Jetpack's homepage is your standard, modern affair.
Jetpack’s homepage is your standard, cloudy affair.

If you are a blogger, and you use WordPress, you will undoubtedly heard of Jetpack Jetpack for WordPress provides a ton of enhancements to any WordPress install.   Among the goodies is something for the socialite in all of us: the ability to automatically “broadcast” our blog posts to social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, via the Publicize feature.

All this free stuff of course comes with a “price” – having a user account on WordPress.com itself.   But, if you are a blogger – or at the very least you read other people’s blogs and contribute comments – this is not exactly a hardship.

Set-up and Testing

Setting up Jetpack is as easy as installing a WordPress plug-in.  If you are familiar with the process, you will probably have already seen Jetpack in the Add Plugin page.

The Publicize feature is equally easy to set up:  you simply click on the button corresponding to the social network you wish to link with, a page/pop-up opens to allow you to authenticate with that social network, and then you return to the Publicize page with a “Connected as…” confirmatory message.

Jetpack confirming account connections.
Jetpack confirming account connections.

The next step is to write a post and then publish it.  Simple, huh?  Well, not quite.

Content Formatting

Due to the different ways social networks publish posts, your “write once, publish many” WordPress post may need a little tweaking before it looks as good as possible.

Google+

Image of G+ post
Google+ rendered my blog post with lots of #whitespace ! 😐

 

Facebook

 

Facebook produced a worthwhile post, with backlink.
Facebook produced a worthwhile post, with backlink.

Twitter

Twitter rendered my image sideways
Twitter did what it does best: stays brief

Links:

plus.google.com/+SteveDowe/posts/5eSkkPVLAfb

twitter.com/doweio/status/629950053499584512

Further Testing

Finding the most effective way to post requires more testing.  My main aim was to find a way in which one post can look great on the three main social platforms (Google+, Twitter and Facebook – not that I care too much about the latter).

[ This is a legacy-published post, originally written but unpublished on 13 August 2015.  Some details may not longer apply to recent software releases. ]

Strong headline maybe, but if you’re not on Google+ then you might consider your stance after reading this.

Jeri Ryan, best known as borg escapee “Seven of Nine” in Star Trek:Voyager, hosted a Hangout today on Google+, in celebration of having over 1 million fans subscribing to her feed.

Someone lucky enough to participate
in Jeri Ryan’s hangout!

There was a lot of buzz around it, with hundreds of comments flying around under the Hangout post, updating in real time.  It was pretty hard to get a video stream from Google, such were the number of simultaneous subscriptions.

In many ways, this reminded me of the excitement of the early internet, where we learned about things such as bandwidth… The kids today, they have everything!

Still, the excitement wasn’t only in the new broadcast/interaction (intercast?!) method through G+ hangouts, it was the realisation that, should they choose, celebs can now use a nice, safe way of engaging with their fan base.  Directly.  Over time, this may disarm broadcast controllers and empower people, be they celebrities or fans, into collaboration through constructive, enriching dialogue.

Wil Wheaton, self-confessed geek and well-known actor likewise, was notably impressed with hangouts.  It was refreshing to see people observing great netiquette while chatting with Jeri.  How much more enjoyable, this, than suffering typically mundane updates as you might in another social networking system.

As Google measures and expands upon functionality in G+, I hope they’ll see fit to bring more interactive tools to the table.  I get the feeling that hangouts are just the start of the next revolution.  As Android gathers increasing momentum and Google+ apps appear on both major mobile platforms, we could see real-time social networking emerge as the number one communication method.

People, known and unknown to each other, will communicate, partly in mimicry, utilising all tools at their disposal.  And, with open source platforms gathering adoption, they will inevitably add both their biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. 

Resistance, my friends, is futile.

UPDATE – here’s the recording:

Ok, so I check my email first thing on Wed 16 Feb to find a message from a close friend.

“What’s that email all about then mate?”, he asks.  “No idea – which email?” I reply.

