How to Connect Google Reader Shares to Facebook via Hootsuite

I have a Facebook Fan page, but I rarely post there because they make it so difficult to do so. There is no bookmarklet that facilitates this action. I’m sure there is some obscure Facebook application that might help with this, but I haven’t found it yet. My only recourse has been to actually visit the page and cut/paste a link. Very time consuming and inefficient if you’re working at the level I am when it comes to social media.

I came across a discussion on piping reader shares into Twitter using Reader2Twitter. This got me thinking about Hootsuite‘s RSS/Atom feature, which lets you pipe a feed through Hootsuite and out to the social networks you choose. Rather than have to deal with yet another 3rd party web application, why not just use an existing feature in an application I already use daily?

Adding Your Facebook Fan Page to Hootsuite

The first step is to connect your Facebook Fan Page to Hootsuite. I actually stumbled across this by accident in simply trying to get my GReader shares into Twitter. Note that once you have done this, you can easily post updates to your Fan Page from within Hootsuite on a per-update basis, making it simple to keep your page updated with fresh content for your fans.

  • Click Settings at the bottom of Hootsuite
  • Click the Social Networks tab and then Add Social Network  on the right
  • In the popup, choose Pages under Facebook to connect your page to Hootsuite

FanPageHoot

Adding Your Google Reader Shared Items Feed

Adding your Shared Items feed is simple. The hardest part is finding the actual feed link. I found my Shares page from my Google Profile (your Google Profile is here). It should be listed as one of your websites. You should see the actual feed link on the right side of that page, just copy it. Alternately, you can go into Google Reader, click Shared Items on the left, and then show details on the right. The feed URL should appear, right-click and copy it.

GFeedLink

GFeedLink2

 

Back in Hootsuite and under Settings choose the RSS/Atom tab and Add New Feed. Paste your shared items feed URL into the first text box and decide how often you want the feed checked and how many tweets you want Hootsuite to send out each time. Be conservative here. If you send any more than a couple of tweets out at a time, you will look like a spammer or a n00b. Make sure you choose which accounts you want updates from this feed sent to at the bottom. Check the screenshot below to see how I have mine setup.

HootsuiteRSS

If you need any further assistance or clarification, please comment here. I would appreciate your feedback and would be happy to help. Also, if you have a better or alternate way of doing this, I’d love to hear it.

Google Buzz, PleaseRobMe, and Privacy Scare Tactics

Buzz

With Google Buzz recently launching inside of your Gmail, many people immediately became concerned about their privacy. The primary reason being that there was a social component inside their email inbox, a place normally reserved for private discussion.

The other concern that arose was the way Google built your network. Most social networks are built, brick-by-brick, by the user. This is a huge pain to repeat every time you join something new. What Google did was use the wealth of information it already has on your to build your network for you and get you started. What they also did was make this new friend’s list visible to the public on your Google Profile page, just like any other social network.

Buzz also has location sharing available, which is a whole other can of worms when it comes to privacy concerns. Which brings us to the website PleaseRobMe.com. It’s a website that monitors location-based checkins and lets the world know when you are not home. Does that scare you?

Regardless of the various arguments, anecdotes, and opinions that can be expressed by these privacy “issues,” there is one thread that remains constant and true:

These so-called privacy concerns are just scare tactics to boost traffic

Think about this logically for a moment. Do your contacts on any social network immediately imply any connection between you and another individual besides the fact that you interact with them on that social network? If my Buzz contacts include Robert Scoble, Louis Gray, P. Diddy, and Barrack Obama, does that mean anything? The answer to both of these questions is Absolutely Not. In order to be afraid (and yes, it is only fear that motivates privacy concerns) of my contacts being made public, I have to make the assumption that someone besides me can make sense of that data. My contacts alone mean nothing to an outside observer.

