Sent to you by Chris Hunter via Google Reader:
Ever since I started using social media, I noticed there's still somewhat of a gulf between social content and website content. I mean, sure you can create a Facebook page to promote your blog content on the world's most popular social network, or you can add Facebook widgets to your blog sidebar to help promote your Facebook page. And there are lots of other tools to embed Facebook on your site.
However, the fact remains that they are two different worlds. When people are browsing Facebook, they typically stay on Facebook and interact with people there. If you post a blog update on your Facebook page, some people may click through – but the bulk will comment or reply to comments. Even those that check out your site are likely to head back to Facebook to make a comment.
The flip side is also true. There may be a few people that learn about your Facebook page from the little sidebar widget you inserted on your blog, but for the most part people that are reading your article are there to read your article, and few will be distracted away from it. Some will of course; butthe the two worlds remain two distinct worlds. Until now.
Tint Turns Social Content into Web Content
There is this fascinating service called Tint, and I actually struggle to accurately describe it – that's how unique it is. Tint is 50% about promoting your social networks, but it's also 50% about providing website content. It's both. It should be a paradox that should cause the Universe to implode and create a black hole – but it doesn't. Somehow, Tint pulls it off and makes it work – it brings social content and web content together in one place.
Tint does this by giving you a central spot where you can basically connect your account to six main social networks – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and also any RSS feed that you like.
In fact, with a little creativity, you could probably pull off some pretty cool things just using the RSS feed alone. Maybe that's a future article. However, here we're going to focus on creating your web content by hooking into your social networks. Twitter is as simple as typing in your twitter account – no connecting to your account required.
You could also just opt to display content from any Twitter hashtag you want. After adding your first account, you'll get the first glimpse of what your Tint website content will look like. That content all shows up in the right pane.
The Facebook connect is a little trickier. When I first tested this, I freaked out because once I connected my private Facebook account, all of the content got published into the public website content on my Tint page. Not at all what I wanted!
That's fine if your Facebook account is public, but I deleted that connection and instead chose the "Facebook Page" option, and added my blog page.
You can go through and add all of the other sources you want. When you're done, you've got one of the coolest web pages filled with something that reminds me of those websites that make use of magazine-style themes. Big, beautiful photos with a bold headline and a short excerpt underneath.
Other tabs in your account will give you a few options to personalize the page – mostly tweaking things like font, button and background colors, things like that.
You also have the option to customize the content on the page, rather than going with whatever Tint pulled out of the social feeds automatically. Just click on the big "Edit" button over the post in question, and tweak the content using the title, url, and image fields.
Keep in mind that with the free account, you're a little limited in customizing. You can't choose from the different themes that Tint offers – you're essentially stuck with a couple of basic ones. Not that the free theme is bad, mind you.
The coolness factor comes when you click on the "Embed" menu item and start sizing the output code for your page. Now – you can opt for the WordPress widget if you have a WordPress blog, or use the wizard to output to Weebly, Tumblr, Posterous and more.
My favorite option though, is the straight HTML output. You just set your dimensions and the number of columns that you want to display, and generate the embed code.
So, a 350 px by 500 px embed creates a very impressive, high quality sidebar-style widget that would serve as an amazing form of advertising for your social updates, blog posts, and whatever else you share via your social networks.
Using something like a 700 x 300 design, you can create a really cool HTML footer for HTML emails, or for use throughout your newsletter.
In my case, I used such a footer embed to create a clickthrough for visitors to my blog pages, since only my blog posts have a "similar articles" widget. My page footers were really pretty blank until now.
This sort of widget will encourage readers to click through and discover either other articles on my blog, or my Facebook fan page.
It's also important to realize that you could just use Tint exclusively to create a brand new website. You can just embed your entire Tint page by creating an HTML embed code for something like 800 px by 900 px, make it 5 columns, and you've got a brilliant magazine-style main page promoting all of your social and RSS web content.
Add a header and a footer – and you've got an instant, personalized web page.
Want something a little more bold and impressive? Keep the same size, but reduce it to three columns. Now you've got a main page of your new site filled with bigger photos that just pop right out and will make your new page look professionally done.
Do you prefer a sort of blog-style central section for your site? Just change it to a single column, and you'll have a really nice 1-column scrolling page that will look like a high-quality blog with very large photos, an article title and an excerpt.
Stop and think about this. The above web pages featuring images and links are actually integrated directly with your social outlets now. Every time you Tweet, post on Facebook or create a new YouTube video, this web page content is updated with your latest work. It's a dynamic way to offer a personalized web page that updates automatically, and essentially requires no effort on your part after you finish the initial setup.
Now how cool is that?
Have you ever heard of Tint? What do you think about using your social activities to launch your own personalized web page, to share all of those activities with the world? Try it out and share your experience and feedback in the comments section below!
Image Credits: Ouch Screen via Shutterstock
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