Turns out, it was this email (I have removed private email addresses, etc):

Join me on Ecademy

Connect to the right people
Market your business
Grow revenue

photoSteve Dowe
@dot.com>
Upgrade to PowerNetworker
7 day FREE Trial
ps. Join today and receive a free trial PowerNetworker subscription>


This email was sent to
To avoid receiving these emails in the future go to
http://www.ecademy.com/blockinvites.php?e=

The Ecademy Limited. Registered in England and Wales. Company Registration:3651083 VAT:718037736
@dotcom>
@domain.com>

So, from a contact list I’d imported probably 2 years ago, since which I’d downgraded from a PowerNetworker to a Free member, suddenly is sent a whole load of invites to people I’ve not spoken to.  This is not good.

Now, before the critics chime in, yes I know that the terms of importing the contact list are that ecademy will send out invites on my behalf.  This is not an issue – I agreed to that…2+ years ago.  A lot changes in that time.

Miffed as I was that this had happened, I considered blogging about it and finally let it lie … until the same message was again dispatched, early this morning (24 Feb), to the 180-odd contacts who had not yet responded or read their email.  This, in my book, is tantamount to spamming.  “Oh, you didn’t buy my product?  Here, try again…”.  Ad infinitum.  This, a happy member does not make (especially since finding out that a customer of mine has received 3!).

So, sorry to all the contacts past and present who have endured these messages.  At least I was able to obtain the list of contact data back out of ecademy so that I could message everyone separately and invite them personally to LinkedIn.

Let me just say, however, that despite this I have otherwise been happy using ecademy.  Support has been good and the web site is useful in connecting people.  But this method of increasing memberships is a little too covert for my liking, and the time is coming for one or more new platforms in business/social networking, with open, user-controlled features and content.

In the meantime, I await with interest, the outcome of my correspondance with ecademy’s support team:

Sent 24 Feb 2011

Hello,

I wish to close my account.

Can you also promise that the details of people who are in my contact list, but who are not members of ecademy, will be removed from your database?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Many thanks,
Steve

Update – 24 Deb 2011

Well, an automaton can do that for me too! I quote:

Delete Your Account

Deleting an account is a major step. Once the account has been deleted, you will not be able to re-join using the same email address. All your records, contacts, posts, comments and messages will also be deleted. Deleted records cannot be recovered.

This process is irreversible.
Are you absolutely sure you want to do this?
As an alternative, Click on ‘No. Just hide my profile’ to hide your profile and turn off all email messages, leaving your account intact.
If you definitely want to be permanently removed from Ecademy, type in your password, check the confirmation box and choose the ‘Yes. Please delete my account’ button below.

So… sometimes I wonder, what’s the point? I add a bookmark, and the Firefox plug-in asks me if I want to add it to delicious, so generally I say yes as I think it’s probably useful to others. But, syncing with delicious doesn’t seem to retain the organisation I give to my bookmarks (they are my bookmarks, after all).

I have installed xMarks to Firefox, which is great. Delicious, on the other hand… it’s not Digg… what is it?

I have recently spent a considerable amount of time updating my blogs. This is my personal, “daily diary” style blog and I contribute to another blog for work (One Cool).

Why, you may ask, did I decide to use two different systems? Well, not knowing the strengths or weaknesses of one in comparison to the other means I cannot exploit them. One strength of Blogger, for example, is how quick the non-WYSISYG editor is. The speed of it means it’s a joy to type into as opposed to WordPress‘s more advanced, touchy-feely editor.

But it’s all relative – there’s still the need to complete commercial work and get dinner on the table. And apart from that, there’s an outstanding Fedora 9 blog article or two that I still need to sort out.. 😉

It might not seem like it at first glance, but I’d say it’s true: whichever medium you choose (e.g. Blogger, Myspace, Facebook, LinkedIn, 12Questions.com, etc…), we are collaborating in an unprecedented fashion.

Collaboration is a nice corporate word. It conjurs up images of busy, suited professionals using PDAs to respond to “Bob” back in the office while we, us more important types, are out there on the road, winning at business and life.

Yet we are all performing the very thing that has been, and still is, this “holy grail” of modern communications. Instead of having our network defined by corporate governance and a system administrator’s tenacity (and love) for rules, simply having a connection to the web now means transformation – not of business, but of people.

And when you think of the web, you can think of people, interconnected by their elected social networks, not just their prescribed business ones. For those of us who are employed outside of the megacorps as well as in, this is natural.

But what it means to those with their roots in structure, rules, regulations and definitions is much more exciting. It is your time – embrace it, wisely.