Well, I’ve been changing my web design approach lately and I thought I’d share. There are a LOT of really great web 2.0 and social networking sites out on the web these days. And if you haven’t really jumped on board, you are probably thinking the exact same thing I did before I jumped in. You’re thinking, “How could I possibly find the time to update all these sites, keep my website fresh and still have a life?” Well, my solution is to never duplicate information. Instead of having photos, blogs, bios and bookmarks scattered all across the internet, I picked a tool for each and linked them all together. Here is what I currently use:
- Flickr – Photo/Video storage with fantastic APIs
- Delicious – Online social bookmarking
- Facebook – Micro-Blogging and social network
- WordPress – Blogging engine
You can also add Twitter into the mix and set it up to replace your Facebook status, but for now I’m keeping it simple. Now for a little more detail into how I linked all these sites together to minimize duplicate data.
In Facebook, you can import data from all your favorite sites from the page where your “wall” lives. Find the down arrow on the right, underneath the tabs for Wall, Info, Photos, etc. and select Import. Just add your favorite sites, and they will stream right onto your wall and out to all your friends.
In WordPress, I used a plugin called “WordPress Flickr Manager” from tgardner.net. It handles all the Flickr imports and coding for you and was very easy to install. WordPress has many other widgets for diplaying other social media, but I am sticking with Flickr for my purpose.
On my website, I used a fantastic little PHP include called SimplePie. Since all of the mentioned sites have an RSS feed, you can use SimplePie to display them as HTML anywhere in your site and make it look however you want. You could use fancy APIs, but why go to the trouble if all you want to do is show the latest information from each? To separate the different sets of photos, I used Flickr’s tagging.
And to make all this even less cumbersome, there are several ways to integrate these sites with your devices. Each of these sites have a great iPhone application for updating on the go. Flickr has an uploadr application to make adding and resizing photos as simple as drag and drop, and Delicious has an easy to use Firefox plugin to make bookmarking your favorite sites just a simple click away.
If you have found this useful, or have ideas of your own, let me know by either leaving a comment or sending me a message through my website. I’d love to hear from you.