In my grand vision of the Internet and how I interact with folks in the online space, I see this website, JCHutchins.net, as my "fort" -- a base of operations from where most of my content hails, and where I want most folks engaging with me and my art. However, I perceive social media networks beyond my site as "beachheads," and have presences on services like Facebook and Myspace because I know that's where people congregate. My perceptions of these beachheads have changed throughout the years. My opinion of them has improved, mostly because of the cool tools and applications folks are now creating that transcend the one-dimensional "Bite A Friend" games. I crave something useful in my social media apps, something that can not only help evangelize my work, but organize my thoughts and share some fun personal details with my audience. Of course, being an indie content creator, I want to do all this on my terms.
Imagine my surprise when this scrappy, indie writer learned how uberbrand Coca-Cola could help me do just that.
The folks at Coke have concocted something very clever with their "CokeTag" Facebook Application. (You can see my personal CokeTag at my FB Profile.) Here's an elegant app that allows you to share information about yourself, spread the word about worthy causes, or promote your friends and the great things (or nonsense) they're up to. The app is robust and flexible enough for folks like me (who like to control nearly every aspect of the information piping through the thing), yet intuitive enough to get users rolling in seconds.
The app gives you five "categories" with which to fill with content. As I configured my app, I selected a category called "Music That I Like" and simply typed the names of my favorite bands. Here's the groovy part: the CokeTag app cross-referenced my hand-typed content with Amazon's Alexa web search engine and automatically inserted the URLs of those bands' sites into the app. There was zero fuss or management on my end, and nearly all of the auto-results were accurate. Very cool.
I appreciated that I could override those auto-results with better URLs when needed.
You may choose from a list of pre-created content categories, or create your own. I chose to create a "Podcasts I Dig" category to give my audience a peek into what shows I enjoy ... and also help promote my podcolleages. (Every link helps.) This homebrew feature has great promise. I can easily create a Cool Stuff category, which I can update with the interesting links I discover as I bebop around the Web. BoingBoing lite.
There is a low-key "viral" element to the app -- you can post your friends' CokeTag apps within your Profile, and there's some business about tracking clicks to your CokeTag (which calculates how "influential" you are) -- but its truly spiffy evangelical element is the ability to share the app in Facebook messages, or on a friend's Wall. Suddenly, I'm armed with an easily-sharable portal into my personal interests, and a sly way to spread the word about killer content.
The app is fun to use out of the box, and has enough customization features to please scrappy DIYers like myself. Highly recommended.