Today we’ve got a bunch of great services online, some blog related, others just tools that help us in our everyday life. If we really wanted to, we could have more or less everything accessible, or at least replaced, by online tools and services. Think about it: e-mail and calendars have already moved online permanently for a lot of people, and nowadays the office apps are getting decent, you’ve got collaboration software, and even an online version of Photoshop! Add your bookmarks, web radio and music, online movies and TV, there’s a lot.
Why not share it? And give your site more life and flair at the same time?
Share Your Life
That way, colleagues and friend can keep up with your schedule, and you can link it easily.
If you’re using Google Calendar, and have public content in it, you can add it to your site using simple embed code. That way, colleagues and friend can keep up with your schedule, and you can link it easily. Other online calendars, including applications you install yourself, will probably let you do this as well, but my 100% non-scientific research shows that the Google app is the most used one.
Likewise, you can help people find you in the physical world, using Google Maps for instance. That way, driving directions are always available online, with zooming functionality and everything. Embed a map including important places on your blog, maybe with restaurant tips and directions to good bars? Or just get a map showing where your offices are located, either way will do. You can even do stuff with the street view these days!
Add Your Online Existence
I personally advise against displaying microblogging content as regular content
Do you Twitter or Jaiku, or perhaps Pownce? Why not share that content on your site? Bloggers can use one of the numerous plugins available, including the popular Twitter Tools for WordPress, although I personally advise against displaying microblogging content as regular content. It’s better to put one of the available badges (for Twitter and Jaiku) in the sidebar, showing your current status, or why not just pull the latest updates via RSS? Better yet, mash them up with Yahoo Pipes and serve your microblogging content live, using RSS.
Bookmarks are great, and you should share your finds. The most popular way to store bookmarks online today is del.icio.us, and you can of course get your latest additions for your site, or pull it with a plugin or via RSS. The latter goes for all good online bookmarking services.
Speaking of RSS, why not share your list with everyone? Either just link to the OPML file, which can be imported into any good RSS reader, or to a public showing. Google Reader users can display a clip of their shared items on their blogs, or just link the public page. If you’re a Bloglines user, you can create your own blogroll badge, or you can link to a public page there as well. I’m sure other online RSS readers have similar solutions.
My Leisure Time
Why not share what your do on your free time, for leisure? Using last.fm, you can tell everyone what you’re listening to, and even display it with a nifty little widget. Or why not start your own last.fm music channel, playing good music only? If you, like me, are in the Spotify beta, you can link your playlist, which is more or less the same as last.fm but cooler, and only for us privileged ones…!
We all love YouTube, so why not slip in a link to your YouTube favorites, or even a playlist? There are several ways to get YouTube on your site. Sure, you can always post the videos you like on your site, but that’s not always appropriate, and besides, if you’re an avid YouTube watcher then it would men a ridiculous amount of YouTube videos, right? Link your channel!
What about Hulu, South Park Studios, Comedy Central and such? Well, they just don’t offer anything besides embedding videos, and sometimes not even that. But you can always link your favorite shows, right?
What About Privacy?
Be sure to consider the privacy aspect of sharing your online life carefully
Obviously, there are numerous ways to let people into your online life. The question is, do you want to do that with everything? Maybe your bookmarks are private, or perhaps you don’t want to share your schedule with everyone? Also, do you want to let people know where to find you in the physical world?
Ask yourself these questions. You certainly shouldn’t share anything online that matters a lot to you, because it could get exploited and leave you in a fix in the future. Be sure to consider the privacy aspect of sharing your online life carefully, before starting to embed and share content from these great web services (and others) on your site.
That being said, it is certainly nice to get automatic content for your blog, for instance, just by using a service you would be utilizing anyway!