I cannot imagine my life without apps.
I realise that this may sound a little over-dramatic but I’m a geek girl at heart and apps seriously float my geek girl boat.
I have periods where I go a wee bit cray-cray and download every new app that I think my life needs. This is generally not such a bad thing as many are free or quite cheap. But it can lead to app overload.
What tends to happen in the aftermath of such a burst of app purchasing is a bit of unscientific research on my part.
If an app “grabs” my attention in such a way that I can’t stop using it, then I know I’m on to a good thing.
If I’m still using said app two, three or more weeks down the track then it’s a keeper.
What constitutes a “keeper” app?
Quite simply put, these are the iPhone apps I actually use. Apps that I actually use because they make my home or blogging life run more smoothly.
Before I run through my current top 5 apps (and possibly lose some of you in my personal sea of geekdom), I want to assure you that diving into the app world is not a scary as it might seem.
If the only apps on your phone are for your kids’ amusement then maybe it’s time to delve a little further.
It’s so easy to be bamboozled by the thousands out there and available. Here’s how to start.
1. Ask friends for recommendations. Friends in real life and online friends are a big source for leads on apps that might be a good addition to my collection. If they rave about an app on a blog or on social media … or over coffee, telling me how it helps them, then there’s a high chance that I’ll be hitting that install button just as fast as I can punch in my password.
2. Think about how your blogging day could be better streamlined or organised and do a Google search for apps around that thought. There’s a fair chance there’s an app to help you. If not, get in touch with an app developer and create your own!
3. If you use a desktop application or program, Google search to see whether there is an app version that will help you when away from your computer and just on your tablet or phone.
Evernote is like having access to an online filing system, wherever you are. How you organise that system and what you put in it is up to you. The filing system works by creating “notebooks” and “notes” to add to a particular notebook. I have the app on my desktop computer, laptop, iPhone and iPad so I can sync and access anything in Evernote from any of those devices as long as I have internet access.
I know a lot of bloggers who use Evernote as part of their blog planning. For me, Evernote has evolved into my work (and play) travel organiser. If I’m travelling away for a night or three weeks, I will create a notebook around that trip and then “clip” web pages (that’s as easy has having a button installed on your web browser), or copy pdfs of itineraries, tickets and relevant emails to that notebook.
Evernote really came into its own when we travelled to the US. While planning how we would spend our time in New York and on the West Coast, I would madly “clip” away ideas I found online and add them to a general New York notebook. When it got closer to the time that we were leaving, I split up the notebook into several notebooks to make it easier to find what I was looking for. I copied in any tickets or documents we might need while away and also added the app to my husband’s iPad. With my Evernote logon and password, he too was able to access any of the required information. This meant we travelled paper-free except for any ticketing we needed to physically present.
Dropbox is also an online filing system which you can have synced to all your devices. You can create specific folders to house documents and images just as you would file them on your computer.
I use Dropbox mainly as my photographic filing friend. A filing friend who is happy to share. The beauty of Dropbox for me is that I’ve programmed the SD eye-fi card in my Canon camera to upload to a specific folder in Dropbox. While we were travelling I made this folder a “shared” folder and invited my husband to share it via his gmail address. This meant he could access all our photos from his iPad while we were travelling and upload what he wanted to to Facebook.
I also use Dropbox as an online storage centre for blogging tools like my media kit. This means if I get a request for my media kit details while I’m away from my desktop computer, I can access the pdf document and email it straight away – from my phone or iPad. Particularly helpful if on a work trip away from home.
I was a bit late to the party on this one but now that I’m here I’m a very happy Facebook page administrator. Not only do you get notifications if people post a comment on your page but you can also check your Insights stats and more easily share a photo.
Previously I would have actually had to go into the page to see if there were comments to respond to (or delete).
Umm, just a note on that. Just like this space here on the blog is my space, so is my Facebook page. Spamming the Facebook page with links to your page, website, blog without any relevance to what I’ve posted is not on. Message me first if you have something to promote and I’ll consider it. Just think of it like an office or retail outlet … would you go up to their space and slap up a big sign on their window promoting your stuff without asking them first? Etiquette people, etiquette.
I’m also not tolerating any nastiness in comments – here and on Facebook. Persist and your comments will be deleted and you’ll be blocked. I’m a real person, so think before you post something that might make YOU feel better about your obviously miserable life but make ME feel like shite. Again, would you get up on the microphone at a party and say something nasty about me in front of all those at the party? If the answer’s yes, then I’d be kicking you out of that party too. Life’s too short. If you don’t like something I say, do or wear, just click away.
I cannot believe I did not have this iPhone photography app until hearing about it at BlogHer. Of course, once I’d heard about it, I heard everyone talking about it. It’s good. Really good. Whether you take your photos using the normal camera app or Camera+ like I do, you can edit and tweak them using this app and make those photos pop before you’ve even whipped them into Instagram.
I particularly like using the Detail function to sharpen up my phone images and the Tune function to play with the brightness and ambience of the photo. I also like the options with the Center Focus function – not as limiting at the blur function in Instagram. Once done, I save the image back on to the Camera Roll, ready to bring into Instagram.
This is actually a web-based and phone app that I started using to schedule tweets and the odd Facebook post (particularly when out of whack with Australian time zones while I was travelling). Previously I’d used Tweetdeck but for me this is better option.
It will help you determine the best times to send out Tweets and how many but if you’d prefer to set your own times, you can do that too. The free version limits how far in advance you can schedule but I upgraded to the $10 a month before I went away as I wanted to schedule further ahead than just the next day.
Bufferapp also gives you the click-through analytics on all your posts made via Bufferapp – this is great for testing what Tweets get more attention than others and at what time of day. You can then tweak your Tweeting accordingly.
I know a lot of bloggers don’t schedule at all. I do because it keeps me regular 😉 What I do do is actually make sure I’m around Twitter at the times that I know I’ve got a scheduled Tweet going out, so yes I’m broadcasting but I’m still there for the conversation … if anyone is up for a chat.
I don’t schedule Facebook as much as Facebook’s algorithm is not as kind to scheduled posts as manually added posts.
So, that’s it. Now, I’d love to hand this post over to you now. Send me on an app installing frenzy!
What apps make your life – blogging or otherwise – better?
Thanks so much to everyone who plays along with my Saturday blogging linky. Sharing your blogging knowledge with other bloggers and potential bloggers really is how this blogging world best goes round. It’s a bit like having a mini online conference here every week.
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