Getting a Grip on the Online You

Bari Samad's picture

Do you manage a website or blog, with features such as an e-newsletter and a public calendar of events? Related to that website, do you also manage presences on external services like meetup.com and on multiple social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest? If so, chances are you have scratched your head at least once and wondered about a unified website.

Just as managing an online community is more than handling a Twitter account, getting a unified web presence that pulls together content from a variety of sources can be a non-trivial effort. So having a service that does it for you automatically can look mighty appealing.

Flavors.me does just that. And it does it pretty elegantly. The Net2 Local organizers in Manchester, UK have recently used the flavors.me platform to showcase their work in the local non-profit sector. Check it out at #mcrn2.

Distinguishing itself from many services that help you quickly create a simple web page or site, services like flavors.me are built on the strength of automated “social aggregation”, i.e. they combine static or custom content with robust, and often custom-configured streams of your social media content.

There are other players in this market (see below) but flavors.me would be my current choice, mainly because of the great features you can get for a modest price.

While you can go the free route, as with most free services there are limitations. However, $20 per year (less than $2 per month) is a pretty reasonable price to pay for the premium flavors.me features. Here is a short list:

  • 17 Layouts
  • 22 Fonts
  • 35 Automated Social Content Feeds
  • Slick Display Options for Social Content
  • Mobile Optimization
  • No Coding Required
  • Analytics

Other Players

Alternion is another option you can consider for this type of socially aggregated public presence. Acquired in 2010 by AOL, there is also About.me. Take a look at Follr, which is more geared for personal (profile) websites. If your needs are more complex and business oriented, Sidengo and Squarespace are worth a look as well, although these may not have as many social aggregation options as flavors.me.

Key Features

While each service will have some common features, there will be differences in functionality and options for customizations, layout and presentation. Paid or premium accounts will almost always get you more sophisticated functionality and designs than free versions. Whichever route you go, be sure to map your needs against the available features and options.

Here are some key features to consider:

  • Custom Domain - Allows you to use your own domain for the website
  • Social Services - Gets actual content from your social media accounts
  • Design Options - Meets your aesthetic and business needs
  • Customization - Includes custom content, designs and functionality
  • Mobile - Layouts and designs offered are mobile optimized
  • Contact Forms and Data Capture - Types forms possible and data storage
  • Analytics - Has integrated Google Analytics in addition to its own

Less May Really be More

All this is not to say that, because social aggregation tools make it easier to manage multiple online identities, you should get yourself on even more social platforms. Unless of course you are saying something completely original in each place!

Each online presence should be carefully chosen based on your or your organization’s needs, resources and goals. But if you already have a handful of online presences and need a kind of “public dashboard” that will pull all this cross-platform content automatically and present it elegantly, take a look at flavors.me and some of the other services listed above.

In the age of information overload, less really may be more. A high quality content stream that focuses on developing your unique personality and identity may in the end, be more of a personal or professional asset then being just another voice clamoring for attention in an ever-increasing online crowd that seems to be everywhere.

 

Image source: flavors.me