PleaseRobMe

The same goes for PleaseRobMe. I check in at the grocery store. Suddenly, the world knows I’m not at home. Oh no! Now I’m gonna get robbed because I’m not home. Nevermind the fact that I have a family, a security system, several dogs, a platoon of security ninjas, and nosy neighbors. Regardless of whether the world knows I’m home or not, a potential robber still has to go through the same procedure of casing the house and whatnot before they can actually rob me successfully. Again, in order to be worried about this data being public, I have to make assumptions.

I do not mean to imply that location sharing has never led to a robbery. I also don’t mean to imply that having a public contact list has ever resulted in some other type of misfortune, but these are edge cases. These situations are not the norm. Also, people were being robbed way before location sharing existed.

So, before you go getting excited about the latest privacy scare as it relates to technology, take a moment and think about it. Is it a legit privacy concern, or is it just something being drummed up by the media or the blogosphere to boost their traffic?

h/t Hutch Carpenter

Clicker is Your Complete Guide for Internet Television

Clicker1

You missed that recent episode of V or the first episode of CSI’s crossover week. You know they aren’t showing re-runs and you can’t believe you forgot to set the DVR. Maybe you can catch them online, but where? Clicker is a service that will help you answer that exact question: Where are the shows I want to see playing online?

As massive amounts of programming move online, consumers are entering a world of infinite choices, all on-demand. Great! Finding the show you want to watch? Painful. Thousands of episodes from thousands of shows are housed on thousands of different sites, mixed among billions of random clips and videos.

Clicker boasts more than 450,000 episodes, from over 6,000 shows, from over 1,200 networks. They also contain 40,000 movies and 50,000 music videos from 20,000 artists. They refer to themselves as “one part directory, one part search engine, one part wiki, one part entertainment guide, and one part DVR.”

Clicker2

Clicker3Clicker basically indexes video from various sources across the web. Rather than trying to sift through YouTube, Hulu, or other video sites, Clicker serves as your one-stop shop for locating exactly what you need. When possible, you can even watch your shows right from the Clicker website. Otherwise, it links you to the relevant source.

Even if the content you’re looking for is not free, Clicker will show you where you can buy it. The search features auto-complete and thumbnails of the shows you might be searching for. If you’re not even sure what you’re looking for, you can browse through the extensive selection of categories or visit Trends to see what’s hot.

As you browse through the site, you can add items to playlists for later viewing. This works much like Hulu’s queue, including a history of items you’ve already watched. You can also connect Clicker to your Facebook account to let your friends know what you’re watching and to invite 5 lucky people to join the service. Clicker is in private beta, but it only took me a few days to get my invitation, so go sign up and let us know what you think.

15 Things You Can Do Right Now to Help Stop Climate Change

Stopping global climate change when it comes to the individual simply boils down to going green. Any actions you can take that help prevent greenhouse gas emissions, physical waste, and wasted energy will help. Going green is really not as annoying as you might think and you don’t have to take things overboard to make a difference. Here are 15 things you can do immediately to go a little green and help fight climate change:

1. Shave some points of your thermostat.

Set your thermostat a few degrees colder in winter and a few degrees warmer in summer. You probably won’t notice the difference, but you’ll save money and reduce energy consumption.

2. Unplug your appliances when not in use.

These days, off doesn’t really mean off. Standby mode wastes energy.

3. Switch your laptop from using Standby mode to just Hibernate.

Again, standby mode still wastes energy. Hibernate might take a few extra seconds to recover from, but it’s worth it.

4. Get a new monitor.

If you’re still using big hot and heavy CRT monitors, step into the new millennium and get yourself an LCD. How often do you get to buy new stuff and save mother earth at the same time?

5. Work from home.

Not only do people who work from home get more work done on average, but you’ll be saving energy and avoiding the stress of a commute. Plus, you’ll avoid needless interruptions from your co-workers.

6. Kill paper bills and junk mail.

There are very few instances where you can’t get your bill in electronic format and save paper. No, you don’t actually need a paper copy. They’re just taking up space and killing trees.

