There’s a really cool Yahoo product out there that I find immensely useful for the average internet user, and I don’t think gets enough love – Yahoo Pulse. *
If I were to describe Pulse to you, you’d probably say, “That sounds a lot like my Facebook News feed.” And you’d be right. In fact, Pulse incorporates your Facebook feed, and your Twitter feed, AND a feed of activity from your friends on Yahoo. All rolled up into one “uber-feed.” Here’s how it works, and why you should use it:
- Go to http://pulse.yahoo.com and sign in with your Yahoo id (or, you can sign in with your Google id or Facebook id – isn’t that cool?).
- You should see a couple of links and a message to link your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Do that.
- Now, when you go to pulse.yahoo.com, you should now see a combined stream of your Facebook and Twitter streams.
- You should also connect with your friends on Yahoo. You’ll then start getting updates in your Pulse stream about what they are doing on Yahoo sites (like, Buzzing up articles, bookmarking things on Delicious, posting pictures to Flickr, answering questions on Answers, etc. etc.). Just go to the Contacts tab on Pulse, and start inviting folks by importing from your other contact lists.
- Finally, as always, you should adjust your settings to make sure you’re only sharing the things you want with the people you want. Go to the Settings page and click through all of the links there and set things up in a way you feel comfortable – and do this again later after you’ve used the product a little while and have a better understanding of what’s going on.
Here are the really great things about using Pulse:
- No annoying ads! That’s right, by bypassing the Facebook site itself, you also bypass the ads (at least, for now!). You also bypass the overly aggressive tracking that Facebook does.
- All of your social updates in one place. No more visiting multiple sites to see what your friend are up to – it’s all right there. Personally, I have friends who refuse to use Facebook, and only use Twitter. This way, I get to see their updates right in line with all of the Facebook updates.
- Likewise, you’ll now have one place from which to post your updates – and it will get cross-posted to Facebook and Twitter.
- You can also Comment, Like, Reply, Retweet right from the Pulse interface.
- The updates aren’t just on this one page – you’ll see them a lot of places around Yahoo. Are you a Yahoo Mail user? You’ll get the updates there. Are you a Yahoo Messenger user? Yup, there’s a tab in Messenger AND whenever there’s a new post in any of your networks, there’s a pop-up window (make sure you’re using Messenger 10). A My Yahoo user? Yup, you can add the Yahoo Updates module to your My page and get your fix that way too. None of those describe you? I bet you’re on some site of Yahoo at least once a week reading an article, in which case, you’ll see the site-specific updates from your friends in modules along the side. And, of course, you can always just go directly to http://pulse.yahoo.com to check and post your updates.
- Lots of other nifty things (like apps, and a built-in blog, etc.)
Here’s a screenshot of what a Pulse feed looks like on My Yahoo:
I’ve been using Pulse as my primary social feed reader for nearly a year now. There are still some occasional hiccups with it, but overall, it works like a charm, and I get to leave myself logged out of Facebook (which, as you can see from my other blog posts, is important to me).
Give it a whirl – and don’t forget to invite me to connect!
* Disclaimer: As a long time employee, I make a conscious effort to not be too much of a shill for Yahoo – nothing’s worse than having a friend who’s always shouting about the same thing over and over, especially when it’s got something to do with their job. In fact, aside from the occasional tweet, I don’t think I’ve every actively promoted a Yahoo product, and certainly not in this blog.