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Top five social media tools August 4, 2006

Posted by James Warren in social media, web 2.0.

Both Simon and Ged have tagged me for this top five social media tools meme thing that’s doing the rounds.  Many thanks gentlemen and apologies for not responding sooner.  Here are the first five things that spring to mind, for what they’re worth: actually that’s a lie – the first five social media tools that sprung to mind were people – but that’s a different story altogether 😉

  1. RSS.  A boring choice perhaps, but this ball-bouncingly simple and natty little acronym is fundamental to all social media.  I now boot up my RSS reader in the morning before email and my internet browser.  I use Sharpreader, in case you’re interested – nothing special, but whenever I try other readers, I always end up coming back – it’s just Really Simple and Straightforward.  I could add Juice too.  Basically, the whole subscribing thing just makes media consumption sooooo easy.
  2. WordPress.  Love it, love it, love it.  Not only hosted by them for free (like this puppy), but also as installed blog software for client blogs.  It’s hyper-adaptable, reliable, scaleable, does everything you ask of it and is incredibly intuitive to use.
  3. Icerocket/Google Blog Search (can’t separate them, only because neither is perfect).  Purely for the ease with which you can set up bespoke (that’s customized to you Merkans) RSS feeds.  Essential for any self-respecting PR person (oxymoron?) that wants to track what the world is saying about clients/issues/competitors.
  4. Alexa/Google Trends.  Although these have their uses for me in my day to day work, their real impact comes when you unveil the odd clever graph in a client preso/meeting.  Clients are generally flabberghasted that this sort of information is freely available.  I showed both to AMEC at a conference a few months ago.  There was a fairly muted reaction.  Quick (instant), dirty, free online media measurement – yes, it’s basic (very) but there’s no arguing with the figures and facts.  If we’re running a campaign which uses particular messaging or language, Google Trends is great for analysing the effectiveness.  Alexaholic’s ability to measure traffic to microsites versus competitor traffic, for example, is also as powerful.
  5. Windows Live.  Believe me, a few months ago I really didn’t think I’d be writing this, but I have to concede that Microsoft has seriously got its, ahem, ‘stuff’ together wrt web 2.0, and in a very short space of time too.  Even if they weren’t a client (same-size print: they are) I think I’d still include their live.com site as a good example of pulling together some lovely AJAXy goodness and incorporating some juicy RSS functionality etc.  Hats (although not red ones) off to them.
  6. IM.  I wish it wasn’t on this list (and strictly speaking it shouldn’t be, seeing as its number six) because I can’t claim to have quite managed the time management implications of instant messaging.  But its certainly growing in use and significance.  IM and RSS between them should cause the end of email altogether (here’s hoping…).  One of the biggest implications of the ‘death’ of email is the fall in traffic to the likes of Yahoo, Gmail and – of course – Hotmail sites – traditionally among the most popular online destinations.  The decline in email use will bring about a corresponding drop in the advertising value of those sites.  Although I dare say they’ll make it up elsewhere, eh?

I don’t think there’s anybody else in the UK PR blog scene that hasn’t answered this already, so I shan’t pass it on.  Good weekends, all!



1. 7daysandmore» Blog Archive » Top Five Social Media Tools - February 1, 2007

[…] James Warren, director of web relations for Weber Shandwick in the UK presents his top five social media tools list: […]

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