7. Stop drinking bottled water.

This is a pet peeve of mine. The entire bottled water industry is a scam in plain site. Get yourself a water filter for your home and buy a reusable aluminum bottle to carry around with you.

8. Maintain your computer.

If you keep your computer maintained, up-to-date, and purring like a kitten, it will last longer. The longer you can hold onto the same computer, the more you can help the environment.

9. Borrow stuff instead of buying it.

I know many that read this blog are book hoarders, but are you really going to ever read that new Stephen King again? Even if you are, why not just borrow it from your local library when the mood strikes? It’s great to own stuff, but it saves the environment if you just borrow stuff instead.

10. Turn off the coffee maker.

Nobody is going to drink that last sip of coffee left in the pot, so keeping the warmer on is just wasting energy. Not only that, but you could end up ruining a perfectly good carafe.

11. Turn off those lights.

Instead of relying on lamps and bulbs, open your blinds and curtains. Take advantage of natural lighting. It saves energy, reduces waste, and makes you a happier person (true story).

12. Park the car.

Avoid the drive-thru like the plague. The EPA estimates that if one million drivers turned off their cars, rather than idled unnecessarily, for just two minutes per week for an entire year, pollutants would be reduced by more than 750 tons.

13. Be a vegetarian.

Not all the time, but even having one meal per week where you don’t include any meat can have a positive effect. Meat consumption is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. While this will not effect my love for steak, it might be nice to dig into some veggies every once in a while.

14. Shorten your shower.

Either that or take a cold one. Using hot water wastes a lot of energy, so take the opportunity to save it whenever you can. It doesn’t really take that long to wash yourself, does it?

15. Wash your clothes in cold water.

Not only will this prevent your colors from running, but it also helps save hot water and there are even detergents that work better specifically in cold water.

Microsoft Project 2010: Best Tool for the Job?

Microsoft project has come a long way since 1987. From primarily desktop-oriented scheduling software, to a more diverse set of PC and web-based tools for groups, teams, and companies. Microsoft Project 2010 is being touted as the biggest release of Project in a decade. There are 4 basic areas that have been enhanced to provide a better user experience and to make Microsoft Project 2010 a more useful solution.

MSProject2010a

Simple and Intuitive User Experience

  • Project Professional and Project Server both use the Fluent User Interface (aka Ribbon), based on Microsoft Office. This helps users discover new tools relevant to what they’re doing at the moment.
  • Intuitive Excel-like behavior adds the ease-of-use of Excel to the power of Project’s scheduling engine.
  • Powerful new views like the Timeline View and Team Planner.
  • Web-based project editing brings the power of Project to the web.

Enhanced Collaboration and Reporting

  • Built on SharePoint Server 2010 to bring the power of SharePoint’s business collaboration platform with Project’s advanced portfolio management. It also shares the same interface as SharePoint.
  • Easily create reports and dashboards on the fly.
  • Better time and status reporting.
  • Connect teams with SharePoint Sync to allow two-way round-trip synchronization of tasks and schedules. This allows team members to update their status on SharePoint and stay more connected as a team.

Unified Project ad Portfolio Management

  • Common experience across full PPM lifecycle, including centralized administration.
  • Flexible project capture and initiation so that organizations can also capture work that may not be part of a project yet.
  • Enhance governance through workflow.
  • Powerful portfolio selection analytics.

Scalable and Connected Platform

    • Extended interoperability with other Microsoft products like Exchange Server so that team members can report status directly from Outlook, for example.
    • Simplified Administration.
    • Rich Platform Services make it easier to connect with 3rd-party products.
    • Enhanced Developer Productivity through integration with Visual Studio.

 

 

MSProject2010b

 

Microsoft Project 2010 builds on the Microsoft Office Project 2007 foundation with flexible work management solutions and the right collaboration tools for occasional and professional project managers, and includes a pathway to more advanced project and portfolio management capabilities as business needs evolve.

