My Social Workflow…

All work and no play...

A friend emailed me this morning asking how I go about blogging as a Mac user, and how I manage the buzz between Twitter and Facebook.

My workflow for blogging uses these tools, not necessarily all together:

  1. WordPress
  2. MarsEdit
  3. WordPress for iPhone
  4. ScribeFire (for Firefox)

WordPress is the web application running on PHP/MySQL that I use to actually host the blog. I self-host my sites, but there are a lot of people that use WordPress.com to host their blogs. Regardless, it’s exactly the same engine. It’s a) free and open-source software; b) elegant and beautifully designed for users to spend more time writing and less time maintaining; c) boasting a huge community of theme designers and plugin authors that morph the blogging tool into a full fledged CMS, CRM and even a social network (if they’re using the WordPress Multi-User Server — also free). WordPress even supports Google Gears, so you can use it to author offline and then sync up when you’re connected again. It is my primary authoring tool.

MarsEdit is a plain-text editor for blogging. It works with Blogger, MovableType (and its hosted solution, TypePad) and WordPress among a few others. I bought it a while ago and honestly, I don’t use it as much as I used to since WordPress’ own authoring functions have matured so much, but now and again I use it to write really long and involved posts that will need to contain a lot of media that I need to create to illustrate a point.

I infrequently blog little missives from the iPhone (though a lot less of that now that I have found my outlet with Twitter). When I do, I use WordPress for iPhone and I can take pictures and post to the blog from the app. The next version is important and I’ll use it more often, as I’ll be able to moderate and respond to comments on my blogs — and the app supports multiple WordPress blogs (either self-hosted or on WordPress.com). There’s a possibility that the next version of the app will allow you to pretty much completely admin the blogs, and that would be pretty huge for me now that I can install themes and plugins from my own site.

Now, the tool I probably use most when I’m at work is ScribeFire , which is a plugin for Firefox. If Firefox is your browser of choice, it’s a great plugin and has some nice shortcuts like creating links with the url you’ve already copied onto your clipboard when you want to create a link. Firefox works dog slow on my Mac and it’s a drain even on my PC, so I waver on using it a lot, but if you’re using Firefox, you can’t beat the price 🙂

Now as far as Twitter/Facebook updates — Tom King and Mark Oehlert have wavered a bit on linking the two together, but the common way of doing it is to post to Twitter and it relays original tweets (not @ replies or d messages) to your Facebook status. There’s a Facebook app to accomplish this and that’s what I do . Tom and Mark argue, and have a valid point, that the two are distinct audiences and the Facebook crowd often gets left out of the context with which you’d post to Twitter. I try to write for both, and let the chips fall where they may in Facebook — most of my Facebook contacts are non-geeks and they’re overwhelmed with the amount of status updates I have — they think I’m always on Facebook.

I have not tried Pinger. I’ve been using Fring… but PInger looks a lot prettier. Fring supports skype, though, which is pretty nifty if you have WiFi on you can even call over Skype, which is pretty cool.

For monitoring the buzz, especially on Twitter, I use Tweetie. I’ll check out Pinger, but I have some trouble with filtering when everything is in one big clump, like it is with Fring. Tweetie is fast and convenient, and the Facebook app for iPhone is pretty good at being able to respond now to most posts or comments I receive — I set up SMS alerts for wall updates and comments in Facebook, since I have unlimited SMS. Which is important when people are making that timely and mission critical comment on my picture of my Mii and my Wii code. It’s crunch times like that when I can’t reply fast enough.

I’ve also set up a Google alert for @mrch0mp3rs, which lets me know once a day where I get cited (even outside of Twitter, which I do and has happened to me).

After replying the above advice to my friend, Tom followed up recommending ecto, which I’m using to write this post and I have to say, I’m REALLY impressed. I may do a lot more blogging with ecto. Tom also recommends iBlogger over WordPress for iPhone, and since Illuminex makes both ecto AND iBlogger, I’ll have to give it a try, too.

The thing about being a geek, is that you can never REALLY cement your workflow. It’s constantly in Beta.

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