Monday, 18 August 2014

Which digital tools do you use to make your life easier?

I've been thinking this week about all the apps, tools and plug-ins that I use to make my digital life easier. I use a variety of tools to catch up with digital conversations, save things for later and to make sure I don't miss blogposts.  I also use them to manage my own digital footprint so I can update blogs and twitter when I am away from my desk and laptop.

There are lots of options out there so I want to collect a round up of what people use and for what. I'm particularly interested in hearing from researchers.

98% of the tools I use are free and I am reluctant to pay for something new without a really good review first.

New tools are launched on a what seems like daily basis and older apps and tools get changed, removed and updated frequently. Here's a run down of what I use (and for what). I would be really interested to hear from others about what they use and how it makes your life easier!

- Twitter - I use twitter.com from my desktop and laptop and the twitter app from my phone. I don't schedule tweets. I use favourites and lists to make sure I don't miss tweets from people that I am interested in and save posts and links to read at a later time (although I very rarely go back and read things that I have favourited). I have started to look at using tweetdeck as an easier way of managing multiple twitter accounts. I have also dabbled in hootsuite but to be honest I found it made my life more difficult rather than easier (sometimes too many options is a bad thing).

- Storify - really useful for capturing twitter conversations and for sharing them with others. Super useful for capturing live tweets as they happen at conferences.

- Facebook - I just use the facebook app on my phone. I mostly use facebook for personal posts but I do manage a few pages and do that via the pages app.

- Updating my blogs - I use blogger and wordpress. I use their apps so I can update on the go. I find both apps a little tricky to use from my ipad and iphone as writing isn't easy and editing is even more difficult. They are both useful for uploading photos direct to a blog from my phone and jotting down notes which I can then turn into a blog post at a later date.

- ifft - if this then that. A brilliant tool to automate your online activity. I used ifft to automatically collate guest pictures from my wedding! I saw someone instagraming something on the day and felt a little bit smug knowing that it would be waiting for my on my flickr account to look at the following day!

- Reading Blogs - I use bloglovin on my ipad. I read a mix of blogs from cooking, design, gardening, beauty (yup) and science blogs. I like the simple design of bloglovin so I can get to the content I want to read easily. I've tried other apps but find that nicer designs can detract from finding the content I want, quickly.

- Capturing interesting stuff and writing notes - I use evernote. I have a plugin for Chrome so I can screenshot and save pages from my desktop and laptop. I also have Everclip and Evernote on my iphone/ipad. You do need to pay for these but they are totally worth it. I am awful at categorising things properly so the search option within my saved clippings and notes in evernote is a godsend.

- File sharing/saving - I use dropbox (but it is full and I don't want to pay for storage). I use google drive to share and back up files I am working on (if they are in a format not suitable for evernote). I am terrible at backing up and deleting things so my laptop, phone and ipad all have full storage (help!)

Please share what you use, for what and how you use it. I expect this page to evolve and keep updating as I will undoubtedly start using new tools and apps as I change how I navigate online and also as new ones appear!

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