The project management market is still growing despite the recession. Microsoft Project 2010 seems to be coming at the right time, many people will be able to download cheap Microsoft office. Project management software can help an organization become more profitable by giving them an idea of where they might be wasting resources. It’s also easier to see what areas are lagging and serves to increase individual productivity. With it’s enhanced user interface and tight integration with other Microsoft products, it will be interesting to see what effect this new release will have on existing web-based project management solutions.

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Only a Few Hours Left to Get Your Year of Opportunity

BritishAirways

I’ve been procrastinating. I’ve known about this opportunity for a while, but neglected to blog about it. Funny how deadlines sneak up on you when you’re not paying attention. British Airways is running a contest where you can win a Business Opportunity Grant. There is space for more than 1 winner as British Airways is giving away 100 of these grants. The problem is that there is only a short time left to enter (13 hours from the writing of this post), so you’ll have to hurry!

The grant consists of a year of Business Class travel and a suite of valuable business services to help increase face-to-face meetings and exponentially grow your business. Networking online with potential customers and other businesses is all fine and good, but it limits your growth. If you take a look at the social media community, it’s easy to see who ends up on top. It’s those who not only build a following online, but who also take things offline and meet people face-to-face. This is how you make quality connections.

To enter the contest, simply apply by telling BA about your company and answering a few short questions about your objectives for 2010. Make sure you explain how a grant would help grow your business. If your company wins, you will have all of 2010 to turn your grant into new business opportunities. Whether you’re a small business, innovator, or an entrepreneur, this is definitely a contest worth entering.
Click Here

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Why Should You Do Everything As If It Matters?

Sometimes we find ourselves faced with tasks that are beneath us. Many of these things are simply part of our day-to-day lives like laundry and taking out the trash. Others we have chosen to complete in order to reach our goals in life. You have to step up on something beneath you before you can reach the next level, so it’s imperative that these things get done.

Most people have jobs that they hate, but need them to pay the bills. Sure, you’re working on that blogging thing and your new album is almost finished, but the things you love to do don’t always keep a roof over your head. One of the hardest things to do in this situation is keep a positive outlook and your eyes on your prize.

I was at work the other day (no, I do not love my day job) and we were slammed. Wall-to-wall customers. I was processing orders, which meant constant face-to-face customer interaction with a smile and sunny disposition. I’m sure my fellow introverts are feeling my pain right now.

Rather than get upset, cop an attitude, and put on my screw face, I decided to do exactly the opposite. I decided that I was going to make sure each and every customer was treated like an honored guest in my own home. I decided that my smile would pierce any dark clouds that dared enter my presence. I decided to cross my T’s and dot my I’s like nobody’s business.

At one point, things calmed down a little and a customer asked to speak to the manager. I found it odd, because I was pretty confident I was doing an awesome job of making sure things were going smoothly. The guy spoke to the manager for a bit and I could see him gesturing toward me.

Finally, he came over to me and shook my hand. He said he had been watching me work and believed me to be a man of integrity. He thanked me for “bringing some good into his life” that day and said I would definitely go far in life.

Now, I have no idea who that guy was, but I was definitely moved by what he said. We only interacted for a minute, but whatever vibe he got from me prompted him to remind the manager how awesome I am. Could this result in a promotion? A raise? A general heads-up to my superiors that I’m more awesome than they had originally thought? This guy could be a link in my golden chain of success and I just made the best impression possible.

The moral of the story is, no matter how much you dislike the work you are doing now, do it with the same passion that you would put into your dream occupation. The journey to success is just as important as the destination. Your character, integrity, and self-discipline are of utmost importance. Plus, you never know who is watching.

