipation and fanfare, Drive offers mobile solutions to tap into the Google cloud, edit and share your content and easily free up space on your mobile for more important things, like family pictures. Drive is a no-brainer on Android, but even the iOS app shines with features. Offline access and easy uploads make the process of moving content around painless and fast. And now, with the interaction of Gmail and Drive, you can send 10GB files out of your Drive and that is impressive by anyone’s standards. For those looking to maximize content management and local space, Google Drive is my favorite solution.

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Brewster

Free

Struggling with social fatigue because your contacts are spread out across mobile and desktop address books and social media outlets? Feeling like it is nearly impossible to reach out and touch someone, especially someone whose contact information you can’t easily find because you can’t remember where its stored? Brewster for iOS is a contact management app that combines all of your address sources into a single “book” on your device, matches pictures to contact information and even organizes those contacts intelligently so you can quickly access your closest contacts and view interactions. Easily search contacts or create your own lists. Quickly view contacts using images and tiles rather than text heavy alphabetical entries. For those resolving to stay in better contact with their numerous contacts, Brewster hits it out of the park.

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Khan Academy

Free

Feeling your brain leaking out all that valuable information you crammed in back in high school and college? Missing Stats or wishing you had a better grasp on chemistry? If you need a refresher or would like to get a decent overview in a subject, then you might want to check out Khan Academy’s more than 3,500 free video tutorials. Get them on the go on your iOS device and download them for offline watching on the iPad. View subtitles, and track your viewing progress with “credits” in the Academy. Khan covers a massive number of different topics, and you can too when you have some time between obligations and happen to have your iDevice handy. For those resolving to exercise their brains and broaden their educational horizons, enroll in the Khan Academy with their mobile app.

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LogMeIn

Free and Pro Paid Subscription

If you are out and suddenly find a need to access your home or office computer, what do you do? You hope you have downloaded to your computer and device the able LogMeIn app that will allow you to remotely access and control your desktop computer. The free iOS app offers remote control of PCs and Macs over WiFi and 3G and can connect to as many computers as you like. Access your home and work computers on the go and get to files on your computer and edit them on your mobile device. Remotely run any application on your computer from your iPhone or iPad. Even fix computer problems remotely. If you pay the subscription for Pro features, get HD video and sound streaming from any device or Pro enabled computer, use their My Cloud Bank integration to link the LogMeIn app with various cloud services, transfer files and folders between computers and save them to your device with File Manager, remotely print to any AirPrint compatible printer and use the Photo App management feature to access and transfer photos from or to your iPad and iPhone photo libraries. All the benefits of your desktop in your pocket and without the bulk. For those resolving not to forget to run their important desktop tasks, LogMeIn is a great way to go.

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I could really go on and on with these great apps – I have found lots of them over the course of the past five years of using mobile devices. But this should be a pretty decent start on the road to a more productive 2013. Happy New Year!

 

Advocate’s Studio’s 2012 in Review – Compliments of WordPress

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. Not bad considering I didn’t return to WordPress.com as an active user until November 2012.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 44,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 10 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.