The Death Of Twitter Tools

It was a nice run, but I was finally pulled into the 21st century kicking and screaming, and I’m not all that happy about it. Since last Friday I’ve been lamenting the apparent death of one of my favorite plugins, Twitter Tools, and now I’m ready to write about it.

Into The Unknown
Sean Molin via Compfight

Truthfully, it was almost like that. I wondered why none of my posts for the day had automatically gone to Twitter, and I saw there was an update to Twitter Tools. Since the same thing popped up on all 5 of my blogs I decided to use my SEO blog to test it out. When I upgraded, it said something about having to add a plugin called Social to run the plugin. I was wondering why I had to use a different plugin to run a plugin.

I loaded Social and went to its settings, where it said I had to get an API to use it. I had an API already set up for Twitter Tools so that was disturbing. So I skipped that part and decided to see what I could do without it. Well, it seems that without that you can’t post-date your articles to go live, and the only way you can get your post up is to actually tweet it through the post itself. What the hey?

I went into Twitter Tools, where everything I’d set up before was still there, but there was no option now on a post, as I went to do a test post, where it had a place for you to tell it to automatically post to Twitter.

I was irked, as I’d used that bad boy for more than 2 years, and I’d even taken the time to write a tutorial here as to how to set it up to work on Twitter. It was one of my post popular posts. Now it’s gone, as well as a couple other posts about that plugin and every article that I’d linked to talking about it.

But I needed something new. I knew a couple of friends had me hooked up to auto-share my posts when they went live, so I asked both of them what they did. Enter Twitterfeed, which takes any RSS feed and, when something new pops up, posts it to either Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. I was hesitant at first but Holly convinced me to go through with it. I did, ran some tests, and it works pretty well. I haven’t been able to figure out how to get it to post as soon as my articles go live, but I do have it set to check every 30 minutes for something new, and I guess I can wait 30 minutes or so.

As I said, I’m coming into the world of having to use web-based services instead of controlling everything on my own kicking and screaming. I wonder what the next technological shock will be.
 

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The Need To Reduce Information Overload

I’m someone who loves getting as much information as possible. Y’all know how I’ve touted that I subscribe to more than 200 blogs, and that, because I speed read, I can get through a heck of a lot of information.


Information Overload

However, I can’t get through it all, and I admit that there are times when I fall behind that I pop open the reader and see well over 500 titles in a category and think “there’s just no way I’m getting through all of that.” Y’all know that’s a bunch of RSS feeds!

What I do then is look for titles that seem intriguing, take a quick look, see what’s compelling, and if nothing is then I move onto the next one. I have no real idea what I might be missing, and my mind doesn’t care. As a matter of fact, sometimes I actually look at a high number of posts and feel like I can’t breathe.

Last night I was going through a large number once again, and came across this one titled Are You Becoming A Fat, Lazy Blogger written by Tom Sinfield of Standout Blogger. As I read the post, I saw myself in it, someone being overwhelmed by information to the point of being paralyzed sometimes. The paralysis for me is deciding I’m not reading at that moment, yet unsure just what I should do next. And that’s not a good way to go.

So, I’ve made an interesting decision. I’ve decided that I’m going to trim my list down to around 100, and that will be that. Now, some of this is pretty easy. I know I’ll be keeping almost every blog that’s in my category of “friends”, and I’ll be keeping almost every blog in the category of “folks I know”; how’s that for category titles? Those will be the first two I’ll go through because some of those folks aren’t blogging anymore, and I’ll know who they are pretty quickly.

The thing is, right now those account for about 55 blogs. I know for sure that 10 will be gone pretty quickly, but I’m hoping to eliminate at least 20 from this group. That will allow me to easier go through the rest to figure out what I want to keep. I know I’m keeping my news feeds, which don’t actually count as blogs, but I’m counting them towards my 100.

What’s my ultimate goal, other than the number? I subscribe to a ton of internet marketing blogs. The thing is, not only are there a lot of those folks, but many of them aren’t offering me anything new or substantial. I almost hate to go there, but few of them are teaching me anything new on how to make money. And, since that’s the focus of those blogs, supposedly, I need to weed through them to get to what I need.

I also subscribe to a lot of SEO blogs, because it’s something I do, but truth be told, these days it’s more about theory than anything ground breaking, and I find myself disagreeing with what I read more often than finding anything new I can use. I think those blogs are great for someone who’s new to it, but I’ve been doing it for almost 4 years now; I’m past a lot of it.

And there are other types of blogs that wouldn’t interest anyone else but me; well, I’ll add “probably”, and leave it at that. In any case, it’s time to reduce and refine.

Anyone else feeling overwhelmed? As Tom said, it might be time for an information diet; who’s with us? By the way, Tom’s wife is close to having a baby, so pop over there and give him some love.


Create your free baby web page today!

