BlogCatalog NewsFeed Widget Combines Social Networks

Facebook. Pownce. Digg. StumbleUpon. There seem to be new social networking and social bookmarking sites popping up all the time, so it can be difficult to keep track of them all. Don’t you think that it would be valuable to your blog readers if they could keep track of all your activity in one convenient location?

John received a review request from the people at BlogCatalog, because they would like to draw your attention toward their new social network widget. This widget aggregates and displays a blogger’s activity from over 20 social networks!

Enter the BlogCatalog Community

As I’m sure you already know, BlogCatalog isn’t exactly new to the blogosphere. They have developed a few other widgets in the past that you may have seen around the ‘net, including ones for recent visitors (similar to MyBlogLog) and neighborhood members. Up until now, however, BlogCatalog has only really been open to other BlogCatalog members.

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With the introduction of the Newsfeed Widget, you are now able to aggregate the information from the countless online communities where you may hold an account. The combined feed of all your activity — on Sphinn, Reddit, SmugMug, etc. — are then displayed in a convenient widget. This widget is easily implemented into your sidebar, just like the Recent Readers widget you may already have.

At this time, BlogCatalog is supporting 29 online communities, all of which can be aggregated into your news feed. These include everything from BUMPzee to iLike, MySpace to YouTube. They’ve even included MyBlogLog. I find this inclusion a little curious, because isn’t MyBlogLog a direct competitor to BlogCatalog? It’s like Google advertising for Yahoo!

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As time goes on, I’d imagine that the developers will add even more social networks. This can prove to be an incredibly popular and powerful tool in this day and age of interconnectivity.

Creating Your Own Widget

After logging into your BlogCatalog account, you can create a Newsfeed Widget one of two main ways. If you scroll down to the bottom of your profile page, you’ll notice a section called News Feed. Guess what that is for! Click on the “Create a Widget” link near the top right of this box to proceed.

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Alternatively, there is also a link in the sidebar to create a widget. This method is a little less direct, because you’ll have to then select which type of widget you would like to create. Either way, you end up working with the same creation tool.

There are five fields that you can edit or adjust. From here, you can alter the heading, set the width, choose the number of items to be displayed at one time, and select the color of the border. The actual contents in the center stay the same.

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The rounded edges and font choice are similar to what you’d find with other BlogCatalog widgets. It would have been nice to choose your own border color based on a hexidecimal code, but the choice of nine colors is reasonably adequate too.

Update and Aggregate

In order for the Newsfeed Widget to be useful at all, you’ll need to add the information about each of your social networking accounts into your BlogCatalog account. After clicking on “Edit Profile” under “My Account”, swing over to the tab that reads “Communities.” From here, simply click on any of the icons and input the corresponding information.

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Most of these — Digg, StumbleUpon, YouTube, etc. — only require you to provide a user name. There is no confirmation process, because BlogCatalog doesn’t have internal access to any of those accounts. For Facebook, you’ll need to pull the feed for your status updates. Don’t worry; BlogCatalog gives you instructions on how to do that.

Grab the News Feed

The BlogCatalog Newsfeed widget looks to be a very cool tool, because it aggregates your activity from a wide range of social communities. Many bloggers are always looking for ways to integrate certain services, like Twitter, into their blogs and this widget does the trick. Remember to only show what you’re willing to make public, because nothing is private on the Internet!


44 thoughts on “BlogCatalog NewsFeed Widget Combines Social Networks”

  1. Eastwood says:

    yeah I signed up for blogcatalog yesterday… haven’t found too much use for it though… it’s kinda like mybloglog 2.0 (with less spam ๐Ÿ˜› )

    1. Eastwood says:

      btw, here’s a post I did about the current state of mybloglog:
      http://www.eastwoodzhao.com/mybloglog-is-getting-spammy/

  2. This stuff seems so overwhelming. How is it even possible to keep track of all these accounts? I can’t imagine any top notch bloggers going for this. I always wonder about the value or these communities. It often can build your traffic up in specific communal niches but what about traffic that relates to $$$??

    Social networking is no longer for gain /
    It brings my fingers chronic pain /
    these infinite communities are created in vain /
    It def not the way to gain fame, for Richie Champagne.

    Pce.

    Richie C.

    1. I agree Richie, it seems that each day the social networking gig is getting more and more deluted. Watered down communities more like it.

  3. jimsvarkey says:

    The blogcatalog widgets are really, cool. They load faster than many other widgets, and really gel in with your blog. But then, I can’t think of any use for the newsfeed widget. What do the readers get by knowing what you did in such and such social site? It takes up pleanty of precious space in your sidebar. So is it worth the trouble? I don’t think so. ๐Ÿ˜•

    1. Tony Berkman says:

      JimS… thanks for the compliments. If you are into marketing your blog & products, which Im sure you are, then the News Feed widget can be really powerful and increase your chance of things you like going viral.

      It’s lets you automatically broadcast to your readers via the widget or the RSS feed on the widget what you have Dugg/Stumbled.

      I get my most of my information from bloggers I follow, like JohnChow.com (thanks John & Michael for the review), and act on what he says. If I see an interesting post on here I fav it and people who follow me either visit JohnChow.com or fav it in turn. The News Feed is great at doing that.

      Essentially, The feed is way for you to recommend things you like, to your readers, without you having to do any work. I think of it as my personal broadcast assistant sending out notifications of what I like to the people who follow what I’m doing.

    2. This feature was definitely a much needed one… I hope Bloglog will catch on! It does take up room, but for someone who is just starting out, it could be very beneficial.

      :mrgreen:

    3. Yes , they are cooooool

    4. Yes they are coooooooool

  4. Michael Talk says:

    Cool feature but don’t think I’ll be using it. More likely to use FriendFeed (which I am using now).