5 Easy Ways to Explain Twitter Without the Geek Garbage

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

It seems like a lot of us tech people find it hard to explain the tools we use on a regular basis. I don’t think the problem lies with how complex our tools are. The problem is that, as geeks, we usually make things too complicated. I’m definitely guilty of this and those close to me point it out all the time.

It’s like trying to explain what a computer does by starting with how microchips work. Who cares about all that? Normal people just want to know how something benefits them. How can it fit into their lives? Nobody cares how a microwave works, they just know it makes food hot. Nobody cares what HD really means, they just know it makes sports look really good and allows you to see how many people on TV actually wear make-up.

Now, here are 5 easy scenarios that you can use to explain Twitter to regular people:

1. It’s a way to let your friends know what you’re doing all at the same time

Let’s say you decide to have a little get-together. You could call all your friends individually, you could email them, you could even text each one. With Twitter, all you’d have to do is send one status update and all your friends will see it immediately. They could even respond to let you know they will be there.

None of this has to involve direct contact with a computer because Twitter supports SMS. You could be handling all the initial preparations right from your cell. No making fifty calls to give out directions, tell who to bring what or any of that mess.

2. It’s a way to ask your friends a question

You’re watching TV and you can’t remember the name of this actor, it’s driving you nuts. You’re pretty sure one of your friends knows, so you update your Twitter status:

Hey, anyone know the name of the black guy on House? Total brain fart.

Pretty soon, someone sends you a reply, reminding you that it’s Omar Epps.

3. It’s a way to share important news

You hear breaking news about a tornado sighting. Your kid’s team just won the playoff game. Kroger has 2-liter bottles of Coke 10 for a dollar. You just ate the tastiest mango you have ever had in your life! Whatever the scenario, you can let everyone know what’s going on immediately my sending out one simple update.

4. It’s a way to get important news

In the same way that you can quickly share news with others, you can get news updates. Not only can you get news updates from your friends, but you could actually follow CNN, MSNBC, BBC or maybe your local news network. Whatever you want to know about, there is probably a reliable source for it on Twitter and you can listen in and stay up-to-date.

5. It’s a way to strengthen relationships with those you care about

My family is pretty much scattered across the US. It’s even sometimes hard to stay in touch with local friends and family. Sometimes, you don’t have time to reach out and touch someone. You know you want to stay in contact, but maybe you don’t do small talk too well or you just don’t enjoy discussing the weather. Maybe you know people who gossip too much and you don’t want to deal with it, but you still want to stay close because they are your family.

Twitter allows you to maintain that connection with loved ones, without all the bells and whistles. You don’t have to talk to them directly to remain connected and stay in touch. You keep track of their updates, they keep track of yours. You maintain a bond with minimal effort. If you so choose to have a discussion, the option is always there. This may sound like an impersonal solution, but what’s the alternative? Falling out of touch with those you actually care about?

Conclusion

These are just a few examples to maybe spark a fire in your mind. Those of us familiar with social media tools often struggle to explain them. They don’t end up getting used by the general public because we can’t even tell the general public what the point is. It almost boils down to one of the most basic rules of sales:

Features tell, benefits sell

Stop trying to describe tech tools by gushing about how scalable they are, how clean the website is, what random tech blogger guy is behind it. Nobody cares about any of that. All they want to know is what will it do to increase the quality of their life.

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Sensational.com Helps You Lead a Healthier Life

Sensational.com is a site I recently came across that provides a wealth of information regarding health and fitness. They provide a a bunch of directories with up-to-the-minute information on health-related companies. You will also find product reviews on diet, weight-loss and fitness products. The site is pretty clean and the information appears to be solid.

I was able to use the site to find a few gyms, pharmacies, and health stores in my neighborhood. All I did was put in my zip code and the site did the rest. There is also a BMI calculator right on the front-page of the site so that you can get a rough idea of whether you’re overweight or not. Another cool thing I noticed was the product reviews, it seems they’re actually legit and not just sales letters. Take a look at the review on Detoxykall to see what I mean.

