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Using mobiles to update blogs and websites
Submitted by adam on Wed, 09/09/2009 - 03:56.
Sometimes I just want to make a quick news update to my organisation's website but I may not be near a computer, can I do it with my mobile phone?
There is enormous potential in using mobile phones to update blogs and websites; unfortunately it is still fairly challenging to do, although this is likely to change in coming years.
Some internet-based blogging systems such as Blogger, Orkut and Livejournal have specially designed mobile-friendly versions which will allow you to update your blog via your mobile phone. These are probably the best and most user-friendly avenues for keeping your blog up-to-date via a mobile phone.
If you already have a Wordpress blog there are currently two Mobile phone applications for accessing and updating your blog from your mobile phone. These are currently only two versions available for: Blackberrys and Apple Iphones. For Typepad blogs, you can download the Typepad Mobile application. This unfortunately is also only available for a limited number of high-end mobile phone models (typically smartphones as explained below).
Top Tip: Although almost any phone with GPRS or 3G (mobile internet access technology) connectivity is able to connect directly to websites like Blogger or Orkut, there are only a limited number of mobile phones that actually enable you upload pictures. If this is an important consideration for your organisation, then getting a smart phone with full internet capabilities is probably your best option.
Flickr, Facebook, Youtube and Myspace all have mobile-friendly versions of their websites so you can upload your videos and images straight from your mobile phone onto your profile/group for others to see.
But my organisation has numerous web profiles and pages, it's very time-consuming to update them all individually?
To do this you need to use an internet service which creates a mashup between all your sites and allows you to update them all together, all at once.
Try out Ping.fm. Registration is completely free and it allows you to identify your different social networking accounts (eg Facebook, Twitter and a Wordpress blog) and then update all of them simultaneously from your mobile phone. For example when you update your Facebook status, the same update instantly goes to your Twitter profile and your blog. Ping.fm does all the hard work for you.
This service currently supports 40 different social networking sites (although it is adding more all the time) and it allows you to send text, images and will soon allow videos too.
You do not pay for this service, you just pay your usual mobile internet rates.
A similar mashup service is Fring also free to download and use. Fring allows you to merge all your contacts from social networks such as Skype, Google Talk, Facebook, Twitter (and more) in one complete profile for yourself. What this means is that before if you wanted to make a skype call or send an instant chat message via Google Chat to someone, you would have to open both those applications independently. Fring allows you to chat, phone and interact with all your contacts from one site and again, straight from your mobile phone.
It is currently supported in over 200 countries, only for a limited number of handsets but this is due to change shortly. The application is available to download via SMS from the Fring website.
Top Tip: Both these services are particularly useful when trying to spread information rapidly to a great number of people.
A very popular service for individuals and organisations is Twitter which can be used via a computer or mobile phone. It allows users to send 'updates' (text-based posts called tweets) up to 140 characters long via SMS (text message), instant messaging, e-mail, the Twitter website or any application that can connect to these services. This is a very effective tool to communicate with a number of people at once who will probably have mobile phones but may not have access to a computer and internet.
Twitter has been used for a range of advocacy purposes – for example, Egyptian human rights activists have used it to let people know whether they are safe or have been arrested (http://bit.ly/EIRA0) and Iranians used it to draw attention to and publicise protest events after the 2009 election (http://bit.ly/indBH).
'#hash tags' provide a way for people using Twitter to search for updates that have a common topic. If you are at an event, you can tell people to use a specific #hash tag so that all of their updates will be aggregated. This may also happen more organically, as it did when people began using the tag #iranelection after the 2009 elections in Iran, or #hiroshima to mark the anniversary of the day an atomic bomb was dropped on Japan by the US.
Twitter's great disadvantage at the moment is that using it via your mobile phone will incur the cost of an international text message unless you are in the US, the UK, Canada or India. There is some concern about privacy and authentication methods on Twitter. You are advised to be cautious about putting sensitive information out over Twitter. For further information see this blog.SpyWare.Guide resource.