One of the most common reasons I hear people give for not joining a social network site such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn is, “I know it’s useful, but where would I find the time to keep up with what’s happening?”
A typical way of tackling, at least in party, this dilemma is to go through carefully tweaking your email alert settings on each service, so that you get emails for the information you want to know about – but nothing more. Then you can set up some rules and a folder in your email program to file these alerts conveniently together in one place, away from the immediate urgent items in the inbox.
It’s what I’ve been doing, but it can take a bit of time to create and refine the setup. And for many people saying “set up an email rule” is rather off-putting. It may not be nearly as hard as they think, but whatever the reason, if they’ve been put off then that’s that.
Enter then, stage left, NutshellMail [alas: a service that has now been closed]. It’s a simple and free service that lets you get all your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn alerts in one place, along with messages from many other services (such as many web-based email accounts). Use the system and this different information is rolled into one message, appearing in your inbox at a time and frequency you chose.
I was a little sceptical at first about how useful I would find the service given the refined email alerts and rules I’ve got. But even given that, I’m finding it useful. For example, it gives you a list of who has followed or unfollowed you on Twitter since your last update. There are other services which do this, but Nutshell saves you from having to use one of them, helping keep life a little simpler.
I also like the control you have over when the Nutshell alerts appear. Relying on the alert options built in to social networks themselves means you get a smattering of alert messages through the day. But with Nutshell I can control when they appear, so removing that temptation to interrupt other things at other times.
I found it struggled a little with LinkedIn and Twitter to begin with, but it’s been running reliably for me for a while now. Also, the usual health warning about such services applies: you have to provide it with login information for your various accounts. You should only do this if you’re happy to trust the firm with them. Given what I’ve seen of Nutshell’s record, I’m happy to do so and I’m finding the service useful.