Using Plug-in Toolbars to Enhance Your Productivity and Content

Ever visit a site or multi-click from place to place and find yourself reading some truly outstanding content that you wish you could quickly post to your weblog or social networks? We’ve all had this experience at one time or another and sometimes you bookmark the site in your RSS reader or copy and paste the address into a text program thinking that you’ll share it with your readers later but later never comes. Eventually, some amount of time passes before you remember you had a great thought for a truly wonderful post but it’s now untimely or others have already beat you to the punch.

Well, if you were making better use of some phenomenal online tools that reside unobtrusively within your browser and are available anytime you need to use them, you could surf and post without guilt while providing your readers with the expert content and updates that have made you a hero in their eyes.

Here are a few of my favorites. If you’re not using the Firefox web browser as your primary internet tool of choice, then get with the program and download it immediately. It is free, ultra-stable and one of the absolute best browsers available. All of these add-ons make it my first choice in professional and personal internet use.

ScribeFire allows you to post to multiple weblogs and integrates the link of whatever page you’re currently browsing within the text of your post(s). You can also add videos, pictures, quoted text and use a variety of formatting features to make your post truly stand out. The editor can be triggered and hidden as necessary so that you can pull information into a post from various sites without cluttering your screen with the interface. It’s truly amazing among my most favorite tools for blog updates.

TwitterBar allows you to post to Twitter directly from your address bar. You can type text before or after the address of the site you’re currently visiting and TwitterBar will let you know how many characters remain in your 140-character limit. Once you’ve typed your Tweet in the address bar, click the small icon in the address bar and your post is sent to Twitter. Simple and elegant.

StumbleUpon allows you to surf and discover web sites that others have tagged based on your interests. You get to see more of what you like on the web using social filtering by others who have tagged what they like. Websites, photos, and videos can be stumbled (submitted by you as favorites) and stumbled upon randomly (visited by you as suggested favorites from others) using an integrated toolbar. You can review sites and send sites to your community of followers. It’s a great traffic generator and you can even pay to have traffic sent your way using StumbleUpon ads which, as of this writing, only cost $0.05 for each guaranteed visit to your site.

Tiseme is a relatively new tool still in the testing and development phase that combines some of the features of others I like into one platform. Like StumbleUpon and TwitterBar, you can post about sites that you’re currently visiting. Where TwitterBar only allows posting directly to Twitter, Tiseme also provides for Twitter updates and goes a few steps beyond the community posting and sharing available in StumbleUpon to include sharing of your sites and comments within the Tiseme community in addition to posting those things on Facebook and Twitter.

This is great because the more social platforms that you join, the harder it is to keep your updates current on all the sites. If I’m not actively using StumbleUpon, my profile isn’t updated. I use Twitter and Facebook many times a week, so a platform that updates my status in each of those networks while continuing to build opportunities to share expertise, resources, and just fun stuff that I find interesting with a growing community is an attractive proposition and the real draw of sites like Tiseme.

Eventually, online tools will become so integrated that you will post to your weblog or update a website and inform everyone on all the communities where you maintain membership. You may even be able to filter what you send to individual communities based on interests and the target audience. is working toward that reality but some popular networks like Ning aren’t yet accessible through the platform.

It’s hard to stay current on all the new and changing technologies that can make our online experiences easier to share with others and make the most efffective use of our time. These are just a few tools that seem poised to stand the test of time with a new one that appears promising. Let me know what you use as we all continue the quest for meaningful integration of content-building tools.

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