Rise of the Social Homepages

Time is becoming a very precious thing indeed. Trying to keep up on blogs, social networks, news, friends, family, work, and having non-computer related experiences create a life of constant pull on our attention. This constant pull in a gazillion different directions is exactly why I think these “Social homepages” are becoming more and more relevant. I’ve only joined two so far, and each has some functionalities that they can boast. Basically, they connect all of your social status updates and put them in a visual ‘homepage’ where one can visit and see everything that you’re sharing. The key here is the visual element. Photos you take, images pulled from links, videos; all these create a visually engaging aesthetic that will save your friends and followers time from visiting all of your networks. Let’s take a look at them.

Social networks all in one place

RebelMouse was created by by the former CTO of The Huffington Post, Paul Berry. It’s still in beta but is receiving a huge amount of buzz. Features have already been added from when I first received my invite. You can now embed your RebelMouse into your website or blog, thus making all your social updates visible from either. This is huge because your customers, potential clients, or friends don’t have to leave the place you’re putting your best work, as well as your products or services. You also have the ability to highlight certain posts that you want to stay stationary and maintain good real estate on your page, which I love!  As of right now, RebelMouse allows you to pull updates from Facebook profiles and pages, Twitter (you’ll need to use either to create your account) and just recently, Instagram. In an interview on July 9th, Paul Berry states that more networks are coming, such as Google+ and Tumblr. You can also manually add stories, which I imagine people who fully embrace their RebelMouse page as a homepage will be doing often. You can create separate RebelMouse pages for Facebook pages of which you are an admin, which is a great advantage to admins of multiple pages that aren’t really related. You can view others in your Facebook or Twitter networks that are using RebelMouse and follow their pages. Since it’s still in public beta, I can’t wait to see what new things come out of this already-popular platform.

glos.si for social networks

I was actually reached out to on Twitter by glos.si’s co-founder Sandy Lin while tweeting about RebelMouse (good poaching!). Since I dug RebelMouse, I figured it was worth a look, and I set up my own glos.si page. The first thing I noticed was that glos.si takes the same approach that Klout does and connects just about every social network under the sun. The designers to a great job of helping users show off their networks by listing them with icons in the profile heading. This is nice, just in case followers want to go and focus solely on a single network. glos.si uses the same idea I mention above for RebelMouse of creating something visually engaging, with your Foursquare updates staying stationary on the right and your other updates visually represented in tiled columns to the left. The option to change your view between images, articles, videos and everything makes reading pages a breeze. You also get to choose a background image, thus creating an even more personalized experience. The site uses a pretty cool randomized search to allow you to connect with other glos.si users not already in your other networks. As for connecting with friends using glos.si, you can only search Facebook and Twitter. One feature that I find really cool is the Newsstand feature. This creates a glos.si page of updates from everyone you follow, saving you even more time.

RebelMouse is already a slick platform with a very believable promise that there’s more to come. glos.si has a great interface already, and is strides ahead of RebelMouse since it was started back in September last year. Once RebelMouse comes of out beta, these two will certainly be in head to head competition. I’ll be interested to see where the two of them go.

Are you using either of these sites? Are there other “social homepage” sites that you’ve come across? Let me know below with your comments.

Thanks for reading. Now go get your social on!

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Brand Your Instagram Photos Using Over App

Over App
Taken with Instagram, text added with Over

A couple weeks ago, Chris Brogan tweeted about an app he was digging and shared a Google Hangout he had with a guy named Aaron Marshall. The app was called Over, and it allows you to add text over pictures on your iPhone (for the time being) using a really slick interface. You can then post your edited photos to Facebook (profile not page, yet), Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr (having issues getting mine to show up though) or send the image via email. I’ve yet to have Chris Brogan steer me wrong, so I checked out the app myself. Seemed like a fun way to spice up photos and I really enjoy the use of a scrolling wheel to go through all of your options. Later, I read a blog post shared by Valerie Deveza reminding bloggers that you can (and should) easily use your own, royalty-free images in your blog posts. This saves time scouring for usable images (and potential distractions of perusing the internet) and any concern of copyright infringement. Then. It hit me.

