An ABC of Social Software

An ABC of Social Software: From AllConsuming to Zotero

by Jessica Langlois

I’m
using the term "software" loosely here – many of these links are simply
sites that allow you to share information, or offer a cool utility,
without requiring a software download. This will most likely be a
hodge-podge of "fun," and useful, "stuff."

All Consuming
All
Consuming started off as an addendum to "43 Things," but has quickly
grown into its own. It’s what I use to list (and review) the books I am
reading in the sidebar of my library and personal blogs. Fun.

Blummy
Consolidate all those widgets in your bookmarking toolbar in one tab! Pretty easy to use, convenient result, and free!

del.icio.us
The most popular bookmark manager/tagger out there. Everyone loves it (except me). Everyone I know uses it. It’s all good.

Desktop on Demand
In
a nutshell, Desktop on Demand provides users with a Linux-based online
desktop that features online file storage, email client, browser,
multi-platform IM client, GIMP (photo editing), file encryption, and
more – and you can access your desktop, securely, from any internet
computer. It’s really cool. I have not played with all of the options
yet, but the free gig of online storage space alone is worth taking a
look at.

Flickr
My
all-time favorite photo sharing and storage site! There are tons of
sites similar to this, and I’ve tried a lot of them, but this my top
pick for sharing and storing your digital pics – and the "community"
aspect is tremendous. I never new that so many librarians were into
photography! There is free basic service, and expanded storage for a
mere 25 bucks per YEAR. There’s some amazing artistic work here as well.

Library Thing
Cool.
So cool. Catalogue your books here. Link to your bookshelf here. Meet
others who share your reading tatses here. Keep track of what you are
reading here. I have vowed to spend one whole rainy day playing with
this. Cool.

Linkwalla
Linkwalla
is a nifty little AJAX app created by a librarian, of all people. Using
this will allow you to easily and seamlessly save your links to
Linkwalla (for easy blog-listing, if I so desired), delicious, AND
Magnolia. All at once. Yay. Linkwalla’s "mini-blog for links"
positioning is interesting in itself – check it out.

 Metafilter.com
A
"community weblog" that allows registered users to post to the blog,
ask questions, and more. Some VERY interesting stuff here, from serious
to silly.It has turned into one of the largest information communities
on the Internet – it’s very cool.

Meebo
If
you use many IM programs and want the convenience of a browser-run
platform, check out Meebo. Want a nifty IM widget for your blog or
site? Check out Meebo.

Multipost Bookmarklet Tool
This
great little tool allows you to submit links to several bookmarking
sites with one click; fabulous time-saver for those of us who use more
than one.

Ning
Ning
has changed a great deal since I first blogged about it in 2006. It
went from being a place where you could create and/or clone lots of
social "apps" to a place where you can create your own social
network(s).In other words, you can create a network that works similary
to MySpace/FaceBook/Live Spaces, but with less hassle. I made one for
my high school graduating class, and it was a piece of cake. And, this
is what the Library 2.0 network uses….

Odeo
A
podcast addict’s dream, Odeo has over a million files (mostly podcasts)
for your perusal. It is also one of the easiest interfaces for creating
your own podcast – I had no idea what I was doing, and I had a
recording up and running on my blog in minutes. Certainly iTunes is
still the place for more professional or "commercial" podcasts, Odeo is
a great place to start.

Pandora
Want
to find new music to listen to? Want to try out a different internet
"radio" station? Then check out Pandora. Pandora uses the information
from the Music Genome Project
to create radio "stations" just for you based on the names of artists
or songs that you stipulate. You can share your stations, rate the
songs played on your station (to better "tune" the music they send
you), check out the Top 20 stations…. Lots of fun!

Qumana
One
of the latest entries in the personal blog editor field. Qumana is
free, has WYSIWYG capabilities, and has the cool feature of adding tags
directly to Technorati (or your blog), if you are so inclined. Qumana
was a breeze to set up and use, and did what it said it would do. So,
cool – it’s free!

Skype
I
cannot say enough good things about Skype. As a life-long phone addict,
this is the best thing to happen to me since voice mail. This VOIP
program is easy to use, FREE to download, FREE to use (with other
Skypers – or CHEAP when calling regular phones), and provides excellent
sound quality. If you are not into the headset thing, it works with
Bluetooth headsets or many of the VOIP corded and cordless phones
available. You can even get a phone number so that people who aren’t
into the VOIP thing can call you from a landline or cell phone. We
dumped our landline and use Skype instead. Awesome…

Spurl
What!?
You Spurl instead of using del.icio.us? Infidel! OK, I admit it – I
love, and use, Spurl. I tried the most popular bookmark manager/tagger
out there, but I just didn’t like it. I am a fan of folders, and
Spurl’s got ’em.Actually, Spurl has tagging, too, but it remains
completely overlooked. Oh, well, I love you, Spurl.
UPDATE! Spurl
has been "abandoned," for some time, and while it is still functional,
one of these days you may go to retrieve your links and the site will
be gone (unless someone decides to take it over). Be sure you are
adding to another site as well, or backing up your links.

Tumblr
Tumblr
creates a links "blog" rather than just a list like most of the other
social bookmark tools. Tumblr’s floral icon is reminiscent of Magnolia
(hmmmm), and it’s easy to use. Probably not for everyone, but like
Linkwalla, I think the concept is interesting.

Vimeo
There’s
Flickr for your photos, and Vimeo for your video clips. User-friendly,
fun, free. Was completely eclipsed by YouTube. But, because I always
seem to prefer the underdog, this is the site I use for video clips. In
terms of speed and ease of use, I like Vimeo better than You Tube.

VoiceThread
Talk
about a great way to create an oral history, a travel log, a
family-oriented audioblog – you name it. It allows you to post a
picture, or group of pictures, and then narrate them with video. The
best part? Other people (people in the photo, family members, friends)
can also add their comments to the album. I see a million groovy uses
for this.

Yedda
People
have questions. People have answers. May not be the right answers, but,
hey, you never know! I think sites like this have the potential to hold
hidden gems of great information. You’re smart – add to the greatness!

YouTube
The
popular site for uploading your video clips. Tons of clips ranging from
nearly professional to absolutely evil. I still prefer the ease of
Vimeo, but this is a great place to browse.

Zoom Clouds
Want
a tag cloud on your blog? Your blogging softeware doesn’t tag? Welcome
to Zoom Clouds. Zoom Clouds will add a tag cloud to your blog quickly
and easily – and you can customize it to match your style. Pair it with
Qumana and customize your tags.

Zotero
Zotero
is a great download that works with Firefox (and Netscape Navigator 9
and some versions of Flock) to keep track of your research sources.
Zotero captures citation information, allows tagging, saves searches,
exports formatted citations, allows note taking, and more. It’s free
and open-source, so expect changes, additions, and updates along the
way. It rocks.

Addendum:  List of Social Bookmarking Apps

Here’s a list of the social bookmarking apps I have checked out – there’s sure to be one here for you!

del.icio.us – Easily the most widely used. One of the first to "tag."
Spurl –
My favorite. Not overly popular. Old-school organizing plus tagging and
searching. Currently "abandoned," but still functional.
digg
BlogMarks.net
reddit
scuttle
simpy
netvouz
Furl –
One of the more popular ones
Shadows
Backflip –
Another oldie. Yahoo stylings.
Connotea  – Designed for "business" – looks business-y, works like the others
Wists – Called "social shopping," this is like a wish list on steroids. Love it.

Jessica Langlois works as a reference librarian in Rhode Island, and writes Cool Librarian, a library and tech resources blog. She is also the founder of Cool Librarian Research, a small research and information technology business.

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