While doing my morning skim through TweetDeck (among other info sources), I saw this post that I think fits pretty well with the theme of the book—8 tools & techniques to improve your blogging « Boagworld—so I gave it a read (clearly). Paul Boag lists some great tools for kick starting/inspiring your blogging, but I being me (and having more than a few—thousand—posts under my belt) I feel compelled to put in my two cents.
Here are Paul’s 8 tools so you have those as a baseline:
- Google Reader & Newsstand (RSS tools)
- Cotweet (commenting and reader engagement)
- Omnifocus (note taking/gathering)
I’m not going to dismiss any of these tools, because I don’t think you can lose using any of them, but I do have some of my own tweaks to the list…
For RSS I do use Google Reader, but my app of choice is NetNewsWire (for you Windows folks FeedDemon rocks) from NewsGator and there is a companion iPhone app too. NNW just released its Google Reader syncing version as final so go grab it. Really it’s cool:
That said, I’m not a one app kind of guy for RSS. There is just too much information out there to slice and dice it just one way. So I mix things up using Feedly (which is a really cool Firefox extension):
And use the PostRank extension within Google Reader to make my GR view a lot more informative:
Yeah now that’s some informational inspiration for you! RSS, though, is only part of my information addiction …
Without Twitter I think I’d miss more than half of the cool stuff I find everyday (like Paul’s post!). For Twitter two tools rule the roost: TweetDeck and HootSuite. I use TweetDeck to read and group the people I follow:
And HootSuite to share links, pages, etc as I surf around:
Pretty nifty, eh?
“Everything Box” & gathering notes
I don’t use Omnifocus, but I’ve been using Yojimbo and Evernote to gather post fodder and such. They seem to do the job pretty well. I don’t know if I’ll keep using Yojimbo, but Evernote will stick around because it all works (and syncs) on Macs, PCs, smartphones, and the web. Cause sometimes you just need to grab and gather on the go.
For posting, I’ve been using Posterous a lot lately for firing off something fast without much additional commentary and as a faux “lifestreaming” blog—Tris Hussey’s Lifestream – A bespoken hub to many spokes—for writing though, let me say this: “friends don’t let friends write in HTML”. When I switched (back) to a Mac a year ago I lamented the loss of Windows Live Writer. I tried MarsEdit, but quickly dropped it because I frankly don’t want to work in or look at HTML anymore. I did start using Ecto, but when Blogo came around I switched to that as my primary blogging tool:
Blogo does a very, very elegant job at blogging. It reminds me of the editor I use to help develop called Qumana.
Focus is not something easy to come by (noise isolating earbuds help a lot and so does a diverse iTunes library) and I, in fact, did have Isolator running for a while but I found that I didn’t really need it. When I’m working something other than a post (a book chapter or document), I’m in Scrivener, which has a full-screen mode, and when I’m posting I’m in Blogo, which does too!
Built in “isolators” are a boon to writers like me (and Paul I gather) who sometimes need to block everything else out to get stuff done (I also quit distracting apps when I need hard-core focus).
As with Paul’s post, I did all my screenshots for this post (and the book for that matter) in Skitch. Man that app rocks.
That’s really how I do it, as far as tools go. My process for writing and posting is a completely different matter—which sounds like a great post for another day, doesn’t it?