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How To Subscribe To RSS Feeds

You know, it’s possible that this is one of those posts I really don’t have to do, but something is telling me that I need to make sure. What’s prompting it is that lately more than half of the spam I get asks the question “how do I subscribe to your feed.” As simple as it seems, after a meeting I had last Friday I realized that many people really aren’t all that internet savvy, and they might not even know what a feed is to know how to subscribe to it, or even where. Hence, this post. For the rest of you who already know this… y’all don’t have to read this, unless you want to see if I miss something.

You see that symbol to the right? Any time you see that symbol it means that particular website or post has what’s known as RSS, or Really Simple Syndication (sometimes known as Rich Site Summary) feed. In essence, it means you can follow certain websites or blogs that have new content with some kind of regularity in a place other than having to visit that website. You can subscribe to the feed by clicking on that orange button whenever you see it and read it whenever you want to somewhere else. I use a program called Feedreader, which is independent of a browser, and a lot of people use Google Reader, which uses the browser, but groups all the feeds in one place. There are plenty of other options as well.

On websites, you might see that orange symbol in many different places, and sometimes it depends on the browser you’re using. On Firefox, you’ll see that little symbol to the far right of the address bar. On IE 8, you’ll see that symbol on the right next to the home button on the toolbar. On some sites you’ll see that symbol elsewhere, and it might not be the orange symbol. Seems that some sites will change the color of the symbol. If you look on my blog, you see that symbol in the far right column, and underneath that you can decide to subscribe by email, which other sites also. This means you’ll get any blog posts from me through email instead of a reader; many people like that instead. Other sites will do this as well.

That’s pretty much all it takes for RSS subscriptions. And those of us who blog love when people subscribe, as we want more people to read what we have to say. I subscribe to many blogs and news sites, more than 200, although I think it might be time to pare down my list some. We’ll see if I get to that. Any questions?


RSS For Your Business Websites

Oddly enough, I guess I owe this post to much of the spam I’ve been receiving lately. Much of it asks, stupidly of course, how they can subscribe to my RSS feed for this blog, which is pretty much all over the place, especially if you use Firefox.

However, it got me thinking about RSS feeds in general, especially as they apply to business websites. I have enough websites, I figure, but in reality I have 3 business websites. And I don’t have RSS feeds on any of them.

I’ve started wondering if I should have feeds on them. After all, I don’t do a lot of updating to those sites. One of them I have my business blog attached, and it obviously has a RSS feed, so I’ve just assumed that site didn’t need one. For my other two sites, though, I do add something here and there, and those are mainly articles, and maybe I need a RSS feed for those. After all, who doesn’t want more RSS subscribers?

The question of course is why anyone would subscribe to the RSS feed for a business site. It’s not news, and since most of us assume that most sites are fairly static, what would compel us to subscribe? Or is this a case of “if you build it they will come”?

I’m not the only one who thinks about this sort of thing. A woman named Sarah wrote an article titled Why RSS Is So Important For Your Business That You’re Probably Already Using It (whew, long title!), and she talks about the importance of having RSS feeds if you’re constantly updating your information. That’s easy to agree with, but what about if you’re not constantly updating your content?

Actually, that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? As a consultant, I often advise potential clients that they need to have constantly updated content in some fashion. Of course I usually recommend blogs first, and most blogging software comes with the ability to easily add RSS feeds so you’re covered there. But what about the website itself? Other than news sources and sales pages, are there any other reasons for a business to syndicate their site?

Something more to think about, I guess. Meanwhile, the palm trees are for my friend Sue. 🙂

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I Want More RSS Subscribers

I was reading this post on Daily Blog Tips called 50 Simple Ways To Gain RSS Subscribers, and one of 50 points, number 5 to be more specific, said this: Write a post asking for people to subscribe.

dessert
feed on this… 🙂

I had to think about it, and truthfully, I don’t think I’ve ever written a post requesting that people subscribe to any of my feeds. I did write this post on what RSS feeds were, with a video no less, and mentioned that it would be nice if people subscribed to my feed, but I’ve never come right out and asked for it.

So I’m doing it now. For those readers who have no idea what RSS stands for, I recommend you click on the link I just gave you and watch the video I posted, which breaks it down nicely.

For everyone else, though I can’t believe I’d have to tell you why it’s a good idea to subscribe to my feeds, of all things, well, y’all see how often I tend to write. I’d hate for you to miss any of my posts, especially the really poignant and funny ones, just because you happened to show up late. The front page only holds so many posts, after all, and some of my posts only stay on the main page 3 or 4 days.

I’ve given people two ways to subscribe to the feeds, the regular way or by email. The regular way offers different feed readers, one that can be put right into Firefox with an add-on called Sage. Of course there’s always Google Reader, which a lot of people like (sorry, this is gone now…), and I’m a major advocate of Feedreader, the program I use because it’s not dependent upon browsers. There are many other programs, obviously, but I think these three get it done best.

Subscribe to my feed! Subscribe to my feed! Subscribe to my feed! Okay, now I’ve said it, and I’ve written it. And, by the way, this post now has me using 8 of the top 10 recommendations. That’s never a bad place to be. 😉