So far I have not been a huge fan of any social site. Don’t get me wrong, I love social sites like Digg, Del.ico.us, Flickr, Twitter and so on, but that list is one reason I haven’t used them much. I need to visit four different sites to manage myself, not to mention additional stuff like StumbleUpon, Youtube and some more I use. Even if I use desktop clients, I still need to download separate tools for most of these sites.
A great solution I found was SecondBrain, a social media aggregation site. I’ve seen a few around the web, but I don’t think any of them offer as great features and as elegant presentation as SecondBrain. Since I love this site so much, I thought I’d invite you guys to take a look and sign up. You can even follow me if you like – my username is danielpataki.
Now, let’s see what SecondBrain can really do!
After you’ve signed up and logged in, you can import your favorite services through the “Import Content” tab on your dashboard. You can choose from 19 services, including Picasa, Flickr, Youtube, Blogger, del.icio.us, favourites, StumbleUpon, and so much more. Other sources you can add content from is your hard drive (this was an unexpected one for me) and you can add links manually too.
The main part of this service for me is the continuous wall of content I create and share with others. All your activities are listed here in chronological order, whether a Twitter, a Stumble or a shared Flickr picture. At the top, you can post text content directly to SecondBrain, but the coolest part is, if you use Twitter, you can also post to Twitter directly from here. A very unique part of SecondBrain is the ability to add Zoho documents, Google Docs documents, which I haven’t really seen anywhere else.
Once you have some entries and visit other people’s, things start to get really interesting. Through every entry you can visit the persons SecondBrain page, their relevant service page and you can comment on the entry. Once you get into the comments, you will have some more options, Flickr pics will be shown, screenshots of links will be available, and you will have the option to share or add stuff to your collection.
Your collections are tidbits from the net, but since this is an aggregation site, you aren’t limited to just links, or just photos. You can organize content from all the services available, in essence creating a true personal collection from the web. You can have multiple collections, which makes it that bit easier to view all your content.
You also have a library, which is a slightly expanded and searchable version of your wall. The search function is the most notable here, it is one of the best I’ve seen so far. Since SecondBrain imports tags, it not only searches by content, but by tags as well. If you search for the word “technology”, you get a list of all such posts. However, at the top, you also get a tag breakdown showing you the number of results which match the tag “technology”, but also the list of different tags. This is a very easy way to specify content you want to find when you don’t really know exactly what you’re looking for.
Is SecondBrain worth it?
The question I always ask myself is if a service is worth it. I know a host of services which I really do like, but I need to put too much input into it to be of real value to me and others. However, in the case of SecondBrain, I will be using it for a long, long time to come.
I have two big arguments for this service, the lesser of the two is that it is totally automatic. If you set it up and never touch it afterwards, you will still have an automatically nicely organized aggregation of your social life. There is no need to send constant updates, since your activities on other sites are the updates.
The second argument is that it is oh so much simpler than anything else I’ve seen so far. You don’t have to go to six different places to keep in touch with others content, all you need to do is log into your account, and find them on SecondBrain. You will see all their updates as they happen, and never miss a thing.
My third bonus argument is that there are a lot of added, small features I haven’t talked about. You can view your (and others’) updates via RSS feeds as well, there are favorites, options for public and private collections and the list goes on and on. Services are also being added continuously, so if you don’t see all your favorites, don’t worry, they might be in soon.
There are some areas where SecondBrain still needs to improve, but I’m confident they will. Support for adding generic RSS feeds is not in there which is a big problem, since support for blogs is also limited. If you have a WordPress.com or Blogger blog you’re ok, but if you host your blog on your own domain you won’t find any options for sharing your posts. Nevertheless, I am now never giving up SecondBrain. It’s perfect for managing your content on your own or connecting to dozens of people.
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