Over App
Taken with Instagram, text added with Over

A fantastic use for Over is to “brand” your photos that you take on your iPhone. If you already use Instagram or Facebook Camera, take your pictures and add your filters as normal. Open Over and load the picture in, add your company name, website, your name, message, etc, choose a font (more are available for individual purchase) and suddenly, the photo is officially yours. Also, if you’re a fan of Paper by 53 for the iPad (of which I am a raving fan), you can doodle your image, email it to yourself or screen capture it, add your text with Over, and suddenly it becomes branded as well. (Conversely, you could write out your company’s name/info in Paper if you have a steady hand, but I know many professionals whose handwriting is pretty atrocious.) Either way, you’ll get to show off your creative side and never worry if you’re going to receive a cease and desist letter for an image you’re using. Even with proper credit, you just can’t be too sure when using others’ intellectual property.

Fifty-Three, Yelp, Over App
Drawn with Paper by 53, text added with Over

The best part about using Over with the apps I’ve discussed is that you don’t have to go and buy (or illegally download) any expensive software. Over and Paper may cost you a few bucks, then you’re off to writing your blog safely, further engaging your creativity and artistic side. Just think. You could even create your own memes!

What are your thoughts on this approach? Are you using any other text-overlay apps that you’re hooked on? Are you already using your own images in your blog posts?

Let me know below with your comments.

Thanks for reading. Now go get your social on!

Follow this blog on Google Currents! Download the app in your app store or marketplace and click here to subscribe.

People Doing Great Things

Welcome to the Social Gnome’s Hoard, a collection of this week’s most interesting finds from the Social Gnome’s internet travels.

Normally on Fridays, I do my Found Tweet Friday post. Today, however, I wanted to do a special edition of the Social Gnome’s Hoard (since the holiday just completely screwed up my schedule for the week!). I want to call attention to some people that I think deserve some recognition, because I think they’re doing some great stuff in their respective segments. So make sure you check out the people below and give them some kudos for the heart and soul they’re putting into their work.

Week of June 1, 2012:

Social Gnome hoard image

Apostrophe Now Lindsey Markel
Check out Apostrophe Now’s Facebook Page
  • Apostrophe Now is an editing & proofreading freelance project recently started by my good friend Lindsey Markel. She’s extremely smart, funny, a creative fiction writer, blogger and eclectic spirit. She has also done copy editing work for a major education technology company (I’m not sure if I’m allowed to name drop, so I’ll err on the side of caution) as well as done some great publicity work for the  non-profit Celebration Company at The Station Theatre in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois (a place I used to call home). She’s now offering her copy editing skills to those wanting to clean up their resume as they go out into this tough job market. Every little bit helps out there. Check out her page for some expert advice and an edge that may help you get noticed.
Eye Social ASL (American Sign Language) challenge from Anne Reuss
Click here to see if you’re up to the challenge!
  •  I happened across Anne Reuss and her blog eyeSocial by chance, and we began talking about a post she wrote on the bond between siblings. It was a great dialogue that we had and I decided to keep up on what she was doing. Then I discovered this portion of her blog, and I realized she was doing even greater things than I thought. Anne has set forth a challenge. You see, she is deaf, but works in social media. With the constant influx of startups and new businesses, she found that she was constantly having to spell out in ASL (American Sign Language) the names of all these businesses. So she challenged owners of startups and other social media experts to come up with signs in ASL for these businesses. This unique proposition has caught the attention and participation of many people already. Are you up to the challenge?
Check out what Mike and Dave the penguin are up to!
  • The Social Penguin is one of my favorite blogs to follow, and I’ve even guest posted there a few times. Mike McGrail is very active in the world of social media and has some amazing insights. The link above takes you to a great post providing 5 tips on how to drive traffic to your blog (and couldn’t we all use more traffic to our blogs?). He has also been my go-to guy for what great apps I absolutely need to have. As a matter of fact, he just turned people on to a handful of great apps in one of his most recent posts My 6 Essential Apps for Life. It will change your life, or at least the way your organize it digitally.
Check out more images like this!
  • I can’t say I have an eye for capturing beauty. Occasionally, I can fumble an Instagram picture with just the right perspectives, but it’s a rare occurrence. Nicole at wave parade, however, has that eye uniquely focused on making blog posts that are simply put: visually stunning. Often one of few words, she lets the images she puts together tell the story for her, and you’ll still be able to get it. I met Nicole through social media elite Starr Hall, who I’ve also guest blogged for a couple times. Nicole has a similar enthusiasm, and I think she’s going to be one worth watching, wherever she goes.

There you have it. Some people and blogs you may have never heard of, but are certainly worth your time, should you be interested in their content. Who are people that you admire or that you think are doing important and wonderful things? Chime in below! Next week, I’ll be back to a normal schedule, I promise. Until then.

Now go get your social on!