Fire Your Event Planner

What? That headline couldn't be right. But a very popular technology blog, called Make Use Of (www.makeuseof.com), argues in a posting titled “6 Reasons to Fire Your Event Planner and Use Google Instead” (http://tinyurl.com/8yfwzu) that you might be replaceable by the search engine. The post praises many Google services that support event planning and shares some of the great Google tools available. You know me, I love the Google tools, but “Fire the Event Planner”? I think not.

So What's That Tiny URL Thing?

One of my favorite cool tools over the past few years is the free Web application named Tiny URL (www.tinyurl.com). It's a one-trick pony, but I happen to like the trick very much. Ever have a Web site link that you need to e-mail (or post on Facebook or Twitter), yet the link is so huge that it covers two or three lines in a standard e-mail? (Think about URLs from mapping services to get directions.) Make a copy of that URL, go to the Tiny URL site, paste the link in the box, and click the “Make Tiny URL!” button. Voila! There is a much more manageable URL. Sweet!

Sweet, You Say?

So … do you use Delicious (www.delicious.com)? It's a social bookmarking tool, and one of the most popular Web sites in this country. Here's how it works: You've found an article online that you want to read (perhaps on the great “face2face” blog by Sue Pelletier on MeetingsNet: http://blog.meetingsnet.com/face2face), but you don't have time. So you post it to your Delicious account, which gives you a Web-based interface to read what you've posted at a later time. When you save articles, Delicious prompts you to assign tags (or keywords) to help you find them — and help others find them. This is where Delicious becomes much more rich, as most users make their accounts public, allowing others to see what they've posted. (When you go onto Amazon, and they offer recommendations based on what other people have read, that's essentially the same process.)

All This Social Networking Got You Down?

I keep hearing how many folks are struggling with how to maximize their use of the more popular social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Frequently the answers can be found in blogs, and there are a few great ones that help specifically with these two tools. I'm On LinkedIn, Now What? (http://imonlinkedinnowwhat.com) is a blog, as well as a book, that shares ways to make LinkedIn more useful for you. As for Facebook, check out Why Facebook? (http://whyfacebook.com).

My Favorite Waste of Time

Well, I guess that depends on when you ask me, but for those moments when I don't want to do any work and I've just won Solitaire, I usually check out my Stumble Upon account (www.stumbleupon.com).This Web 2.0 tool allows you to find out about other Web sites based on your interests. Set up your account, identify topics of interest to you, download the toolbar (remember, no downloading of anything on work computers without IT's approval, OK?), and you're ready to go.

Monkey See, Monkey Do

A year-old user-generated video site called Monkey See (www.monkeysee.com) is a how-to site that will give you some expert advice (OK, maybe not all of it is expert) on a variety of topics. Need to know how to housebreak a puppy? Make the perfect cup of espresso? Grow a vegetable garden? This site offers a plethora of mini-tutorials.

James Spellos, CMP, is founder and president of Meeting U., a New York-based company that provides training and consulting to meeting professionals. He also is a frequent speaker on technology at meeting industry conferences. Contact him at jspellos@meeting-u.com.