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Posts tagged ‘Blogging’

The Feed: Stylized Google Reader for iPad

If the iPad is the best way to view the web, then The Feed may just be the best way to browse your RSS feeds.

Using a highly stylistic interface, The Feed pulls RSS feeds from your Google Reader account. Unread posts stand out with what we’ll call an “RSS burnt orange” edge, while read posts turn gray and show a bite mark.

View your feeds rendered with full text and images, or toggle the view to only show a snippet from each post. Either way, The Feed manages to display both perspectives well, allowing you to choose the setting that fits your mood.

Your feeds are organized into stacks of paper, which is unlike anything we’ve seen. Interface designers typically use badges to indicate the number of items remaining. But The Feed uses a different approach. It tosses out badges and simply uses proportionately deep stacks of paper to indicate how many unread posts are remaining. After all, when it comes to things like feeds (versus unread email messages, for example), concrete numbers aren’t really necessary. For The Feed, an indication like “only a few unread posts remaining” or “a lot of unread posts remaining” is really the most vital metric. It’s this kind of fundamental interface decision making that surprised us in The Feed, and it feels right at home on your iPad.

The Feed is completely free from the App Store. We’re willing to call it a must-have for any iPad owner.

Crowdbooster: Bring Analytics to Twitter

Even with so many companies investing in social media, we still struggle to make sense of our data. You may tag your links with utm_source and utm_content to measure best performing Tweets. Or you may run recurring media sentiment analyses to see how people are responding to your brand online. There’s plenty of space for these tools to evolve, and Crowdbooster may be the next step.

Crowdbooster, now in private beta, brings analytics-driven insight to your Twitter account. It goes beyond tweets and frequency to allow you to uncover new ideas on how people are responding to your messages. The service plots your tweets against retweets and people reached to identify your most magnetic messages. Crowdbooster can also track your activity and your followers’ activity and actually recommend the best timeframes for when to tweet. Seriously. Paid members can generate custom reports and export them to PDFs and Excel. Ultimately, Crowdbooster tells marketers what’s working and what’s not working in a matter of minutes.

The twittersphere is not by any means lacking tools for people to plugin and use. Ever since Twitter launched their API, script kiddies and hobbyists have been looking for any excuse to build an app. Fortunately, Crowdbooster provides real business value, and it’s powerful enough to make marketers wonder how they ran their campaigns without it.

Crowdbooster is available in private beta at the moment. Be sure to mention “MiniSprout.com” when you sign-up.

TinyLetter: Write and Recruit a Following

We all subscribe to email newsletters, but TinyLetter makes is easy for us to create our own and gather a following.

When you visit the site, you’re instantly given the option to pick a username and then decide whether you want people to subscribe for free or for a cost per month. Then, drive people to your custom tinyletter page, which is nothing more than a single field to submit an email address. That’s it.

Newsletters have been used for the purpose of broadcasting a message since email was invented. I think the verdict is still out on whether paid email subscriptions will reach critical mass. At the moment, they exist, but they are severely limited based on low demand. Even popular management consulting firms that have charged for email subscriptions for years, like McKinsey & Company, are lifting the paywall.

Paid content or not, TinyLetter is the perfect solution for people looking to put together a list of subscribers. Their front page includes an alphabetical directory for everyone who has ever registered.

Mini Sprout has always focused on providing young startups with the tools to grow their customer base. Services like TinyLetter are sure to be a part of anyone’s marketing plan.

Boarrd: Everyone’s Personal Dashboard

Who doesn’t want their own personal executive dashboard? It could contain anything; your inbox, to-do list, favorite RSS feeds, Twitter status updates, data feeds piping in to charts, upcoming meeting info, basic weather, anything.

Boarrd is a free web app that allows us to demand our own dashboard. Using a very slick interface, users grab different widgets and shuffle them around the screen. At the moment, the service is limited to RSS feeds, weather, calendar events, clock, weather, and Flickr photos. Considering the potential, we wouldn’t call those options limiting at all. Each dashboard will be completely different by user. And users can alter components as their needs change.

What’s most impressive about Boarrd is that it was thrown together in 48-hours as part of Rails Rumble MMX. It’s very well polished and just about ready for primetime.

To be a serious contender in this space, we’d like to see the dashboard’s layout change when viewed in a mobile browser. We also can’t help wonder what would happen if developers were able to deploy their own widgets to the community. Either way, we love this app.

WPTouch: Mobile Platform For Your Blog

As more users access the web through mobile, bloggers will need to consider how mobile devices display their sites. WPTouch is a WordPress plugin that simply and instantly creates a WAP version of your blog for viewing. Enable the plugin, and mobile users are automatically directed to a new page when they visit.