The recent popularity of social networking has revolutionised the once-simple list of contacts and email addresses. So where to start?
1. LinkedIn.com is an effective tool for those who want to keep track of colleagues and old university friends. At signup you’re given the option to specify your work industry and education, which allows you to find information about new jobs or companies that may be of interest.
2. Once logged in you’ll see a range of tabs for finding people, jobs or services, as well as an Answers section for getting recommendations and advice on professional matters. The My Profile section is the place to enter personal information, while Expand Your Network allows you to invite friends and colleagues.
3. If you’ve got a Google account, Google Calendar (google.com/calendar) is a convenient way to plan and share your schedules. After logging on, view daily, weekly or monthly entries or add events by clicking ‘Create Event’. As well as being able to set repeat events, you can provide descriptions for various activities.
4. To share your schedule, click ‘Manage calendars’. Select a calendar from the list that appears and click ‘Share this calendar’. The page that appears provides options to share your calendar with everyone or with specific people only. You can also stipulate whether they are allowed to change events.
5. For knocking your online information into shape in the new year, you might want to try ‘lifestreaming’ with a site such as dandelife.com, which collects friends’ websites and news in one place. After logging on, click My Streams to start organising your data from other social-networking sites.
6. On the next page, you’ll see a number of fields to enter your login details or URLs for various social-networking sites, RSS feeds and other sites such as Facebook, Flickr and Amazon. After you enter each of these, click Verify and they’ll be added to your dandelife home page.
7. There are plenty of social-bookmarking sites online. We recommended diigo.com. This installs a small applet (called a Diigolet) in your browser bar, where you can store and annotate links quickly and easily for retrieval at a later date. It’s also possible to store bookmarks and groups on the Diigo site.
8. A particularly useful feature of the Diigolet is that you can annotate pages once you’ve signed into the site. Select any text on a page and click on Highlight from the Diigolet menu in your browser. You can also add notes – simply right-click on your chosen text and select ‘Add sticky note’.