We all read, view and find great things on the web, and sharing that is the best part of it all. I use many mechanisms to share stuff I find and wanted to do a quick review of those tools and the “effectiveness” of those tools.
There are 4 primary criteria that I use for my sharing:
1. How easy is it to share? If its too cumbersome, (like cutting and pasting, sending email is) then it has a barrier to my own adoption of it.
2. What is the timeliness of the information? Keep it in the research area? Or news that has a half life of a firefly? The more permanent something is I tend to keep it in my own sharing area (like del.icio.us) and the more ephemeral, I tend to use mechanisms that are here and now (like Twitter)
3. What is the reach? How many people can I get to share it with? Put another way, if I want a few people to view this will they do it using the medium I sent it to them.
4. What item I want to share? Most cases its a cool article of web page or a blog post. In other cases its a photo (still on a web page). The most difficult items to share have been files and documents and of course calendar items.
Here are my results:
1. For the most easy way & blog posts to share web pages: del.icio.us, Google Share and Share on facebook are the best, in that order. I say in that order, because they are all the same in terms of ease of use, but effectiveness to my audience, del.icio.us is the best. Google reader sharing is also good, but it is not as effective in terms of reach. Maybe because I have not publicized it enough.
2. For timeliness of information, nothing beats Twitter. My del.icio.us tags lag in terms of the people that view them but the results of sharing in Twitter are great. If I have something that is very topical and good for about half a day or 10 hours, and useless after that, I use twitter.
3. Nothing beats email for reach though. One because its personal, two because of its smaller audience set and three because it “comes to you” instead of you “going to get” it. It does have some “lack of timeliness” to it was my perception, but I am surprised by how many people email back within 1 hour of me sending something to share.
4. For Blog posts I get best results from Google reader share. For web pages its Stumble Upon followed by del.icio.us. For documents and PowerPoint (I know a few people that will hate me for this, but email’s still preferred by the people I want to share it with).
Here are more details:
Pros: Quick, easy and fast. Plus all your “friends” get a mini-feed subscription, so its non intrusive. Most of the items I want to share are with people that I care about anyway, so this “ closed wall“. To get this just log into facebook.com. On the right nav you will see “Post on facebook” or “share on facebook”. If you drag and drop it to your browser tool bar,, it makes it easy to click on that link each time you see a page you want to share. You can add your notes to it also.
Cons: “Closed wall” – this is also a negative. If you are not my “friend” you dont get my feeds. Most new blog readers are not my friends yet. Its also not very timely. Finally it has a tendency to “overload” my friends with stuff. You dont also get RSS feeds out to your shared items easily.
Pros: Similar to Share on facebook, Google Share allows you to click on a link (on the toolbar) and immediately add comments as needed. Its simple and a BIG plus is that you can give an RSS feed to your shared items. Google Reader feed sharing (or link blog as Scoble calls it) is simple and it has a keystroke (Shift S) on my blog reader to share with other folks. Google Feed reader also provides a “widget” ( see on my blog) which makes it easy to share with people I dont know yet.
Cons: Still not adopted by most of the people I want to share with., probably because I have not promoted it well. Also because its not integrated into my blog feed (which is what I’ve done with my del.icio.us feeds). Google Share also has far fewer people (people on my Google shared list is very minimal) using it (with del.icio.us there are over 500 people that “tag” things they want to share with me).
Pros: For sharing with great presence, nothing beats del.icio.us. Lots of users, many items to discover and social tagging makes it easy to share and also get shared items. Its also among the easiest – like Google Share and Share on facebook I have a tag icon on my toolbar.
Cons: Not very timely (but that’s expected) and the number of people sometimes overwhelms you. Too many items to view so I tend to ignore a great many.
4. Tumblr: To be honest I am new to sharing on Tumblr but I have a sense this will get some traction. Most of my venture capital friends are beginning to use this.
Pros: Photos, images, Video, blog posts – this is the best way if you share different media formats.
Cons: Very few people that use it still, but the early adopters still maintain their blogs, so this is yet another thing to update.
5. StumbleUpon: I like it to find new items and new websites. Its apparently the fastest growing and is doing well since the eBay acquisition.
Pros: Great to find stuff that others have shared.
Cons: Its not as socially adept – meaning that I get more things from random folks, and certainly not “targeted” to meet my specific needs.
Pros: Quick and timely. Its the fastest to share and easiest. It has about 10% of the audience I want to reach so I get the initial reaction quickly.
Cons: I hate to have to cut and paste it the website / blog site. Guy Kawasaki has apparently used the Twitter API to setup automatic feeds into his twitter channel, which is cool. Very few of the folks I really share these items are on twitter.
7. Good old fashioned Email
Pros: Gets the best results for actually people viewing stuff. I have been surprised by its timeliness especially with the people I send it to. Its easier also to attach stuff like PowerPoint, other files, etc.
Cons: I have to enter the name (email) of every person I want to share with – which wastes time. Very difficult for me to go back and review what I sent to whom.
8. Weekly aggregation post: Jeremiah does this weekly for Social Media news. The basic concept is to review all items for the week and read over 100’s of items and put them in a single post and give them context. The best I have seen doing this
Pros: Single way to share lots of items.
Cons: Takes too much time to do and also is not very timely for both the people receiving it or me to gather it over the week.
If I had only one way to share I would still choose email though. Followed by del.icio.us