Online Apps and Tools to Make Your Life Easier

If you haven’t participated in a #journchat discussion yet, you’re missing out. The quality of the discussion is better than ever, as Sarah Evans has continued to build a strong, dedicated and passionate community around current topics in journalism, public relations and social media. If I had to give you one reason to swing by on Monday nights, I’d say you’re guaranteed to learn something new, make new connections and stay ahead of the curve on what’s going on in your industry today (is that one thing?).

One good example I’ll point out is from Question 5 of this week’s discussion, which asked participants to share the online applications, tools and resources that make their lives easier. I captured some of the most-common suggestions below, organized to the best of my ability, in hopes you find at least one resource useful in your daily work.

Online Apps and Tools to Make Your Life Easier

Aggregation & Collaboration

  • Alltop – one of the leading blog aggregators out there; check out the Journalism section as a good example
  • Basecamp – an oldie, but a goody – online project management made easy (37Signals, the company behind Basecamp, makes several online apps that you’ll want to check out)
  • Digsby – get your IM, Email and Social Networks all in one place, that’s what Digsby is all about
  • Tinychat – create chatrooms on-the-fly; BackNoise is another good one for this
  • Gist – one of my favorite apps of the day, Gist helps you learn more about the contacts you’ve made – all in one place
  • Google Apps – by far the most popular toolset with this crowd, Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, Google Docs all get the nod for making your life easier. Of course, I have to mention Google Reader or Google Wave in this category either
  • SpringPad – one of the latest online notebooks, this one is worth a test drive
  • MindMesiter – collaborative, online mind mapping; I’ve yet to catch on to the whole mind-mapping craze, but those that use it love it – maybe it’s for you?
  • Instapaper – a fast, easy, and free tool to save Web pages for reading later
  • Utterli – another online chat tool you can use to start discussions via the Web or your mobile device
  • Skribit – let your readers suggest topics for you to blog about, and put an end to writer’s block

Monitoring & Analytics

  • ConvoTrack – a bookmarklet that enables you to see the entire conversation surrounding a post (see comments from Twitter, FriendFeed, Digg, Reddit, etc.)
  • TweetBeep – you’ve probably heard of this one, but TweetBeep is the “Google Alerts” for Twitter – monitor keywords in Twitter and receive email summaries for free
  • Google Analytics and Google Alerts – I know you’ve heard of these, but they are among the most valuable tools for monitoring and analytics today
  • SocialMention – a free, real-time social media search and analysis tool
  • Monitter – real-time, live Twitter monitor – lets you monitor Twitter for keywords, similar to features in some Twitter clients
  • TweetGrid – another free Twitter monitoring tool, but this one lets you decide how many windows (or active searches) you want in your “grid”
  • TweetChat -allows you to create chats around Twitter hashtags – a popular tool for following #journchat discussions
  • Twitterfall – my tool-of-choice for following #journchat, though it’s really a more powerful Twitter monitoring tool that displays tweets in a “waterfall” window

File Utilities

  • YouSendIt – easy way to share large files online
  • Twitpic – easy way to share photos via Twitter


  • UStream – Free live video streaming
  • Qik – record and stream video from your mobile device

Online Research

  • Zotero – easy-to-use Firefox extension to help you collect, manage and cite your research sources.
  • Addict-o-matic – if I had a “super cool” category, this one would be in it – instantly create a custom page with the latest buzz on any topic

Online Journalism

  • Publish2 – this one’s on my “ones to watch” list now – Publish2 bills itself as the Web’s largest newsroom, where journalists collaborate to curate the news
  • Slinkset – this wasn’t mentioned in the chat, but it’s a cool tool for creating your own online news site

If you’d like to dig deeper into this week’s #journchat discussion, Sarah Evans provides a complete transcript here: If you’re interested in participating in a future #journchat, follow @journchat and @prsarahevans on Twitter and mark your calendar for Monday night.

Did I miss an online application, tool or resource that makes your life easier? Please share your suggestion in the Comments below.

(Image Credit: Beautiful Tools by geishaboy500)

About Jeremy Porter 214 Articles
Jeremy Porter has been passionate about the intersection of public relations and journalism since studying both Public Relations and Journalism at Utica College of Syracuse University in the late 90s. Porter launched Journalistics in 2009 to share his ideas and insights around both professions and how trends and developments in modern day marketing, communications, and technology impact those working in these fields. Porter also values the traditions and history of both professions and regularly shares his perspective in these areas - and related topics geared toward the next generation of journalism and public relations professionals.


    • Thanks for the suggestion, I hadn’t heard of before. I didn’t include Twitter clients in here, because I figured most were familiar. If that’s not the case, HootSuite, TweetDeck, CoTweet and Seesmic seem the be the favorites for #journchat participants.

  1. Very nice list..
    Though in the File Utilities, I would add I must say that I couldn’t find an easier way to transfer and share files than Combined with a Firefox add-on, it is irreplaceable.
    In ‘Aggregation and Utilities’, I would add meebo. All in one messenger – no install, no download, just use your browser to chat with anyone.
    Hope you like my suggestions.
    Thanks again..

  2. I’m an advisor to & Both have free tools for media properties. Involver’s are plug-ins to add automated content management to a media property’s Facebook Fan Page. Magnify’s platform is for curating video from elsewhere on the Web to bring into a media site, with editors’ ability to rewrite captions and re-tag the video from elsewhere. Here is a recent story about NY Mag’s use of this tool:

  3. Jeremy, I would love to see a category for things like Evernote and Springpad. With SM anything that can help organize your tasks, ideas, content is a good thing. I also am a big fan of Tripit for planning and managing my travel. It saved me a number of times this year.

    Great post!

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