MY Top Ten invites media practitioners to identify their top ten websites, apps, software tools and gadgets, etc, and here it is the turn of Stephen Emerson, digital editor of The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday.
1. Evernote – app – This is an app that is a banker on lists like this and with good reason too. It has made it possible to truly work paper-free across mobile, tablet and desktop with every note accessible through Evernote’s ‘cloud’. I use it for every aspect of my daily working life, from writing articles, to jotting down ideas and taking notes on my iPad during meetings.
Its strength is that your entire working life – everything you need for your job – is with you wherever you are, meaning the days of fumbling about in notepads are over.
It is a free app; however, you can pay £4 a month or £35 a year to increase storage and upload near enough any type of file.
2. Off Liberty – website – Everyone loves a website that makes things simple and saves a bit of time. Step forward, Off Liberty.
Say you’ve spotted a video on YouTube or Vimeo that would go well with a story and the copyright owner is delighted for you to use it. Simply, put the URL into the form on the site and in a few moments the video is ready to download.
No convoluted process or waiting for an email to arrive. It’s simply there and ready to be uploaded to your site.
3. Delicious – website – A bookmark-sharing service that allows you to collect and catalogue useful sites. It also makes for a good alternative search engine.
The sites that are highly bookmarked are of excellent quality and have been ranked by real people and not an algorithm.
Downloading the Delicious extension onto your browser allows you easy access to your tagged bookmarks and to add new ones.
4. Google Drive – online tool – Google Drive is all about sharing. It has transformed how departments across The Scotsman collaborate on news lists and how we share files.
Photographers and reporters can transfer video back to the office for central editing without the need to rely on fiddly server transfers.
Reporters are aware of where we are at and what needs to be done by looking at one central list.
The whole set-up is free with a lot of data to play with. All you need is a Google account.
5. Hotot – online tool – I would be lost without Twitter updates popping up on the bottom of my screen. They let me know when news is breaking much faster than any wire service and also provide a steady stream of ideas and inspiration.
Hotot is a Twitter dashboard which displays home feeds, retweets and tweets sent.
Hotot is in beta and can be found under Chrome apps.
6. Instapaper – website – While I couldn’t live without desktop alerts, I also get slightly peeved when a great article pops up and I don’t have time to read it. Instapaper solves this particular conundrum. I simply click on the link and select the Instapaper browser extension and the page is saved.
I can then enjoy the article when I get a spare moment be it on my phone, tablet or laptop.
7. Stumbleupon – online tool – One that’s been about for a while but a great tool for generating feature ideas and wasting time when you’ve ran out of things to look at.
When you sign up to Stumbleupon you’re asked to select your interests and then, once you’ve installed the extension, you’re free to stumble your way around the web marveling at the wonderful, intriguing and bizarre.
Stumbleupon is great at training your eye to spot viral content and, if you become a trusted user, can also deliver a lot of traffic to your site as you ‘thumb up’ your content.
The Stumbleupon iPad app is also worth a look.
8. Ubersuggest.org – online tool – It’s never been more important to make sure your content can be found by search engines.
Ubersuggest will generate a large list of keywords around a subject area.
It’s then up to you bring some order to this list and use Google Adwords to find out which keywords have the highest traffic.
At the end of this process, you should have a solid set of keywords that you can factor into your article.
9. WhatsApp – app – If you have noticed your Facebook page getting a little bit quieter these days, perhaps it’s because some of your friends, work contacts and acquaintances are now communicating on WhatsApp. It’s a great collaborative tool to share ideas and communicate on a group and individual basis away from the public glare of Facebook.
10. Hootsuite – online tool – For me, Hootsuite is about saving time. I can post to most of The Scotsman’s social networks at the same time and also schedule when they go live. I find the lists function useful as its easy to retweet tweets from our staff and partner organisations.
The Hootsuite dashboard also allows me to monitor all social media channels in one place instead of darting about various browser windows.
You can also add other team members to your account, for an additional fee.