Cloud Gazing: Ping.FM and hellotxt
Today I take a look at 2 service for posting to multiple sites at once, Ping.FM and hellotxt.com. I’ve been members of both for a long time, but I find that I really only use Ping.FM. I’m writing this review to share my experiences with these services and to try and figure out why that is. On the surface there is nothing that puts one over the other. It might have been when they were new, and I signed up ping.fm had better support for the networks I used. If that was the case it’s not anymore. So lets look at the two services as they are today and see what we find.
From day one PingFM has had a very simple web interface, with your Social networks on the left and a big box with for typing your updates on the right. Below the update box where the services and tools available from ping.fm. This section has expanded considerably since I started using the service.
The web interface is nice, but my primary way of interacting with Ping.FM has always been through E-mail and IM. When I’m out and about and I want to post an update I usually send a quick email to my ping.fm address and out it goes, if it contains a picture that’s added either embedded in the post, on services that support it, or as a link for people to follow. All media you post is linked to your account and placed in a My Media section so that you can go back and check them out. This is a very nice feature.
Another feature I’ve come to appreciate is that url shortening service with stats. When you post a URL with Ping.FM is shortens and in your recent posts list you have access to the stats for each links. Of course the recent posts is limited to your last 25 posts and the links can be listed for the last 30, though if you save the link to the stats page you can still see the stats.
Of course there is the added factor that I’ve written a Ping.FM Desktop client. I’ll be posting a link to install it and a full write-up about it once the Application key is approved for users other then my own.
I’m not sure if it’s the colour scheme or just that I found it cluttered, I never took to the web interface for hellotxt. This really shouldn’t have been a barrier of use as I have never really posted to any of these services from the web interface. Though hellotxts interface does have one compelling reason to use it, it includes a Recent Friend Activity. So that you can see what the people you are following are posting without having to go to each social network individually.
On interesting thing I noticed while preparing this post is that there is a new interface in the works. It seems like a nice upgrade to the interface, much cleaner. Its an interface I could see using.
There is support for including Pictures, Video, music and even user suggested funny quotes right from the new web interface. Another big feature is the ability to schedule your posts. So that you can get it all ready and then have it go out when you aren’t in front of your computer. This is a feature I wish was available in Ping.FM.
Both services support over 45 different sites, though I think hellotxt has more overall, but that really doesn’t matter. They could do 100 sites if they aren’t the sites you are using then the service is useless. Of course for me both these services cover my social networks, so how do I choose. I was hoping that writing this would give me a clear winner, it hasn’t. All it has done is made me think that I really need to give hellotxt another chance, Perhaps even write a desktop application for posting to it. After all I’m always trying to think of something to write.