Lent is over, time to invade Facebook again!

This year my wife and I gave up Facebook for Lent. That’s a little different and I posted about giving it up a few months ago. Well Easter has come and gone and now I’m able to check and post to Facebook with reckless abandon once again. The break from Facebook was good but it was quite interesting to see how much I did sort of miss and there are people that my wife and I connect with regularly that use Facebook a ton.

The break was good for me though, I did need a little break from the News Feed, I did use Twitter as a different way to keep up with things it it just wasn’t the same. I also wasn’t able to use Facebook Chat which kind of stinks. Some people that I know use Facebook chat as their default messaging service, I’m kinda old school and still use AIM and Google Talk to say hi virtually to friends and family.

Needless to say I’ve been binging a little bit since I was able to go back and check on stuff. I think once I get back into a good rhythm I will be checking things less and posting less. Kind of like how I used to be on fire with this blog but it always takes a back seat until I get some inspiration to actually write something which doesn’t happen too often now since I have my daughter to play with at home. It’s nice to be back on the social network known as Facebook but it’s also nice to know that I can also survive without it.

40 Day Facebook Break

I’m pretty sure that I’ve tweeted this already but I’m on a self imposed break from Facebook. I’m not allowed to check it at all but I can post via Twitter but I can’t see any responses. The reason for my exile is because of Lent. Normally I would give up a food but my wife came up with the idea of giving up Facebook instead. She’s still giving up a food but I’m not. Facebook is definitely trying to make me check by sending me emails almost daily telling me that I have things that I should be looking at. I think I’ve done a pretty good job of ignoring them for now. Maybe next year I’ll try giving up Twitter instead or something.

I don’t even know what day it is in my Facebook break, I just know I’ll finally be able to check things out when Easter rolls around. At that time I’ll make my first true Facebook post, maybe an Easter family picture, to mark the end of 40 days.

Chronicling my Internet Past

I’ve been on the Internet for quite a while and I’ve posted a lot of stuff over the years from status updates, check ins, and pictures. There are probably things I’ve posted that I’ve long since forgotten about but I’m trying to archive as much of my activity as possible recently just so I can have it. Since a lot of my stuff is in the web and I use so many services, its hard to get them all in one place for me to look at. The services I use the most to post has to be Facebook, Foursquare, and Twitter like almost everyone else on the planet. I also use this blog but I have a good ifttt recipe for that. The key to chronicling all of this is Evernote and some apps and services from the web.

The first thing I’m using is ifttt. This is a web service that takes actions on the web such as posts on twitter or Facebook and then does a corresponding action that I specify. I’ve set up recipes for Facebook and WordPress to send the posts I make or pictures I’m tagged in to Evernote so I have an archive of what I’m posting. The problem is that I can’t capture what happened in the past and I only started using ifttt maybe 6 months ago. I’m already amazed at how much crap I throw up on the web but its all good stuff for me to chronicle to see what I was doing at that time.

I’ve recently downloaded two apps to help me look into my past and its pretty interesting what I’ve been doing in the past couple of years. One app which is called TimeHop is an app my boss showed to me that looks at my past 2 years worth of Facebook posts but only shows me the posts I made on that day. It’s quite fun going down memory lane for that day to see what I was doing and also seeing my checkin’s to see where I potentially went.

I’ve recently down load a new app called Everyday.Me. It’s a little similar to TimeHop but this collects all my tweets, Facebook updates, and checkin’s in one long list starting from the most recent entry to the first one I ever made. I have years worth of status updates so I’m not sure it has everything downloaded yet. What was unexpected but pretty cool was that I got an email that showed my activity going back 4 years for 5 days worth of activity so I could see what I did. What is really great about the app is that it backs up to Dropbox and Evernote. I use Evernote quite a bit and I have ifttt doing a lot of the wok as well but I go with the idea that you can never have enough backups. I haven’t used Everyday.me for all that long so I can’t really write a lot about it but so far I am impressed and the Evernote syncing is exactly what I wanted in an app.

So why exactly am I doing all this to catalog what I’m doing? I really don’t know but my daughter might find it interesting one day on what I was doing on a particular day while I was away from home while she was growing up. Or who knows, I might be inspired one day and put all this together into some memento that I can look back at and laugh a little about how much time I spent online. I definitely can’t wait to go home this week, there are Easter things to do and chronicle!

Social Networking on the Web Just Got Better: Seesmic!

I will admit that I am quite an avid user of social media.  I have my presence all over the interweb on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.  I’ve been pretty content most of the time to just using Twitter and Facebook but the real challenge has always been finding a Twitter application that can update the status of both at the same time using my computer.  I currently have this ability using Twitbird Pro on my iPhone and iPad but there hasn’t been that many apps that do what Twitbird does.

I was using an app called TweetDeck for a while but for some odd reason, I couldn’t log into my Twitter account anymore.  Being quite frustrated by this fact and after doing a few password resets, I decided to go trolling through the web for something new.  I stumbled upon Seesmic while using my Evernote app and browsing their Trunk.  I downloaded the Seesmic desktop app but I was having the same problem that I was having with TweetDeck in terms of authenticating my user name.  How crappy!  I think its because they recently changed how they want Twitter apps to authenticate using their API called OAuth.  I know I received an email about it but I didn’t think it would affect me so soon.

I decided to uninstall Seesmic on my desktop but noticed that they had a web version as well.  All I had to do was create an account with Seesmic to get started.  I decided, why not give it a shot so I signed up and miraculously my user name and password for Twitter worked just fine on the web version.  I’ve been using the web version for a few days now and I have to say that I’m pretty impressed so far.  It has Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, FourSquare, and Google Buzz (which I still don’t get at all).  The interface is super easy and I can update all the services at the same time if I want to.  I still only update Facebook and Twitter but its nice to be able to follow my LinkedIn feed now without having to log into the actual website.  I’ll keep trying this out but I think I’ll be using Seesmic for the foreseeable future instead of installing thick client Twitter apps.

