Let’s face it – social networking is time consuming. I believe part of the reason for the meteoric rise in social networking these past few years has to do with a miserable job market coupled with the fact that social is free and people are cutting the cable cord. But even with unlimited tim,e managing video sites like YouTube and Vimeo as well as Flickr, a blog, Twitter, Facebook, email and other networks is a herculean task requiring you to take your mental vitamins.
And if you use social for work the situation gets more challenging as your employer likely wants you to manage social while you do everything else like manage CPC and CPM ad budgets as well as perhaps PR, road shows, events, white papers and webinars.
So any tool which makes life easier is welcomed by virtually everyone and Alternion is such a service as it allows connectivity to 220+ social networks at once. I have been using it today and have found it a great way to interact with a number of the contacts I have on various networks.
What is best about the program is its simple timeline view.
Yes you can use Zite or FlipBoard on a mobile device such as an iPad but if you are sifting through hundreds or thousands of messages at a time – it is really not efficient to use these programs as they sacrifice speed for snazzy graphics. But using them on a tablet is a more immersive experience and more enjoyable.
But back to oddly named Alternion, there is integration with a dizzying amount of networks like Stack Overflow, Strands, Trulia and virtually all email systems you can think of which support POP3 or IMAP.
If I have to give the service room for improvement it is that I couldn’t get many of the services to work. I tried connecting to the Exchange server in my office with no luck. I used the same settings as my laptop even. Likewise for Gmail.
There needs to be an easier process and better explanations.
I imagined the daily real estate listing emails you get from Trulia could be integrated into the system but this is not the case. It turns out if you ask a question on the service you can subscribe to an RSS feed of the answers in Alternion. So I asked a question, spent 15 minutes finding out how to get an RSS feed, entered it into Alternion and it didn’t accept it. It gave me an error.
So in a nutshell, unless you are patient, this service may not be ready for primetime for all 220+ networks. Sure, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter connected as quickly as a couple of rabbits in springtime. But for anything else I had to struggle.
Still, it’s free and useful and will no doubt get better (Alternion developers please read the above carefully) I do recommend the service – as sometimes the fleas come with dog. And I am sure sooner or later the company will add the requisite chemical coated, flea-repelling collar.