Welcome back to my exploration through social media as an attempt to stay connected and relevant as a church and pastor. Today I want to discuss some of the tools that I use as the to weave my social web existence but before I do I want to share my own little philosophy on the subject.
In 2006 I started exploring this wonderful world by starting a MySpace account. It was personal at first although I used the church for the name of the account. Slowly it simply became the churches MySpace account and I started looking for a different resource for my own musings. That is when I got into blogging. It was December of 2006 and I haven’t looked back. In fact the MySpace account has been deleted but the blog lives on.
My point in this is that I found more beneficial to have my own space on the web to use as a hub for all my other social integrations. I kind of look at it like it’s better to have a home before you start trying to nail down your favorite hang out. Hang outs and hot spots come and go but you can always invite someone home. With that, here are my tools. Keep in mind this is just an overview. I will explain them in greater detail as I explain how I use them but I will be operating on the premise that you are at least familiar with most of them.
I am a huge fan of WordPress for this. I have gone back and forth on this issue but I have currently landed on designing most websites with this platform. This is not always the case but it usually does exactly what I need. It’s primarily a blogging platform but with a little imagination it can be a complete content management solution. I use this for this blog as well as LifePoint’s website. Because it’s free all I have to do is pay for my web host although you can use wordpress.com and have them host it for you for free. I like the self-host solution because I feel it gives me more control over my content and a lot more flexibility.
Another great thing is that it’s easy to set up and get started. I happen to be a web designer so I have a few more advantages when it comes to WordPress but the truth is that any one could set up a site with just a little bit of research and their documentation is very thorough.
Friends & Communications
My current tools of choice for this are Facebook and Twitter. While both tools are very different they work well together while connecting two very different groups of people at times. These are the people who either follow me for some strange reason or are my actual friends whether close or extended. These are the people I am trying to communicate with and these are the places that I want to get content posted on, while occasionally referring them to my website (the hub).
Pictures & Video
For pictures I mostly use Flickr but I also use TwitPic because of it’s tight integrations with Twitter. I also have my photos posted to Facebook. On top of all that I take almost all of my pictures with my phone so I want to be able to update all of these sites from anywhere and at anytime. More on that later.
Now I don’t post a lot of videos but I do come across videos all the time that I want to share with everyone. When I do post video I do so to either YouTube because of it’s dominance in this area or Vimeo for it’s clean interface. From either of these sites I can share my favorites just by a few clicks on the video. I am still looking for ways to make this even more integrated within my social tools and as I find them I will share.
Tarpipe.com is an amazing tool that allows you to connect many of your accounts and processes. Why just post to Twitter when you can post to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and TwitPic all at the same time. And choose what parts you want to be posted to what sites. Why not do this all at one time with one action instead of having to log-in to each account. That is exactly what this tool does. Although it is still in beta there are a ton of account types to choose from and they are always adding new connections.
So those are the tools I use in a nutshell. What you will find as we continue this series are the tools that are within the tools to make this all very easy once everything is in place. For example, I rarely log-in to Facebook and send most of my updates on the go from my phone and yet I am always in communication with those who want to be and always sharing new info and discoveries. I hope you stick around.
What tools do you use?