  5. TC says:

    This widgets seem so nice….i will take a look for it…maybe will consider to install in my blog…

  6. Azrael says:

    NIce review about the latest widget, but I don’t think that I will be re using it.

    Anyway here’s a review of blog catalog.
    http://workahome.blogspot.com/2008/03/3x-rejected-on-blogcatalog.html

  7. alam says:

    thanks, I’ll give it a try for my knock down house ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

  8. How to Blog says:

    Alot of these widgets seem to look very messy, are they really that useful?

  9. Hannah says:

    It seems like something which in theory is a good idea but in practice won’t necessarily work out too well. I know I think it’s a pretty cool idea, but wouldn’t use it as there’s better ways to use the sidebar and I doubt my blog readers really care whose Facebook wall I wrote on.

  10. Manly King says:

    The concept of this is good, but as comments above have said in practice they are not necessarily very productive. Limited sidebar space means you need to pick and choose between widgets and other data, and this widget doesn’t afford enough advantage or enhancement to earn sidebar space.

    But I will tinker around with it for curiosity’s sake.

  11. Jcyreus says:

    Really, we need another MyBlogLog clone? I know…it has features that MBL doesn’t have. That doesn’t necessarily make it more useful.

    I look forward to the day when a few companies start launching some really innovative ideas once again.

  12. I like this feature. It beats having a widget for every separate social network out there. And a far as anyone thinking BlogCatalog was a MBL clone, BC came out with the new dashboard first, then MBL followed with theirs.

  13. 3magin8 says:

    blogcatalog is very useful. i get more visitors from it than mybloglog.

  14. Robert says:

    I’ve been on BlogCatalog for a few months, and I was considering using this widget. Your endorsement might just put me over the edge and convince me to get it!

    1. Hannah says:

      Could you maybe let us know how it goes? I’d be interested to see, personally, whether or not you like it.

      1. Robert says:

        Absolutely. I will definitely do that. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

  15. InfoDoorway says:

    Blogcatalog certainly has some quality widgets and I’m glad you reviewed this one as I wasn’t aware of it yet. I’m always looking for innovative ways to get my content out there and share with readers in multiple ways.

  16. Tom Ross says:

    Great review. It looks like a really interesting service, will you consider using it perhaps? ๐Ÿ˜›

    1. I don’t think he will put a widget here from blogcatalog but yeah he is very much thier. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. There’s way too many social networking widgets now… I know if I sign up for this there will be something newer next week.

    1. Exactly Chris, something new does seem to come out “every week.” It’s definitely important to keep an open-mind about new social networking widgets, but when I already have MyBlogLog on my sidebar, and more people are probably using MyBlogLog than BlogCatalog I’m not too excited to install a BlogCatalog widget. It’ll just clutter up the sidebar more and take away from content!

  18. Robert says:

    Chris, I guess that’s just the name of the game. There are hundreds of ad networks, affiliate programs, social networking widgets, ad buttons, etc. As bloggers, we just have to synthesize it all and come up with the best options.

  19. One creative way blogcatalog members are using the widget is to digg their affiliate links and have them be the only news to show up in the News Feed. Basically they have set up a Product Recommendation Feed and it generates revenues for them.

  20. That actually seems pretty cool! I am a member of BlogCatalog, but don’t use it regularly. This tool though, might be ace!

  21. Crystal says:

    BlogCatalog wasn’t the first one who thought of this, but I suppose they implemented it the best. Great, a further indication that we’re total exhibitionists online, haha count me in!

  22. Google advertising for Yahoo isn’t that weird. Remember when Yahoo used to use Google search results?

  23. “Remember to only show what youโ€™re willing to make public, because nothing is private on the Internet!”

    I have to agree with that. The Newsfeed Widget sounds like a good idea, but do you want everyone to know everything you’re doing on these social networks. It’s kind of hard to be evil like John when you can’t hide.

  24. Blogcatalog giving threat to mybloglog , mybloglog has made some changes to thier outlook recently what i don’t think it will work, nothing working for yahoo these days.

  25. Terry Tay says:

    I am currently using MyBlogLog on my blog. There are so many different tools and widgets that can help your blog it’s hard to keep track of it all sometimes. There are some things I like but I don’t want to add because I don’t want too much clutter on my blog.
    ~Terry

  26. ForexTrader says:

    So many widgets and tools to look into. I am just starting to use MyBlogLog on some of my sites, and will stick with that for a while I think. But it’s always interesting to see what’s new and keep up to date with what could be beneficial to your site.

  27. Mike Huang says:

    BlogCatalog’s new widgets are KILLER and I think they should change it back to the “SIMPLE” look..

    -Mike

  28. Chip says:

    That’s a great idea, however I have already 4 widgets on my blog, I’ll have to seriously reconsider which one to keep and which one to throw away. I’ll have to try the new BC widget, and the page loads rather slow with too may widgets.

  29. BlogCatalog… I already have MyBlogLog. No need to crowd up the sidebar with another widget to take away from my content ๐Ÿ˜‰

  30. natespost says:

    So is the idea to get more people sumbitting your posts to the social sites?

  31. Hmm, looks like another cool tool.

    All this Opensource WP stuff will eventually become the next
    OpenOffice for WordPress methinks. There’s always something
    new, and it seems like it’s almost not worth it to stay right on top
    of things because they change so often.

    Thanks,

    Dan
    http://marketersrelief.com

  32. In the near future, I think there will more guys combining several social networks together somehow in their application. Nowadays websurfer is member of many networks and it’s a pain in the neck to acces all of them seperately!

  33. Mike says:

    BlogCatalog is my favorite blog site. I signed up last summer and love it. I go on several times a day. They have a pretty high Alexa ranking also. I recommend everyone at least list their blogs on their. You will get more people noticing your blogs.

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