I love the power of smartphone and tablet apps. If you’re like me and obtained a smart gadget at a young age (in my case, seventeen), you’ll be nodding your head in agreement when I say that we went left and right in downloading games. In fact, I had to delete some of those last week when I realized they were taking up dead space – huge files and I don’t even touch them anymore.
But a huge part of the start-up scene today is in the tech sector, and apps are no exception. That said, my best friend and I regularly scour app stores for useful apps to boost your productivity in ways you’ve never imagined. For online researchers, especially, two of these should prove to be very helpful – they’ve worked wonders for me – and even enable you to form a “collage” of what you come across. These are like Pinterest, but more general and productivity-inclined – or so that’s what I think.
The first one was introduced to me by my colleague and sister-in-arms in social development, ISED’s Noreen Bautista. It’s a neat site called Scoop.it (stylized Scoop.it! – Scoop It! Get it?); the parent corporation is also called Scoop.it, Inc.
If Pinterest lets you create boards and repost images that come from certain Web pages, Scoop.it lets you post the page itself onto a board. I first thought of it this way: it’s like your Web browser’s history, but you choose which ones to post, categorize them, and you can’t accidentally clear it by clearing your history. Making things hard for myself, yes, but that should give you a glimpse into how I think. But I digress.
The boards can be organized into any topic you like (fittingly called Topics), and you manage, or Curate, the links you find, or Scoops. You can also follow others and/or their Topics, and you can even form a community. This is the recipe for a perfect collaboration for entrepreneurs or researchers.
You can start your account off free, then there are “premium” plans that are very business-oriented and tailored to help you grow your enterprise. There are four of them: Professional (USD12.99/month), Consultants & SMBs (USD79.00/month with a USD50.00 bonus for Twitter ads), Marketers (USD199.00/month as a limited launch offer), and Enterprise (custom). The Consultants & SMBs plan contains all Professional privileges plus others, the Marketers plan contains all Consultants & SMBs plan plus others, and the Enterprise offers all privileges plus its own (including a dedicated account manager).
It even has apps for iOS and Android, and naturally, syncing is a prime feature.
Now, Scoop.it is for full-blown link curating, as your Topics are public and can be shared or referenced by others. For more temporary, internal bookmarking, I recommend another nice site-and-app, called Pocket, developed by Read It Later, Inc. My best friend shared it with me.
Unlike Scoop.it or Pinterest, Pocket simply saves a Web page you select onto a list that you can access by logging in onto its site, for future browsing (hence the corporate name). It does not have Topics or Boards, but you can assign tags to each item you pocket (pun intended) and then filter them while browsing later – which I find very efficient when I use it for multiple affairs, such as CSR Bookshelf materials, inspirations for my blog, wish list stuff, and the like. Furthermore, things you save are classified as Articles, Images, or Videos as well.
Given it is less business-oriented than Scoop.it and is more for personal productivity or reference, it offers only one premium plan. But you have the option to pay either USD4.99 a month or USD44.99 a year – which lets you save quite a fair amount. It gives you privileges such as personal back-ups of your pocketed links, suggested tags, and an expanded search, access to advanced search operators, sorting of search results, and viewing of recent searches.
I like to use it when I come across something interesting while, say, reading the news, and would like to use it for an editorial or new content for CSR Bookshelf. I then delete it when I’m done using it so that my Pocket doesn’t fill up too much – or, now that I come to think of it, I can re-post it to Scoop.it instead. That would help document what I search for, instead of erasing the record – as documentation is crucial for sustainability to be achieved.
And, yes, it also has iOS and Android apps, and even a Mac OS X app. You can even install it as a widget onto your Google Chrome Web browser so that pages you come across can automatically be Pocketed (with tags) at just a click.
I am sure readers doing heavy CSR research would find these particularly handy, and the former could give researchers a more informal but user-friendly platform – social media, for the win – to share their sources and eventually their own research. I envision CSR researchers using the community feature to form their own networks that can eventually become fully-fledged research networks into CSR, ethical conduct, charity, philanthropy, volunteerism, social business, social enterprise, business leadership, or shared value.
Click here to visit CSR Bookshelf’s Scoop.it gallery.