Exploring Social Media: Time for a Web App Matching Service

Filed as Features on March 4, 2009 11:49 pm

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Exploring Social Media article series badgeLloyd Budd of A Fool’s Wisdom has asked a very important question in this economy and techno-world we currently live in:

Working on a small project with a friend is a great opportunity to check out tools in other parts of the web development stack. I’ve been interested in trying out some of the software project management services and software.

…Likely the best approach for this project would be to first identify our needs and wants and then work through the available web services to find the closest matches.

Like Lloyd, are you stymied as you look at all the available web services, especially in the fast growing open source market, that will meet your needs.

Matching Need With Web App

There are so many to choose from today, but which ones do you need or even want to use. In addition to open source projects and web apps, what about the proprietory ones which are free? Which ones do you choose? Is there anywhere you can go to find out which tools are best suited for your blogging and business needs?

I’ve been exploring social media tools, most of which are open source and free and/or feature a strong API for third party options, including recently working with future tweets with TweetLater and a lot of articles about Twitter and social events and fundraisers around it like Twestivals.

When I researched TweetLater, and even while using it, I stayed on the alert for a better replacement from it’s competition, eager to ensure I’m using the best tool available. So far, I haven’t found better, but I’m watching. Aren’t you?

Sometimes I feel like it’s the old story of the grass is greener when it comes to web apps. Dissatisfied with what you are using, there’s another one around the corner that’s better. Or is there? How would you know? Where would you look? Maybe it’s not better, just the fad of the moment.

With social media tools like , there are hundreds of different applications to choose from. Some help you tweet better, faster, and from a variety of sources, other helps you monitor who is tweeting what, when, and what you should be tracking and paying attention to. Others help you find more tweeple to follow, and others tell you about those you need to unfollow.

Yet, a very successful business entrepreneur friend of mine is still using Twitter from their web page, without using TweetDeck, Twhirl, or any of the other web or mobile Twitter management services. She doesn’t know which one to try, and the web page is now familiar. While she jumps off cliffs in her business, she doesn’t want to try a new system. Why change? It works for her.

Does it?

There is better out there. I can’t imagine using Twitter from their home page. ARGH. I’d go nuts. It takes too long and is too cumbersome waiting for page loads and clicking everywhere. Still, change is tough, and how would you know which one is really the right one for you and your needs?

And if there was a free service that told you which social media tools and web apps would work best for your particular needs, would you take advantage of it?

Building a Web App Matching Service

person exploring social media and web app optionsThere are dating and matchmaking services, so why not a Web App Matching Service? Put in your list of needs and get a list in return of the various social media tools and apps you need to get the job done.

What Lloyd is asking about is specifically open source software project management web services, but his point is valid. We need to find a way to match our needs with the web apps available.

He wants an open source web app. Right now, his criteria is basically “open source” and “web based.” Would it matter what code ran it? Would it have to be PHP and MySQL, something he may be familiar with? Or can it be anything else? What features would he require? Privacy or transparent visibility of content? Plugins or add-on capabilities and options? Is he willing to pay for it? Is he willing to use it for free with the understanding that support would cost?

There are a lot of questions that need to be answered if such a matching service was available. What do you think would need to be known in order to create a web app matching service?

Is it possible to build such a web-app-to-need service? Why not?

Think of the possibilities.

Right now, the only way to find out which social media tools and web apps you need to function in this modern online world is through word of mouth, reviews, and recommendations. You hit search engines, ask friends, attend conferences, and keep your eyes and ears open for possibilities, but this doesn’t always work. Until you know you need it, how would you know to look for it?

At WordCamp Denver this past weekend, Ben Huh presented a program on building a scalable business model using free, open source programs such as , Skype, , and others. While some of these are clearly obvious, a lot of social media tools and web apps aren’t. He didn’t come into his business start up knowing which tools to use. He researched his options, searched around, asked people, and experimented. I wonder how much time it took to find the right tools, and how much time that hunt, trial and error took when he should have been focusing on his business.

Which ones should you choose and how would you know which ones are the best to invest your time and energy into?

A good web app matching service would ask you the right questions with check box answers to mark “all that apply” to help narrow down your search and identify your needs, matching the results with the appropriate programs.

What would a web service matching program look like? How would they match needs with services? There are a lot of things to consider, and the time is right for such a service. Would you use one? Could you build one?

And, as Lloyd said, of course such a service would have to be open source.

Exploring Social Media Series

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