Experimenting with Social Media

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After multiple talks with Jason Strate (blog|twitter) and Denny Cherry (blog|twitter) about how they are working on automating more of their blogging and social media interactions, I’m going down that road… a little ways.

The first thing that I’m trying out is Pocket. It’s a way to capture web sites that you want to read later. You don’t want to have to try to manage book marks in your browser. They all suck (and Google Chrome on the Mac sucks even worse) in this task. So this app lets you quickly mark a site and tag it for reading later. Further, you have an account that you can access from multiple devices. I’m already trying out two different readers that will work with Pocket on the Surface and I already have one for the phone. (yes, still using the Surface, more blog posts coming).

This then leads to IFTTT, or If This Then That. It’s a way to automate some of the interactions of things you do on the internet. I’m just getting started. I just set up my first trigger to post any articles I’ve read from Pocket to my Facebook account with a link. It was insanely, stupidly simple. Oh boy! More stuff to come as soon as I can find more things to do with this. Oooh, there are suggested triggers, such as RSS feeds to Pocket. Oh yeah, this is dangerous, slick and cool. Stand back.

I’m also looking at HootSuite. I’ve already been using automating a Facebook post and a Tweet when I post to my blog. But, it’s just the one time. You know how any one Tweet can get lost in your Twitter stream. So, maybe a few (a very few, I refuse to become a spam engine) extra tweets after a blog post would be useful. The basic setup there is quite simple, but management looks like a bear. I’ll have to see if IFTTT can help there. Ah, there it is, a nice easy way to link an RSS feed to accounts. Can’t do all accounts at once without moving to the paid service. I’ll have to wait to see if I need that.

All experiments are starting out on Facebook, primarily because I care the least about my Facebook account. I do care about G+ and Twitter. These seem to have a lot more professional interactions.

As I see more possibilities here, I’ll share them.



  • This is great. You just saved me some research. I do have some questions, I know you aren’t surprised. 🙂

    Did you compare InstaPaper to Pocket?

    Do you have a “professional” Facebook account, or are you using your personal one for your experiment? I haven’t considered a professional Facebook account yet.


    • Questions? You? Color me shocked. Ha!

      No, I haven’t compared Instapaper to Pocket. But, I’m finding some shortcomings with Pocket because I want to be able to easily pull together what I’ve read in order to create a post and you can’t do it (yet). I’ll have to look into Instapaper. We need to encourage Jason & Denny to blog about how they do it because they’ve solved some of the problems I’m currently chasing down.

      I don’t have a “professional” Facebook account. I just used my name. I kind of don’t care about Facebook. I get more hits and responses through Twitter and G+. I suspect technical people use those more often for technical stuff. But, you have to have a Facebook presence, so…

      As always, keep those questions coming. You’re priceless!

  • Grant, BufferApp is another great tool you may want to check out. Using Buffer, you can queue posts and send them automatically to either twitter or Facebook at per-scheduled times. It is integrated with lot of other tools, including Pocket and IFTTT!

  • Thanks. 🙂

    I have toyed with the idea of Evernote. It’s a bit overwhelming for me, but it may be time to use it. It’s suppose to be great at collecting electronic “slips of paper” from various sources so that you have them together all the time. I’ll have to have my 14 year old daughter give me a tour.

    Are you using the WordPress.com widget to post to all of your accounts? (WordPress.org has it through the Jetpack.) 99% of my readers have come through those posts, the majority through Facebook, but that’s because I’ve been on there longer.

    What other social media do you recommend?

  • Mickey,

    I still haven’t settled out properly between EverNote and OneNote. But, having a mechanism for notetaking, capturing links, doing screen caps & managing it all… that’s invaluable.

    I have a widget that posts to twitter & facebook, but I’m finding that it looks like IFTTT is going to work better, plus it covers more types of social media.

    LinkedIn for sure. Other than that, I haven’t found any of the other social media venues make a big difference for me so far. I’ve largely stopped using 4square except when I’m travelling to a #sqlfamily event. I’m open to trying others, but so far, nothing beats facebook & twitter.

  • You can do the WordPress to Facebook element with one of the Jetpack tools. Jetpack is a package of wordpress.com tools backported to wordpress.org – it’s from WordPress. Seems to work quite well. Let me know if you want to dig out details.

OK, fine, but what do you think?