Bookmarklet Key Bindings for Browsers

Once Google Chrome was released, I was attracted by it’s speed and agility. I was already tired of FireFox being so bloated with extensions anyway, so the fact that Chrome has none didn’t sway me. During the time I spent with Chrome, I amassed a collection of very useful bookmarklets. Most of them are covered in detail in 21 Bookmarklets to Fire Up Google Chrome.

I wanted to take things a step further, though. I had all the bookmarklets I needed to cause major damage, flooding, and general over-sharing, but I wanted to make it even easier to destroy my personal brand. This led me to create the Bookmarklet Bindings AutoHotKey script. All your favorite bookmarklets juts a key-short or chord away. Oh, and this script works for both FireFox and Chrome.

Bookmarklet Bindings Features

  • Win-v: paste-and-go
  • Win-alt-v: paste-and-go in a new tab
  • Ctrl-left/right: switch tabs in either direction
  • Ctrl-Alt-t: Twitter this
  • Ctrl-Alt-r: Tumble this
  • Ctrl-Alt-m: Gmail this
  • Ctrl-Alt-f: Share on FriendFeed
  • Ctrl-Alt-d: Diigo this
  • Ctrl-Alt-c: Clip this
  • Ctrl-Alt-p: Ping this
  • Ctrl-Alt-s: Share this

The script tries not to destroy whatever is currently in your clipboard.

Notes and Customizations

If you don’t like the default key-bindings or you would like to change what’s available, take a look at the source. It begins with a list of variables representing the various bookmarklets. The second section lists the shortcut keys, which you can easily modify.

For instance, the bookmarklet for Delicious is included in the script, but it isn’t used. You could replace Diigo with Delicious by changing the variable name later in the script.

I chose these specific bindings because they gave me the least amount of trouble and conflicts. If you use RoboForm shortcut keys, you may run into some issues. I simply disabled them in the Options dialog.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Feature requests? Feel free to contact me or simply leave a comment.

A Plea to Fellow FriendFeeders

As many of you already know, I’m not a Twitter fan. There are many reasons why that is and none of them actually matter at this point because I have been trying to change my mind about it. You may have seen me around (@rahsheen). I decided that extending and remaining connected to my network of friends and associates online was far more important than any reason I had for avoiding Twitter.

Now, most of the people I have decided to follow on Twitter are people I was already subscribed to on FriendFeed, which is really my primary place of residence when it comes to online communities. Recently, FriendFeed added the ability to dump your stream directly into Twitter. This is the issue that me and you need to discuss.

Please, for the love of all that is geeky, stop dumping all of your FriendFeed stream into Twitter. Wait! Wait! Hear me out. Allow me to explain:

Twitter was not designed to be what it is today. It was to be something much simpler and people found more exciting ways to use it. We all know how that turned out. Now, FriendFeed has basically given each of it’s users a cannon to blast away at Twittter’s weak infrastructure and unsuspecting community. Most of those poor Tweeters have no clue what’s going on.

Back when I was active on IRC and dinosaurs roamed the earth, anyone who posted several messages in a row was considered to be flooding and would probably be booted from the channel, immediately. Now, if it’s impolite to flood an interactive live chat, why would it be ok to flood Twitter? You barely have the ability to scroll back.

We are burying everyone’s updates with truncated FriendFeed items.

Are you really adding value for your followers?

I just figured I would put this out there because I’ve seen a few people drop so many consecutive updates it looked like they were the only person I followed, and they weren’t even using Twitterfeed. Think about your strategy before you open the floodgates between services. Your audience will thank you for it.

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Ask Rahsheen: How Can I Recieve Texts Without Giving Up My Phone Number?

