Information overload is a pain that can make valuable real-time communication less efficient. It’s us savvy digital natives that best handle online collaboration. So how do we filter and share valuable project information like campaign analytics, mood
boards, and creative deliverables? If the most experienced content creators don’t have it figured out, no one will. These recommendations all are free, freemium, or offer free trials. Here are 10 solutions we recommend. Skip to a section:
In autonomous organic networks, the group adopts the best possible tools in order to communicate at its highest potential. One of the perks of working in a cowork space is that new technologies and best-practices are adopted more rapidly. At hierarchical
traditional agencies, new tools are only adopted if and when the senior management is ready and comfortable with the change. Have you ever tried to convince your parents they needed a smartphone before they were ready? Likewise, there are senior high-tech managers in Rochester who are still burdened by round-tripping valuable info from their offline documents to email and back. Since Livadas Consulting moved into Carlson Cowork, our productive communication toolkit got a few updates that are already making life easier.
Problem 01: Facebook wasn’t meant for collaborative business communications. When groups form and need to chat with instant messaging apps like Skype or Hangouts, they have to learn and add everyone else to their list. That’s a chore that grows exponentially for each new user while an admin maintains a directory of first/last/email/usernames.
Slack is an awesome team collaboration tool that has chat rooms and direct messaging. It’s both an app and a website. With Slack, you are invited to a group by the group admin and then you’re done! There’s a helpful bot too!
Connectivity: Slack integrates with a bunch of other tools like Google Drive, Trello, Git, and IFTTT.
Aaron says: I’ve been using Slack for about 6 months now, both internally at Luna Digital as well as with a handful of clients and partners. We love it because it’s accessible from practically any device with an internet connection and it makes it really easy to communicate and collaborate, especially when the team isn’t in the same office
Problem 02: Sharing big files and syncing between apps.
Google Drive is free cloud storage.
Haters say: Storing valuable content in the cloud is dangerous.
Nik says: Using post-it notes or reusing passwords (see Problem 03.) is one of the most common ways people get hacked, not because cloud technology is comparatively compromised. I’ve done long-term evaluations of Box.com, Dropbox, iCloud, and Microsoft OneDrive. The free version of Google Drive gives you 15 gigs of storage. We like having it tied together with all the other Google apps such as Gmail. For $10/month you get something like a terabyte of storage. Like the others, you can sync with multiple devices. Share files with other users. Drag and drop. It’s the easiest thing in the world.
Bonus Tip: Instead of downloading PDFs to your massively cluttered Downloads folder, use your Google Drive folder. You’ll always have something handy the next time you’re looking for something good to read on your phone.
Problem 03: Waaaaay too many passwords and trying to think of memorable strong passwords.
PasswordBox is a browser plugin and secure app that allows you to automatically log in.
Haters say: I would never trust storing all my passwords together in one place.
We Say: If you don’t trust Intel (who now owns PasswordBox), you’re gonna have a hard time trusting any website that requires user login. If a small forum you’ve logged into got hacked, your email and password could be tried against large sites you may belong to like social media accounts. PasswordBox protects millions of its users from this because you can generate and store different strong passwords for each site without having to remember them, type them in, or decipher handwriting.
Problem 04: The preinstalled Notes and To-Do apps on our phones stink.
Evernote is a cross-platform, freemium app designed for note taking, organizing, and archiving.
Nik says: Every hyper-productive person I’ve met in the last few years has had Evernote on their home screen, no matter their age.
I used Sharp pocket organizers in the 90s and Compaq PDAs in the 00s. I tried a DayRunners large and small, moleskins, fieldnotes, dream journals, and the top-rated to-do list apps. Evernote reigns supreme and is an inventory of my life. Everything I’ve accomplished in the past couple years was entered into Evernote notebooks.
Capturing ideas with pen and paper is a faster more transformative process which distils memories through handwriting. If you transfer meeting notes into Evernote they’ll be more organized and searchable. Evernote sells a digital pen in its shop, and we look forward to trying Apple Pencil soon.
Problem 05: Noticing and reacting to information overload in real time.
IFTTT (IF This Then That) recipes are simple connections between products and apps. There are two types of Recipes: DO Recipes and IF Recipes. There are hundreds of awesome recipes you can setup to automate content sharing and storage. We find the most value in IF recipes because they happen automagically.
Sample IF Recipes:
- Send a weekly email digest of anything on an Amazon Wishlist that dropped in price by more than 20%.
- Retweet your saved favd tweets to a folder on Google Drive, and post to tumblr.
- Publish helpful links you tweet to a special place on your website
Problem 06: Bookmarking all the things you come across is not a visual or collaborative activity.
Pinterest is ground zero for creative inspiration and creating collaborative mood boards.
Haters say: Pinterest is mostly for stay-at-home moms who make lame crafts.
Nik Says: I’ve been cool-hunting and collaborating almost exclusively online for over 20 years. Nothing beats Pinterest’s simple share-ability and search-ability. It’s easy to see why ads on the site could generate as much as $500 million in 2016. (Source: Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities.)
Problem 07: Too many digital marketing tools
HubSpot is a high-tech all-in-one marketing automation suite for businesses.
Haters Say: We don’t need a new thing to worry about.
We Say: We manage HubSpot which is a closed-loop marketing solution. It lets us measure all aspects of your online marketing efforts, as well as tie campaign efforts back to the types of results you ultimately care most about: traffic, leads, and customers.
Problem 08: Online project management tools aren’t visual. Project Management for New Media Designers needs to be visual.
Trello could best be described as Pinterest + Basecamp.
Trinh Says: Ive been using Trello for three years with clients and personal collaborative projects. The setup is very versatile, making it easy to organize contents and stay on track with multiple projects. My go to method of order is to have the following lists; backlog, doing, review and done. I love being able to communicate, share
and view members works through different boards, especially when we can only communicate virtually.
We Say: Always-on designers love Trello so much, we use it on the weekend!
Problem 09: Monitoring multiple Twitter accounts and hashtags in real time means constantly signing in and out and clicking that (7 new tweets) link.
Use Tweetdeck, a customizable dashboard allowing you to setup various columns which refresh in real time. It takes about a day or two to get used to it.
Power users Love: columns that monitor the activity of certain users or mentions of various hashtags.
Trivia Tweetdeck used to be black and yellow before it was purchased by Twitter in 2011.
Problem 10: Waaaaaaay too many long, educational, motivational, informative, and inspiring videos to consume.
Nik Says: There’s a different way of watching videos on YouTube that has saved me hours if not days of my life.
I want to give you this tip personally just to hear your reaction and so I could explain it better over the phone!