Tala Ko

Have you configured your streamtumbfeedlogbook yet? Part 1

Posted on: Saturday, 11 October 2008

I’ve noticed that some form of online social network integration and/or aggregation is getting cooler and cooler. Given the nature of the Web, that little insight of mine is already old news to everyone else — that’s evidenced by the increasing number of services that offer some form of cross-posting, link-sharing, automatic-adding, or whatever they call it, to an online service that they don’t run.
Let’s examine this whole thing, shall we?
So I don’t confuse you (or myself), think of an integration service as one remote control that simultaneously changes channels for multiple TVs, so they all display your favorite show. Think of aggregation as the opposite — one TV screen that displays all your different shows at once.
Some sites offer integration alongside whatever it is you do there, making sure that whatever you post, upload, or clip there will also appear elsewhere. Want other people to read that CNN.com article? Look for the “Share” link at the bottom to send it through Mixx, Digg, Facebook, stumbleupon, del.icio.us, reddit, and MySpace.
Now similarly, some sites will aggregate for you, so that they automatically appear with other content you’ve already created there. For instance, if you have a Tumblr, you can set it to import your Twitter and WordPress content, and it will appear between what you tumble.
There are super-sites, however, that are devoted entirely to integration or aggregation. Ping.fm allows you to post content from your preferred location (browser, instant messaging client, mobile phone, etc.) to multiple networks. To make sure that everyone you know online — whichever social network they prefer — gets word of how you feel about school, what happened when you saw your crush at church, or this pervert who tried to feel you up on the train, send one ping.
An aggregation-only service like Jaiku or Friendfeed, meanwhile, is the catchall to make sure that (1) you keep track of what you’ve posted where and (2) everyone you know who’s online on any network can do the same. Remember that CNN.com article? If you Digged it, you also fed it to your Friendfeed, along with that blog post you made about the guitarist in the praise band.
To sum this first part up:
Web life before integration: Post a blog entry at Blogger. Log in to Livejournal; copy-paste Blogger entry so that LJ friends can read. Log in to Xanga; copy-paste Blogger/LJ entry so that Xanga friends can read. Log in to WordPress…

Web life after integration: Send a ping. Blogger, Livejournal, Xanga, etc. friends get to read.

Web life before aggregation: Give fellow Twitter users your Twitter URL. Give fellow Livejournal users your LJ URL. Give fellow Multiply users your Multiply URL…
Web life after aggregation: Give everyone just one URL (probably your Friendfeed).

Pretty handy, right? You’ve saved yourself time and energy; now you can log off and do something in the real world (which you will probably blog about later). Yay!
Please stay on long enough to get this warning, though, one I wish someone had given to me before I dove in: choose only one. It has to be integration or aggregation, one or the other, because doing integration+aggregation may send your offline life into a vegetative state. Things will get annoying, if not really confusing.
Stay tuned for Part 2.
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