As we all start to close-up shop on 2011 I thought it could be fun to take a quick look at some of my favorite sites and tools that popped up during our time together in the eleventh year of this fine century. Some are analytics tools, some are social networks, some are shopping. It's a mixed bag. A peek in to my online life really and the things that are grabbing my attention.
Hope you enjoy – some of my favorite things from 2011:
This simple dash board quickly shows you some important and helpful data points regarding your Twitter performance. Yes – currently they are limited to Twitter. I wouldn't be surprised if they were working on a Facebook version as well but they've only been out of beta for a bit so be patient. I expect great things. Also I believe it's currently invite only so you may have to ask around if you' d like to check it out. Here's a quick look at some of the data available to you:
What's not to love? The guys behind Simply Measured have built a pretty incredible toolset over the last couple of years. Their Facebook and Twitter reporting is both simple and meaningful. To make matters even better – it's presented in a ridiculously sexy format. If it has been awhile since you last checked them out I'd encourage visiting again. They recently released their Web App that enables a rich sharing experience between parties (clients and their agency partners for example)
While some bemoan the perhaps sometimes overused filters that are placed on each image that is shared, I still find it a glorious way of sharing content with friends and contacts. It's still small enough that it has an intimate feel and they update frequently enough that the filters haven't gotten too boring yet. I have always been a connoisseur of artsy fartsy things but have not really ever had the innate skills it takes to create artsy fartsy things. Instagram let's me get just a bit artsy [easily] with my photos and share them out. You can, if you like, have them sent to Facebook and Twitter if you'd like greater exposure. Right now they are iPhone only (no web site either) but I'd keep an eye out as I'm sure other versions are coming.
My Instagram profile and some of the pics!
Another social network? Yeppers. This one is has been around for a bit but recently experienced a resurgence of activity when they completed a redesign of the apps (iPhone and Android only) and user experience. While it is app based only the experience is a pretty nice addition/alternative to Facebook – if you're in the market for one. Should be interesting to see how the adoption rate grows but so far it's getting some good traction and it's got a great UI that sites like Facebook could really really learn from. Feels a great deal more intimate than Facebook but that's largely due to the adoption rate. Does encourage sharing of things like awake/sleeping, location, current activities, etc rather than links and content for example.
This is possibly my favorite thing this year. Pinterest in its strictest sense is – a visual content sharing, discovery and curation portal. Users can 'pin' pictures from web pages and curate them in to 'boards'. You can search globally based on keyword (pulled from the comment field users must fill in before pinning the image). It has a ton of great benefits in terms of SEO and driving traffic. But from a users perspective – it's crazy addicting. Give it a shot but don't blame me when you get sucked in and can't get out
Not for the reason you might be thinking. Furthering the conversation around measuring conversations online is an invaluable contribution they're making. Continual evolution of their algorithm has proved a point of irritation for some but definitely keeps them in the forefront of the Influence-measurement related conversations. From a social business perspective I appreciate the often-times ridiculous nature of it all but it's a conversation worth having. Also – did you know I am now influential in "Pony"? #awesome
So this isn't exactly a new social media tool, or web analytics suite or anything of the like. But it is a really great site that I found this year that I want to see succeed. It's much like your Ideeli's, or Gilt's or any of the other "private" and "exclusive" shopping sites – but this one is strictly focused on products with great design. Even has an 'inspiration' board to look at. You won't regret adding this one to your daily email routine!
I cheated 'cause I put two in one here. But let's be real – I made the rules so how much trouble do you think I'm really going to get in?
I love Rhapsody. Have for a long time now. It's an all-you-can-eat online music subscription service that allows you to download as much content as you want for off-line playback across a pretty wide variety of devices. Spotify is a new (to the US) streaming service as well. I like to use both in conjunction. Rhapsody offers a great integration between the Mobile and web devices but lacks a bit of the robust nature Spotify has in terms of sharing. I tend to discover friends content from playlists and listen on Rhapsody.
>So there you go – the sites, tools and networks that have managed to grab my attention recently or over the last year. I'm very excited to see what 2012 has in store for all of us!
Kristy Bolsinger is a Senior Associate at PwC in Seattle, WA. She has previously worked at Ant's Eye View (acquired by PwC in 2012), and RealNetworks (GameHouse). Prior to her time at RealNetworks, and Ant's Eye View - Kristy was working as a Social Media Marketing Consultant and completing her MBA at Willamette University. She maintains a social media blog and can also be found on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.