Web 2.0: Hot tools for managing profiles, music and online video

Guilty as charged… I’m a heavy internet user and early adopter of web 2.0 services. I’m not a geek or a nerd though- just keen on mass communication and the dissemination of ideas, knowledge and creativity. The internet is by far and away my favorite place for this, but with the myriad of platforms offered here for social networking, video and music sharing, it’s easy to get lost in the maze, or simply not know how best to spend your time.

I’m happy to say that in the last two months I’ve discovered some terrific new online services which do (or promise to in the near future) allow you to maximize the impact of your sprawling web-presences. There are three gems that I will discuss here: one for individuals and general social network users, one for online video distributors, and another for musicians.

atomkeep - your profile everywhere
atomkeep - your profile everywhere

I only discovered this site today after following a Twitter link. While the service is in ‘closed beta’ (that’s nerd speak for ‘we’re still testing, but we’ll open to the public soon’, the labour-saving and syncronising services it promises to provide are exciting. Basically AtomKeep allows you to enter status, information and content updates to their site once, and it will in turn redistribute this information to the web 2.0 social networking sites of which you are a member.

At this stage, these include: LinkedIn, Monster, Facebook, CPGJoblist, Twitter, Mixergy, Slide, Jobster, Yelp, Blogger, JOBcentral, LastFM, YouTube, digg, Ning, Flickr, Google, WordPress, Disqus, Pownce, Technorati, Meetup, Plurk, Mixx, LiveJournal, Indeed, Job.com, Friendster, imeem, Bebo, Myspace and Unyk. Services listed as ‘coming soon’ include: HotJobs, Dice, Yahoo! Groups, Careerbuilder, Hi5, Vimeo, Upcoming, Plaxo, Epinions, Evite, TheLadders, Photobucket and StumbleUpon.

The above list covers a range of general social networking sites, job seeking ones, photo and video sharing sites, bookmarking sites, blogging and commenting portfolios, email list managers and more… surely this is a service every web 2.0 user can benefit from!

TubeMogul - empowering online video
TubeMogul - empowering online video

On the online video frontier, TubeMogul provides a service truly in a league of its own. Essentially a video re-distributor and tracking service (my description, not theirs) TubeMogul accepts your video uploads, complete with descriptions, categories and tags, and then redistributes the video to other sites of which you are already a member. The site even transcodes your video (if necessary) to suit the requirements of each different site. As if the service isn’t great enough already, the real pay-off comes when the stats come rolling in. Graphs of your video’s popularity within and between services can be customised with easy, and you can even track the progress of your peers/competitors. The site also offers some promotional services which I hope to explore soon- these include spruiking your videos on social networking and bookmarking sites. Getting involved with tracking our online video footprint via TubeMogul has got me really excited about online video. If you have an interest in this field, check it out pronto.

The third, and probably the most specialised service I will describe here is ArtistData. Also currently in ‘closed beta’ ArtistData gives musicians and managers the capacity to easily handle presences of their artists across numerous sites and platforms. There are truckloads of web 2.0 services offering musicians distinct audiences for their work and forums for its discussion and proliferation, so the need for a service like this has existed for some years. As I’m yet to be invited to sign up, I can only cite the services the site claims to provide. It claims to:

    Import your shows from MySpace or allow you to enter them manually.
    Synchronize your shows to social network profiles on PureVolume, Virb, and soon Facebook.
    Submit shows to concert databases such as Jambase, Last.fm, and many more.
    Update your official website through XML or a customizable calendar widget.
    Updates your desktop calendar (iCal, Outlook, Thunderbird, Google Calendar).
    Export formatted show lists for import to SonicBids and ReverbNation.
    Automate the submission of shows for listing in local publications. *See screencast.

So there you have it folks, one service to leap on and two to watch for their pending public launches. I don’t know about you, but I really dig the way the web is evolving right now.

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Blogging: Blogtaststrophe averted! Beware of rogue plug-ins…

Yesterday I coined the term ‘blogtastrophe’, when I vaporized my blog’s back catalog of posts by tinkering with some new WordPress plugins. Having only discovered the wonderful blog platform of WordPress a little over two weeks ago, I had been impressed by the stability and user-friendliness of the system. Obviously, WordPress’ team can’t guarantee the same rigour in its vanguard of external plugin and widget developers, so that was where my suspicion fell.

As an eager freelancer and budding entrepreneur, the plug-ins I was looking at had been options for expanding my blog to include a revenue stream through on-site advertising. I had earmarked two for this purpose: SmartAds (which uses Google’s popular AdSense engine and is currently running beautifully) and the more ambitious Revver plugin.

For those embedded in the world of online video, you’re probably aware that Revver is one of the few sites which offer a return for content creators. Not only would this plug-in start me off towards an ad sponsored pay-per-click system of sharing our video productions with the world, but it also promised to integrate other aspects of my Revver profile into the WordPress backend. I read nothing about a feature designed to destabilize and discombobulate my entire blog!

The party began immediately after installing the Revver plugin. All of my blog content links were appearing as ‘not found’. I realized that a swift undo operation was the order of the day, but alas, the Revver plugin did not offer a convenient method. I checked my options… I could copy and paste the articles from my Google Reader feed. I could download the files from Google’s cache (via its search engine), and re-post them. Oh no I couldn’t. New posts weren’t appearing either! I then discovered that the data had not been wiped afterall, and I could edit the posts provided I went to them via editing comments first. Edit, yes. Make re-appear? No. My two weeks of prolific posting was simply orphaned from its would-be readers… entombed within a buggerised backend. So I put the challenge to the experts at the WordPress.org forum, and Steve from the great WordPress tutorial website EduChalk came to the rescue.

Steve’s medicine was fast, effective and professionally administered. In a couple of hours, my blog was restored to peak fitness, and I thank him dearly for his professionalism, generosity of time and spirit. Incidentally, when I revisited the plugin’s page at the WordPress plug-in directory, it told me that the plugin had ‘not been tested beyond WordPress v. 2.6’. The moral of this story: always read the fine print… or… act in haste, repent at leisure as my Grandmother would say!

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Web 2.0: Social network profile integration & chain-reactions

I’ve been devoting much of my time of late to exploring Web 2.0 possibilities in the last few weeks… services, sites, widgets and ways to integrate them. Now that we all have profiles all over the place (Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, YouTube and countless others) keeping them all relevant can be pretty time consuming. Fortunately developers appear to be aware of this and are doing something about it. Here’s a cute little example of my most recent Web 2.0 chain reaction (websites updating other websites and profiles automatically). This is a pretty neat development, and can be handy both socially and professionally.

In this case, my goal was to proliferate my online video, and share the awareness of it as broadly as possible.

example of a web 2.0 chain reaction
example of a web 2.0 chain reaction
  1. TubeMogul.com – The chain reaction begins when I upload a video to TubeMogul. The site then redistributes the video to multiple video sites, including YouTube and a dozen or more others.
  2. Viddler.com – Viddler receives the file from TubeMogul reposts it there, and notifies my Twitter account. It posts my ‘followers’ a link to the vid automatically.
  3. Twitter.com – my Twitter account is linked to my Facebook profile, so in turn, Twitter updates my Facebook status and voila… my video upload is all over my major social profiles for minimal sweat.

Other sites that are worth a peep and help integrate your various profiles are FriendFeed and Wink. It seems Facebook is wise to this being a key aspect to the future of social networking, and has added an ‘Import’ button on your profile Wall… check it out and get linkin’!

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