SMS message received on a Motorola RAZR wirele...
Image via Wikipedia

Hello Rahsheen,

I just read your post on Twitter and it sparked an idea. I’m a dj and I often get requests for songs. I was wondering if there is a way to use Twitter so that people could text their request to me. 
The immediate questions that pop up:

Would the person texting have to have a Twitter account?
Is there a way to set up a private twitter so that these aren’t on the main timeline and I get notified when their directed to me?
Is twitter the right route? Is there something better?
Is this even possible? 

I own an iPhone if that helps. My main goal is to be able to communicate with people while I’m in the booth and make their listening experience better. A great by product of this would be collecting people’s information (cell or email) so that I can populate a list so that I can send dates and venues. Any ideas? All and any help is appreciated!

So, we have a few things here to consider:

  1. Anonymous: We want to recieve messages to our phone from members of our audience, without giving out our phone number
  2. List-building: We would like to capture contact info during this process so that we can keep our audience updated
  3. Simple Texting: Users should be able to text their requests and, this isn’t specified, but we want to make this process as simple as possible

I’ll lay out a few options I found and, if you were looking for a similar solution, you may find something that clicks.

Twitter

The most obvious solution is to use Twitter’s Direct Messaging feature. You would link your phone number to your Twitter account and set it up so that you at least receive DM’s via SMS. 

Process

  • User sends a text “follow + <your username>” to 40404 (which is the shortcode for the US, find the code for your country here). This should sign the user up to Twitter if they don’t have an account already and follow you in one go. They are now one of your Twitter contacts. 
  • Now the user texts there requests using the proper format: d + <your username> + message.

Notes

  • We’ve got (1) covered, as long as you don’t mind receiving DM’s on Twitter
  • In order to fulfill (2), we have to rely on the user to actually follow us 
  • The user will have to remember the proper syntax to text a Direct Message “d + user + message”. If they mess it up, you will never see the message. So, (3) is covered, but it’s not as simply as we’d like.

Email

April linked me to a Lifehacker article on recieving text messages without revealing your phone number. You simply create a Gmail account that forwards all mail to your cellphone’s email address. T-Mobile users would have an address like 4045551212@tmomail.net, for example. 

Notes

  • We’ve got (1) covered here, since the user won’t see your actual phone number
  • (2) should also be covered…kinda. We may be able to see the user’s phone number and cellular email address.
  • (3) is kinda tricky. This solution assumes your audience can send a text message to an email address. There are carriers and plans that do not support this. Even some phone models don’t allow it.

Drop.io

Chris and Ian both mentioned Drop.io as a solution. It’s probably one of the most awesome services I’ve come across. 

Process

  • Create a drop and distribute the email address for it. You may also choose to distribute the phone number for the drop so users can leave you a voicemail, or you can simply provide the URL for the drop.
  • You can choose to be alerted a few different ways when user’s add notes to the drop, including Twitter and SMS.

Notes

  • (1) is definitely covered here. We can actually choose to recieve updates via Twitter or Direct SMS.
  • (2) is problematic because I believe the drops are anonymous. I haven’t into the internals, but it doesn’t appear that Drop.io will tell you who sent what.
  • Drop.io doesn’t have a shortcode or phone number available to send SMS messages to, so you run into the same issues as with the Email solution above as it pertains to (3).
  • Even though you have to rely on the SMS gateway, there are features of Drop.io that are pretty amazing and it’s definitely worth a look.

Widget

We also have the option of having users send us a message via a widget on our website. Mona mentioned this one, to me and Google told me that txtDrop.com will help me set it up. You simply go there, create your widget, then stick it on your website.

Notes

  • (1) is definitely covered, the user will not be aware of your actual phone number
  • (2) and (3) are a wash with this solution. You won’t be able to capture contact info and users won’t be able to text directly from their phone or even send an email. 

The End

This is obviously not a comprehensive list. There are many services that can help with this problem as well as a million ways to mix and match the solutions provided. Tiffany mentioned that you can even buy your own shortcode from the Common Short Code Administration.

How would you set this up? Can you think of a better solution? Let me know in the comments.

 

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