Yesterday, I read about a new personal portal-type of tool called About.Me (hat tip to TechCrunch). I haven't seen the admin area of about.me yet (I did reserve my name and you should too), but I know that flavors is very easy to use. Super simple to build a quick page that can act as several things at once:
a single-page, brochure site for "who you are"
a brief one- or two- paragraph bio
a portal to other places you have on the Internet, be it social or otherwise
Blogs or Wikis
sites where you contribute content
sites that have you ranked or awarded
I'd try to take a minimalist approach to these types of pages, but you can find various uses for them. I know there are even a few small, rural businesses using this type of page for their web presence.
I believe the trend towards single-page, personal portals is going to grow – especially with "free agency" and "gainfully unemployed" becoming popular job descriptions.
My suggestion is for you go reserve your name at flavors and about (and maybe both) today.
Often, when I suggest this, I hear: "Why do I need another email account?"
It's not so much about having an email account – in fact, you don't ever have to give your GMail account out to anyone. Yet, the tools available and how you'll use them make having a Google account (including the GMail) very important.
And the tools are free and numerous. Here's just a snapshot of some of them:
Once you open your Google Account, you have access to aggregators of information, analysis of traffic, and content creation tools in abundance.
Though this homework assignment is simply opening the account, over the next several days, we'll examine in-depth how we begin using:
Google Reader - This will be your RSS aggregator. Feeds from other blogs, feeds from newes sites you follow, and feeds from search strings so you can Search Once and Subscribe. Google Reader also makes it easy to Skim, Scan, & Save (and then Share), as well as emailing stuff to colleagues and customers.
FeedBurner – This is how will smartly burn and syndicate your content.
A few days ago, I confessed how I have a few customers "calling in" their blog posts using Google Voice. The combination of transcription and audio file has made it quite easy for some busy business owners to "blog" as we can still capture tone and inflection with the audio. We just clean up the text, add a few links and an image.
After talking with my buddy, Mike Wagner, I'm going to experiment again with Google Voice. This time, mashup up this site as part blog & comments, part guest post, part call-in show.
Each week, I'll pose a question here. If you want to take part, just call in your answer to my G-Voice # at
This week's question:
What is the most close-knit "offline" community you participate in and what makes it so close-knit?
I'll post your answers mid-week here. When you call in, there's a few things to consider:
I'd like to post both text AND audio. Let me know when you call if you want just the text posted.
You only have 3 minutes to leave your message
Let me know which site to link to on your comment (website, twitter, facebook…something of yours)
We'll close up the call-in submission Wednesdays, Midnight Pacific.
Anything that can make it easier for me to find a signal is a tool worth looking at.
Social Media Informer (SMI), a new hub and aggregator for social media content makes it easier to cut through the noise and find a signal. You can use the site as a daily digest, or search articles based on topics or dates.
In Tom Pick’s review of the site on Webbiquity, he shares:
“SMI was developed by some of the same people as the popular B2B Marketing Zone b2b marketing portal. It also uses the same underlying Browse My Stuff technology,
which enables publishers, PR agencies, corporations and other
enterprises to efficiently SEO-friendly build branded content
You’ll find archived content from plenty of the industry leaders, some you’re sure to be familiar with, and some maybe you haven’t discovered yet. With Social Media Informer – you’ll be able to quick-and-easy now.
I’ve found myself searching by topic hubs (a great way to find outbound links if you’re using Blog Posting Mantra #4), and occasionally using the date-based “change edition” at the top (this could come in useful for our Social Media History category)
I’m proud to be among those featured, and thankful to be among their readers. You should be too.
Here are some of the other Featured sites (I’m either subscribed or following each of these folks):
I've written and talked often about my dislike for ghostwriting blog posts.
Occasionally I would find it necessary, but the process still carried the uncomfortable feeling of breaking integrity (for the blog author as well as myself).
To maintain voice and tone of the author, I've begun using Google Voice Mail more often as a "Blog Post Drop" for clients. And it's working great!
Some clients use this in the morning when they first get to work, some on the way home in reflection of their day. Just a little coaching on what to say (it's not a 30-second radio ad, it's a conversation with their customer) and we're on our way.
Google Voice Mail allows and transcribes three minutes of conversation. Even with lots of "uhm" and "soo" we can usually get 300-400 words in a full three minutes. I get an email with the transcription (not anything close to a Dragon-type of transcribe, but it's good enough) and the sound file. In 10 minutes or so, we have the transcribed version, find a relevant outbound link, insert an image, and presto – a blog post voiced
I'm going to put Google Voice to another use later this week.
You can even embed the recording into a post. Here's a voice mail I left recently:
Having sought ways to say, share, and store content that is not really ConverStations "stuff," and to be able to do so easily (I can text or email posts into my Tumblr site — and Posterous too), I'm going to use Tumblr for stuff that's too big for my Twitter stream, and maybe just a bit off the radar for ConverStations' stream.
I've activated a FeedBurner feed and will be making a few modifications this week. Will it stick? I dunno, let's find out.