Organize, Discover And Discuss With Springpad

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Springpad. All opinions are 100% mine.

Yesterday, I came across yet another social media site, but it’s more like a portal or maybe it’s a social media portal.. with apps… and a Digg-like ranking system.

What is Springpad?

Springpadscreenshot

Springpad was built to “help you get things done and share your knowledge”. From an end user view point, it’s a social media portal with built-in applications and data management. Really, though, I think this site becomes what you need depending on how you use it but the same flexibility that makes this site so full-featured also requires a small amount of experimentation if you want to get the most from it.

Features

For the most part, use of the site involves sharing, which is why I call it a social media portal. It utilizes a system in which you add something and people who also like it can “Spring” it up. What makes this site unique is that you enter specific types of items rather than just a link to something. Some things that can be entered are albums, movies, books, products, restaurants, recipes, etc. Anything you add can be locked down as private, left public, or shared via other social media like Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, etc. Some other things that can be added that I didn’t expect are lists, tables (data), files, alarms, lists, and coupons. Throw everything in your calendar, add a recipe and then shop from the shopping list it creates for you, or just share thoughts on you favorite restaurant, movie, or wine. Most stuff you’d want to share is covered. The easiest way to add an item if you’re already staring at it on a remote site is to click the Springpad Clipper browser button. If, for example, you happen to be viewing a funny video on YouTube, just hit the Spring It! button and a dialog pops up to allow for the addition of this video to your feed.

Besides collecting, Springpad has many apps to help you plan for the Holidays like a budget tracker, a gift wish-list app, and a party planner. You can also easily keep track of who sent you Christmas cards.

Christmas cards haven’t been all that hard to manage on my own, but the budget tracker, gift wish, and party planner are useful additions.

Open Development

What’s better than full-featured? Open (and easy) development.

Start with the Notebook App. You can add your own tabs & choose what types of items are on each tab. Also, you can add a Filter Box & change between expanded & collapsed views. Just click on the wrench to find most of these settings. Soon, we will allow users to publish their Apps to the public directory – stay tuned!

This is a feature of the site I really want to play around with more as I continue to use the site and explore.

What’s missing

When I signed up, I wasn’t asked for a username. I was able to later change my username from my settings panel, but I think this should be offered up front. The only other concern I had was that this site has so many options that I could imagine it becoming overwhelming if to some people. It is pretty intuitive, but there’s so much to take in. If you get overwhelmed with all the features, just pick one for the day and try the next one tomorrow.

Conclusions

Despite having to spend a little time to learn how some of it worked, I had my Flickr, Twitter, and Facebook accounts dialed in within about a minute and the user experience is about as smooth as can be with this many features. It’s another player in a crowded game, but Springpad brought its fastball and came to play. In my current interaction with the site, it seems like it needs more people playing along, still, to offer the kind of value that convinces people to keep it as their homepage, but I don’t think I’ll have to wait to long to see that happen. Get your free Springpad here.. When you sign up, add me.

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Using Chi.mp to Manage Your Social Media Presence

A tag cloud with terms related to Web 2.Image via WikipediaWhile skimming through my friends’ tweets on Twitter last week, I noticed a mention of something called chi.mp. The first thing I noticed upon visiting the site is the need for a beta code to sign up. I hate having to wait after requesting a code, but I also know that it means they’re doing something right, and I have less fear of it being overloaded while I’m using it. I submitted my request for a beta code and forgot all about it, as I do often. Today, I got my beta code in the mail and jumped right in.

What is chi.mp?
chi.mp touts itself as “the dashboard for your digital life”. That’s great, but what does that really mean? Any service I sign up for online should do one of three things for me: promote my brand/name/site, make me money, or save me time. This one falls into the “save me time” category, but it also fits into a fourth category. It gives me more control over who sees what.

For example, Rob and Anthony are surfing buddies of mine and I want to share with them my activity on surfersgonewild.com. However, I only want to show them and not, say, my family or my boss. With chi.mp I can label Rob and Anthony with the tag ‘surfers’ and then label my activity from surfersgonewild.com with the same tag. When Rob or Anthony visit my domain they will be able to see all my surfing escapades, but no one else will. I get to share my surfing side with my buddies but keep my professional persona intact for work purposes.

The only downside is that I have to give out the domain, but I’ll talk about portability below.

Let’s talk about the control
Frankly, I don’t care as much about the OpenID end of things. It’s nice that it remembers all my passwords, but I’m more interested in the control of information. I have a tech blog, but I like to talk about marketing, too, and I have 2 companies and a radio station and friends and family. Many of these contacts fall into multiple groups. I live my life somewhat transparently, so I don’t feel much of a need to “hide” information from my contacts, although I like that I can share my phone number only with people I tag, say, “phone-allowed”. The control chi.mp promises for me is the ability to give contacts tags that I can then tie to permission to see certain things. I may only want to show my MySpace updates to people I tag “friend”, and my twitter to people I tag “twitter”, but I may want to tag a few friends as “friend” and also as “twitter” and “phone-allowed”, so they can see my tweets, my MySpace updates, and call me if they like.

Will I use it and how?
I have spent a lot of time and effort branding the domain JoeTech.com, so to imagine pointing everyone elsewhere to keep up on my online life seems a bit counter-productive to my branding efforts. However, I’m already thinking of ways I can integrate it with JoeTech.com in a way that maintains my brand. But it’s not all just about other people getting the full effect of my web presence all in one place. It also helps me keep it all together.

I really like Chi.mp. The support (so far) has been great, the site just seems to work, and it’s very smooth.

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