I was thinking of using Firefox iMacros to automate posting to Twitter, Facebook, optionally LinkedIn and my Wordpress blog. Then I saw Reid Hoffman using pingfm, and afriend also mentioned it to me. Ping.fm has that web 2.0 cleanliness to its feel. I was surprised that it does not message one of its strongest
features up front, and one that I am using now - you can send status updates, blogs and micro blogs via email. That alone lowers the barrier, and since they also show attached pictures (testing that with this post) I think it will allow a higher volume.
Up-front Ping.fm does a very good job of visually defining what I am calling the "sinks" - the sites that will display your information, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Wordpress and your chat status. However, they do not mention the ways or vehicles you can use to "source" the status updates as prominently. It is pretty obvious you can do that on their site, but people like myself have come to expect SMS updates, etc. Setting up the links to the external systems was very
easy. This is the main function and it worked beautifully, even with the extra tabs opening it was simple. I guess the other goal of advertising the sinks and the sources with logos was achieved - but the layout did not lend itself to me thinking "Oh, these are the sources - the ways I can originate content" in the same way that it helped for setting up the links.
I then saw and went to their local 'Help' page - about "Posting Tips". That really opened my eyes to the intended usage of the feature. On my way through the help section they told me about m.ping.fm for mobile access. I then for testing purposes set up an iGoogle widget (although I am averse to using Google for privacy reasons) and thought that was OK. I have to come back and look at other ways to originate content with other "applications". I should perhaps set up a developer account with them so I can embed a ping.fm form on my personal web site
(protected access of course).
The trigger system they have is pretty simple to set up, but the value proposition was a little hidden until you could explain the ways you can originate content. I set up four triggers - for blogging to wordpress, for "tweet" silly and social status updates to the Facebook and Twitter accounts, for professional "status" updates to those and LinkedIn as well, and for micro-blogging "notes".
Having thought a bit more, it is useful that they categorize the interactions into "status updates", "blogging" and "micro-blogging". I think this is fine to start with, and all that most require. I think as time goes on it could be useful to allow extension of these as services
out there grow.
One last thought - there is a separation between configuring what your applications can do an defining triggers. For example, if you set up
Facebook for everything except micro-blogging, what happens if you already set up a trigger with micro-blogging to Facebook? The crux of this is it becomes a verification game. To avoid this, it might be useful to have a high level "what happens to my messages?" page, that says for each default and each trigger "Messages sent with trigger #status will be sent to ............." that allows in-page editing. If they also included information about the default sources they provide, that would assist discovery of the features too: e.g. "Messages can be sent to ". "Messages can be sent from your mobile phone by browsing to m.ping.fm".
Overall, I guess I'll see how this blog post turns out.
Edit: It lost the picture attachment...hmmm.