Most of us don’t think of our browser as a social media tool. I can assure you that after going through this list of Firefox plugins, you’ll take it more seriously and if you’re running another browser, you might want to take this one for a ride.
What’s beautiful about Firefox, besides the underdog story behind it, is that it’s open source and it provides with an insane number of tools developed by programmers all over the world allowing you to personalize your experience.
One more thing I will mention before starting this list is that I’m not suggesting in any way that you go and download a dozen of plugins, see what works better for you and stick with a few. Here we go:
Yoono is a powerful tool that sits on your browser as a sidebar and you can turn on and off as desired. You can access and manage your activity on different networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Flickr as well as IM services like Google Talk or AIM.
2. Bit.ly Sidebar
The Bit.ly sidebar simply rocks (I’ll admit I’m a big fan of Bit.ly…). You can trigger the sidebar from any website and share content on Twitter without ever visiting the actual application or Bit.ly itself. It also shows you a quick snapshot of the stats if the piece of content has been previously shared by other Bit.ly users and gives you the option to post on Facebook or email it.
3. Subscribe with UberVU
UberVU is an application that helps you track conversations on different networks. It is a great listening tool that everyone should include as part of a social media strategy. The team at UberVU has recently launched this bookmarlet that gives you a quick view of the reactions that post has generated and lets you subscribe and receive alerts via email. Use it to track your own content and be on top of the conversation.
4. AddThis or ShareThis
You have seen the ShareThis or AddThis buttons all over but you can also install the plugins to add them on your browser with the same functionality. Just another comfortable way of sharing content to several platforms without leaving the site.
Of course if you’re a Digg user, the toolbar makes it easy to digg content by just clicking the button. The latest version displays the count and button on the URL bar to save space but if you find it annoying you can turn it on and off.
6. StumbleUpon Toolbar
Similar to Digg but with its own toolbar on the browser, I find the StumbleUpon plugin every useful to save content I want to read later or just bookmark websites. It is also great to submit your own content. You can “stumble” without going to the site, a feature that I don’t use much to be honest.
7. Share on Posterous
One of my favorites since I use Posterous to share content from other sources (Awesomeness Around The Web). The “Share on Posterous” plugin opens a little window on the side of the browser and grabs the information displayed on the page including different types of media formats such as photography, also giving you the option to edit and add your own comment. There is also a similar plugin if you prefer Tumblr.
8. Read Later (InstaPaper)
InstaPaper is as simple as its tagline, “A simple tool to save web pages for reading later”, one click (truly just one step) to bookmark content to comeback later. What I love about it is that it eliminates the clutter around the content for a minimalistic approach to reading.
9. Facebook Toolbar
The easiest way of not going to the actual site, while most of the options are a navigation you can also share content and update your status from the toolbar.
From HootSuite, it not only offers sharing to several Twitter accounts, Facebook profile, fan pages and LinkedIn but you can also schedule your posts without going to the platform. Quick and painless.
11. Facebook Sidebar Chat
This is something that you need to setup by yourself on Firefox since it’s not a plugin, it takes the Facebook chat from its original location to the sidebar, a good way of leaving the site while keeping the chat alive. If you are interested in the setup, you can get a little step-by-step screencast here.
Among other things, I use Firebug to measure blog loading times, after all your blog is an essential part of your social media and loading times can really affect your performance. The cool thing about it is that you can get an easy-to-read breakdown of how long each single item on the page is taking to load so you can improve. For example, how the ShareThis plugin takes forever and it’s about to get replaced on this blog… sorry.
An oldie but still useful. Again, painless bookmarking. Use it also to bookmark your own content, Delicious has proven to be a good source of traffic back to your blog.
The TwitterBar provides you with a quick option to send a Tweet, it sits in the address bar. Just type and click the icon.
WiseStamp is a plugin to help you create a nice email signature including icons to your Social Networks and even a RSS feed that displays a link to your latest blog post. It works with web-based email clients like Gmail.
Share Your Favorite Plugins…
There are plenty of tools out there that you can implement to your Firefox browser and I have included a few here, now you can share your favorite ones in the comments section of this post. Tell us about your experience and how you use them…