Power.com helps manage multiple social networks with ease

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The Internet has never been more social and the large number of social networking sites popping up every other day is a testament to this fact. Not a day passes by without the introduction of atleast a couple of social networks. And social animals that we are, most of us like to be active on more than one network. But, as most of us realise, managing those account becomes a nightmare pretty soon.

Power.com is here to save the day for all you social animals. It is an interesting tool. Instead of working with and adding to the feature set of a particular social network, Power.com, lets the user login and stay active on all the networks that it currently supports.

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What that means is that a user who logs in to power.com will be able to interact with all his/her contacts across facebook, orkut, hi5 and myspace from right within the power.com window.

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While the interface could have been better, the integration of the all the different networks that it supports is pretty consistent. One can see all messages from the supported networks on a single page and also see all your friends on the same page. Power.com displays this information in a layout which looks a lot like the default orkut homepage, although the color scheme is different and very easy on the eyes.

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power_msgAnother interesting feature Power.com offers is the ability to send a message to any of your friends without even visiting their profile or scrapbook. Just hover over the friend’s name and a menu appears which will let you send a message directly.

In fact, you can reply to any messages that your friends might have sent you right from the Start Page of Power.com itself. No need to open multiple windows and having to login to different networks.

Power.com also provides a toolbar which is claimed to work on anything newer than IE 5.0 and Firefox 1.0.1 and provides access to most features without even visiting the website.

Oh yeah, before I forget … if, for example, your administrator has blocked access to orkut.com at your school/office, Power.com will still let you access orkut since the actual site will be opening inside of the power.com window.

Are there any other social networking tools that you guys use to manage your online presence ? Anything that aggregates different networks and provides a single view ?

Shelfari has been acquired by Amazon

Today’s big news of the day is that Shelfari, the social network for book addicts, has been acquired by Amazon.

Today’s (or rather yesterday’s) big news of the day is that Shelfari, the social network for book addicts, has been acquired by Amazon. Now, I’m not a big fan of Shelfari, but I know a big news when I see one. I have an account at the service and did add a book to my shelf to see how the thing works, but haven’t been on the site for long enough to really use it. But, thats mostly because I’m lazy and I have no friends on the site.

I can, though, definitely understand the significance of Shelfari. I love books myself and love getting recommendations and much more likely to read a book I’ve seen on a friend’s book shelf than at a random store. But, I’m sure a lot of book lovers joining Shelfari had the same problems that I had. We’re just too lazy to list down the books we own, have read or are reading.

Hopefully, being a part of Amazon will help Shelfari solve that problem. Amazon has the users and their data and Shelfari has the social platform. Together, they sure can create magic, and get lazy bums like me on to their side.

I’m really hoping that the site does well.

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Digg vs. Stumbleupon and which one do I prefer

which one do you prefer ?

Digg and Stumbleupon are two social bookmarking sites that every blogger should care about. Both the sites allow a visitor to bookmark your site and share the link with other potential visitors. Both, follow a ranking system and getting a good rank on any of the two would ensure a huge surge in traffic. But, the question is how relevant is the traffic ?

I’ll admit that I’m not a social bookmarking fanatic. My favourite bookmarking site is del.icio.us, and I’ve only recently started using digg and stumbleupon. I use del.icio.us as an extension on the bookmarks in my browser. Infact, these days I use del.icio.us as a replacement for the local browser bookmarks and I love their tagging feature.

A lot of web publishers I know have been focusing all their energy on getting to the top page of digg. My opinion is that while digg will definitely get you a lot of visitors for a while, the digg effect doesn’t last long enough to make any significant contribution to your readerbase. Stumbleupon, on the other hand, in my opinion, has a much longer term effect. It is like advertising your property in a local daily vs. taking out an online advertisement on craigslist etc. Well, not really, but you get the drift.

The difference between digg and stumbleupon isĀ  that while most digg users rarely venture beyond the homepage, stumbleupon suggests users links based on their interest. Since, the links are based on the readers’ interest, there is a much greater chance of the visitor becoming a regular reader of your blog/website than a user who came via digg.

Of course, the content also is useful, but in my opinion, its much easier to fool *game* digg than stumbleupon.

In the end, if you’re a new web publisher, exploit digg, but also make your way through stumbleupon and continue serving both the communities for a while. The occassional digg traffic is good but the continuous and rewarding stumbleupon traffic is what you should really aim for.

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Facebook's cleanup act

No, facebook is not going away. And yes, they’re cleaning up their act.

If you are one of those for whom facebook, or FB as the fanboys call it, is the be-all and end-all of social networks, there is some good news and some bad news. The good news is that facebook is working on version 2.0 of their social platform which is going to make your profiles a lot less cluttered than they currently are. The bad news is that the changes are going to be quite far reaching and might force you to learn a new way to interact with facebook and its applications.

I’m one of those who tend to think of the applications as the killer feature of any social platform. I mean, meeting people and interacting with them is all fine, but nothing beats the fun of turning your best friend into a vampire or sending over virtual roses to your high school crush. For people like me, the redesigned facebook will bring about a change in the way we interact with the applications. Until now, a user had to install an application to be able to use it, but after this change, the user will be able to see an application after a simple authentication and then decide wether he/she wants the application to be displayed in the apps tab. Yes, unlike the current interface, there will be a tab dedicated to applications.

As a facebook user, I think thats a good thing. This would atleast take some clutter out of my profile page, for sure.

For the developers, though, this isn’t such a good thing since the developers will now have to put in more effort in their applications. Given the short attention span of web users, the developers will have to impress the users enough to be able to make them add their applications to their apps page. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. The good thing is that the applications now have a whole canvas to play but the bad thing, like I said, is that the applications themselves will have to improve and the promotional methods, bordering on spamming, used by applications of the past, will not work now.

Only time will tell wether this move will be beneficial for facebook per se, since they really don’t have much time before the opensocial scene picks up.