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.

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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.

Podio's Virtual Office Solution

Office applications suites are not new. So, what sets the competition apart? How about social connection and extensbility through your own, custom-built apps?

Podio (link here) is a new social office platform, invite only at this point, that offers customization of your virtual office suite with application add-ons. Through these applications, Podio allows you to modify your virtual office to better fit your particular needs. You can then invite people to join your workspace to get your particular job done.

The basic set-up includes “Activity”, “People”, “Calendar” and “Tasks.” It looks much like a “Facebook for the workplace”, but it doesn’t stop there. On top of the basic, you can create your own, function-specific applications yourself, or you can search the directory of applications offered by other app-creators. Open API is coming for further third party app innovation. Add-on applications currently include a wide variety of tools, from recruiting, bug reports, sales leads, meetings, ideas, team blogs, workshops, milestones, moodboards, PR trackers, projects, photos, brainstorms, investors, and scripts to inspirations, votes, mentors, menus, sprints, suppliers, and tons more.  

The overview of workflow on your various projects appears in a familiar stream format. Of course, you can like, comment and share within the stream, a la Facebook. Very social. Tasks can be integrated into other apps to assist workflow, or can be connected to individual objects, like meetings. Contacts are created from the groups of individuals with whom you are working. The Calendar is smart – it pulls tasks, deadlines and other important data from your schedule to keep you notified of what’s next. Spaces are virtual “work rooms” – you can incorporate your coworkers, your internal team, your customers and your outsourced developers or vendors.

With an open API coming, any third party can come in and develop apps to extensify the basic set-up.

Podio seems a very smart implementation of the tools required by a virtual office, with more than a little nod to the social networking format to which we have become accustomed. Looking forward to seeing where this innovative service goes.

Is LinkedIn Getting All Social-y?

linkedinIf you hang out on LinkedIn, you may have noticed the dusty status box on your profile page. If you hang out on-line, you know what a status box is for. My sense of the LinkedIn status box is that it has been a cute little novelty on the site: some take advantage of it from time to time but most seem to ignore its existence. Sort of like ignoring the unpacked boxes from your move two years ago.

That may all change overnight. LinkedIn has announced integration of its cute little status boxes with Twitter’s power status updating service. Over the next 24 hours, LinkedIn will roll out to users the ability to automatically update Twitter with LinkedIn status updates and vice versa, with the use of a hashtag, much like the #fb tag. The LinkedIn tag is #in or li.

A nice feature is that you will be able to set up the cross-posting to send all or selected tweets. Not sure my business contacts want to hear what I had for breakfast yesterday. LinkedIn is also permitting users to show their tweet stream on their LinkedIn profile as well.

Facebook integration also may be in LinkedIn’s future, as well as URL shortening of LinkedIn updates to fit within the infamous 140 character Twitter limit (that makes sense).

I think this is the right move for LinkedIn. My historical complaint regarding the site is that it is, well, boring. There is plenty of business in the questions and group commentary, but the flow in those areas is slow, too slow for today’s real time world. Furthermore, there is little opportunity on LinkedIn to develop your “personality”. The modern Web in general and social networking in particular demand that the experience be fun, ever-changing and informative. Twitter integration goes far towards improving LinkedIn’s deficiencies in this regard.

Will you integrate your Twitter stream with your LinkedIn updates? Enquiring minds want to know!