I get asked that question a lot, and variations thereof: how do you have time for Twitter and Facebook, how do you find time to read so many books? If you’re reading this post, you probably get asked the question too, since odds are you read many other blogs in addition to mine.
My answers used to tend toward the self-deprecatory, as if I were making an admission of guilt. Well, see, Scott does all the laundry and most of the cooking. This is at once a true statement and a completely worthless one. It conveys no useful information. It’s true that Scott and I—both of us work-at-home writers—have a well defined division of labor that puts the laundry and cooking solidly in his chore column. But I handle the bulk of the homeschooling (and even during our most unschoolish times that means a lot of planning and creative focus—arguably MORE so during our most unschoolish times), the considerable clerical and therapeutic tasks involved with nurturing a special needs child, the bills, the taxes, the scheduling, the medical and dental appointments, the overseeing of the housework, the shoe-shopping and sundry other tasks necessary to the running of a household and the raising of a large family. Deflecting the question with an explanation of what I don’t do isn’t really an answer. Or, to put it another way, Scott does all the laundry and most of the cooking, and yet he manages to read a staggering number of blogs and books too. More even than I do. (more…)
You had me at hello.
Could we move my birthday to April this year?
I’ve long been aware that I am somewhat sloppy in my approach to link-saving and -sharing. I “like,” I share, I tweet, I deem certain items Delicious, I upload to Flickr, I send to Facebook. I seldom Stumble, but recently I began to Tumbl. I log the books I’ve read at GoodReads and am slowly cataloging the books I own at LibraryThing. And those are just the social media I use regularly. The number of things I’ve tried out—well, a free Evernote account would scarcely accommodate the list.
It may be a bit of overkill, but the thing is, I really do use all these media in different ways. Lately I’ve been trying to streamline and simplify how I use them, and I feel like things are starting to run pretty efficiently.
• Delicious. In the past I’ve used this social bookmarking site sporadically to share links here on the blog. The Postalicious plug-in makes it super easy to autopost links. As of this week, I am keeping my ongoing books-I’d-like-to-read list at Delicious as well. When I read a post about an intriguing book, I save it to Delicious with a TBR tag. I should have started this practice a long time ago.
• Tumblr. While I use Delicious for links I want to share with other people (and the TBR list), my newish Tumblr account is a catch-all just for me. After that frustrating lapse the other week when I couldn’t remember where I read an article I very much wanted to refer to again, I decided I needed a journal for my online reading. I keep my book log so faithfully, but what about the zillions of posts and articles I read on the web? Enter Tumblr. I’m trying to be good about tagging so I can find things again, and I’m trying to cultivate a habit of Tumbling everything of substance I read online. Everything! It’s a tall order.
(And why not just bookmark posts via my browser or Google toolbar? Because the bookmark lists quickly become too long and unwieldy. Tumblr, with tags, is faster.)
So, in a nutshell:
Delicious for links I want to share on the blog, and for the TBR list.
Tumblr for a record of my online reading.
GoodReads for a record of the books I’ve read.
LibraryThing to catalog the books I own. (But really, I haven’t taken a whack at this giant task in months. It’s not a priority.)
Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family. Say what you will, I love Facebook. Today, out of the blue, I heard from a high-school friend I lost touch with after graduation, but whom I’ve never forgotten. She played Sally in a school production of Snoopy, the Musical. Whenever my kids play that soundtrack—which is often—I think of Lisa. Amazing singer. What a delight it was to find a note from her on my Facebook page today. Facebook, I heart you.
Twitter for quick recording of funny kid moments, quick info-searching (as when I had a question about garam masala powder last night and within seconds of tweeting the question, found myself in conversation with a very friendly author of Indian cookbooks), and participating in dynamic conversations among the various communities I belong to: writers, homeschoolers, booklovers, etc.
Flickr for the easiest way to share photos with family and friends.
Google Reader Shared Items for blog posts I want to bring to other people’s attention—this autoposts to my sidebar.
Related post: A Day in the Life of My iPod Touch
I love Firefox. Have I mentioned that I love Firefox? I was browsing the add-ons this morning and found some good, good stuff. 1-Click Weather, for example: a handly little extension that puts current-weather icons in the status bar at the bottom of your screen. Here, I’ll show you:
How handy is that?
I’m also quite pleased with the del.icio.us add-on, which I should have installed a long time ago. It puts two small icons in the top bar of your browser, right next to the window where you type in a URL. The first icon takes you to your del.icio.us bookmarks, and the second one ("tag") allows you to quickly add a new page to your bookmarks. What I especially like is that the tag page pops up in a new window, saving you the trouble of clicking back to the page you were reading. I am using del.icio.us more and more for tagging articles I want to come back to, post about, etc.
But the coolest find of the morning? StumbleUpon, which many of you probably already know about, but I only vaguely recall having heard of before. (Here’s the link to its Firefox add-on page.) StumbleUpon adds another little bar to the top of your browser, under your bookmarks toolbar. At first I didn’t like that at all (since it makes the text area of my browser window just that much smaller), but after playing around with it for a while, I’m totally sold, and here’s why.
When you click on the Stumble icon in that toolbar, you are instantly taken to a random website. When you set up your free StumbleUpon account, you can select categories for these random sites to come from. The sites are recommended by other StumbleUpon users. You can click a thumbs-up icon ("I like this site") or a thumbs-down one ("don’t like it"), or do neither and just go to another page. Okay, thus far, StumbleUpon is just a websurfing tool, right? But what I LOVE about it is the little "Send to" icon in the toolbar. When you click on that, a little pop-up window lets you quickly and easily email the link for the page you’re viewing. No cut-and-pasting. I want to share a site with Scott? Click! It’s on its way.
I LOVE this feature.
It works for any page you’re on, not just sites you have "stumbled upon." Likewise, you can thumbs-up (or down) any website you are visiting. Since the StumbleUpon toolbar is in your browser window all the time (remember, that’s what I didn’t like about it at first?), you can recommend or email any page, any time, very conveniently.
And there’s some pretty interesting stuff to be stumbled upon, I must say. I gave my first (and so far, only) thumbs-up to this awesome site. I have to say awesome like a kid because I am that excited about it. It’s called Earth Album, and it’s the marriage of Google Maps and Flickr. You’re shown a world map, and when you click on any area, a little slide-show bar appears at the top of the screen, with Flickr photos of the region in question. I can’t wait to show this to my children. It’s going to be the perfect compliment to our Journey North project.
What are your favorite Firefox add-ons? What other awesome hacks am I missing?