Facebook FAIL

This rant will be short and sweet.  No matter how many times I put in my credentials for Twitter in Facebook to connect, I always get an error.  This is highly annoying because I want my Twitter and Facebook accounts to sync up to a certain degree.  I know there are ways around this but come on, this is crucial integration between two of the largest social networks on the interweb.

Ok I’m done ranting about this.  I’m just happy that my twitterfeed is working once again and it has the option of posting my blogs on Facebook as well as Twitter rather than trying to rely on the Twitter/Facebook integration.  BLAH, FAIL to you Facebook and your crappy API!

Updating Twitterfeed

I think I’ve finally figured out why my blog posts haven’t been going to Twitter and to Facebook lately.  I recently changed my name in Twitter but for some reason I forgot to update it everywhere else I use Twitter.  This is essentially a test post.

There seems to be something wrong with the API between Twitter and Facebook too recently.  The API won’t accept my login credentials which is seriously weird since it’s been working for almost a year if not more.  No matter, Twitterfeed will be able to accomplish this goal for me as well since they’ve added some enhancements.  The only thing I have to make sure of going forward is to use Tweetdeck or something similar so that my updates for Twitter go to Facebook too.

I do most of my Tweeting from from my iPhone anyway so thats not a big concern overall.  Here’s to seeing if this actually works!  Come on Twitterfeed, don’t let me down!!

Blog Automation – Getting your blog to update your Facebook status

As I’ve been experimenting with WordPress and some new services to get my blog out into the interweb I think I’ve been relatively successful with my current method so I thought I’d share it just in case anyone wants to give this a try.  Here is my current set up but depending on who the blog is supposed to reach, some of these services won’t be required or it just might become popular enough on its own that this won’t be needed.  Anyway, here we go!

Services:

First off there are a number of free services that will be needed to make this happen and in order to select the services you need a goal is required.  My ultimate goal was to get my blog to update my Facebook status without me having to do it manually by blogging then going to Facebook and adding a link.  After doing some research into the problem I was able to come up with a solution that is working really well.  First off I’ll list the services I have to make all this happen and all of them are free.

  1. WordPress – Blog
  2. Facebook
  3. Twitter
  4. Twitterfeed
  5. FeedBurner – Optional

OK, first things first, you need to sign up for all these services and I’ll say what service does what.  Most of them should be familiar already such as Facebook and Twitter but Twitterfeed and FeedBurner might be a little new.

WordPress – Pretty simple, this is where all the blog posts go.  What is blogged about doesn’t really matter.  I post things about technology for the most part and things that occur in my life.  I have been writing in my blog since 2005 give or take about various topics.  It started as a news page for my website but now its what I use most to write about things that interest me or that I think others might want to read.  It also helps to keep my writing skills sharp.

Facebook – Ahh the huge social network that everyone is on.  Pretty easy as well, this is where most of your friends, family, co-workers, ex’s, pretty much everyone you know is on this thing and is probably on your friend list too.  The big thing with Facebook for me is the status updates since this is where all your blog posts are eventually going to end up complete with a web link to the post.

Twitter – Another social like network that limits your updates to 140 characters.  This updates people on what you’re doing but unlike Facebook, the entire planet can see it and not just your friends like in Facebook.  This is the intermediate area where your blog is going to be published.  I’ll explain that later.

Twitterfeed – This is the service that makes everything possible and helps the snowball that is your blog post to pick up a ton of speed.  As the name implies this integrates with Twitter and your blog.  This is kind of a set it and forget it service but its extremely useful.  It will generate a tiny url for the blog post so it fits in a tweet to Twitter.

FeedBurner – This service is optional.  It gathers statistics about your RSS feed for your blog to let you know who’s viewing your blog.  Pretty nifty if you’re concerned with stats up the wazoo.

Now that you know what everything kind of does, its time to bring the web together and get stuff posted.

The first thing that needs to be done is to get Twitter to update your Facebook status.  There is an app in Facebook that will link the two accounts together so that whenever you tweet, it reflects that straight away in Facebook as a status update.  This is very useful since I can tweet using a text message from my phone without going to the web.  I would test this out a few times just to make sure its working correctly.  Facebook can still be updated manually but this won’t be reflected in Twitter.  Just keep in mind that once enabled, whatever you do on Twitter is done in Facebook.

The second thing that needs to be done is to setup Twitterfeed.  Twitterfeed is a service that takes RSS feeds and sends them as tweets to Twitter.  All blogs come with some form of RSS address and this address is what goes into Twitterfeed.  Twitterfeed can look for new posts every 30 minutes or so for the latest post and tweet it.  At the same time, Twitterfeed adds a url link so that people can go to the post.

For those that love statistics, FeedBurner is the way to go.  It shows in a report format who is reading your blog, how many hits it gets a day, who is subscribing to it, etc.  All that needs to be done is to put the RSS link from the blog to FeedBurner and then it will start tracking stats.  I think the stats that WordPress gives you is plenty but this is for those that want a bit more.

Pretty much thats it!  For those of you who need to know the process flow it goes like this:

  1. Blog post -> Twitterfeed
  2. Twitterfeed -> Twitter
  3. Twitter -> Facebook

And that is how all my blog posts find its way on to Facebook.  I’ve seen a big jump in readership but I think it also depends on what I happen to blog about.  Thats it for now.  More inspiration will come after the weekend is done.