It had to happen – rather belatedly finding out something to inspire blogging ‘on the fly’.
Thanks to a tweet from OwenC about 6 applications that made 2008 special, I am busy exploring Zemanta. I’m doing this after jumping over to Owen’s blog, and having a quick chat about it just to check if I should download this new addition to my suit of FireFox plugins.
Interesting app…see the picture I’ve dropped into the post? It’s one of many that appear in the Zemanta toolkit, which responds to the content that your are writing in your post. (Now here’s a challenge – the next day one of the images had disappeared! Try again!)
I like that I can drag a picture from that selection straight into the blog
post – but I can’t use the normal editing to position that picture (unless I set the preferences to xHTML in zemanta). Alternatively a quick jump into the html allows me to move the picture around easily enough. I can also ‘filter’ or search the image pool too. It’s also rather clever the way the image captures attribution – though I have no idea what the source of the images are and if they are indeed creative commons accessible ones. (ok on closer examination, I can see that hovering over the image pool provides the source of the image and its attribution! Cool!)
Zemanta also pulls up content from other sites, drawing on your main topic. I can jump over to them if I see something directly relevant, and add it to this post. In this way I discovered that CWillliams has answered some of my queries about Zemanta. Diane also explains:
Zemanta provides you with an easy way of finding and adding photo’s to your blog posts, it recommends SEO tags based on the content of your blog posts – and this is a very cool feature as it’s next to impossible to think of all the relevant tags that could be used. Zemanta also provides you one click access to content related to your blog post .
I’ve picked a few related articles prompted by Zemanta:
Installation is easy..reminds me of Flock, which I used to use before it became so heavyweight.
Another feature is the automatic creation of links within the post. These are generated by Zemanta, at the bottom of the writing window. Simply choose and click and the links are hyperlinked within the post for you. Mostly these seem pretty relevant.
Zemanta also suggest tags to add to the post! This is something I don’t pay enough attention too, so it will be quite helpful for me.
After more investigation I find that I can add my Flickr account and link to my own images!In fact, if I want to, I can connect my Facebook, MyBlogLog and Twitter accounts to Zemanta and when you post about your friends, their blogs and websites will be added.
Very Nice. Looks as if I am going to have to review my blogging processes for 2009. Any advice would be most welcome!
Thanks for the feedback.. I found other option and discovered that it worked pretty well. Great application.
Jude, if you use default HTML style then we integrate into native WordPress image layout tool. In Visual Editor, just hover over the inserted image and in upper left an icon of an image will appear. If you click on it, you’ll get a pop-up that will allow you to modify aspects of the image, including the positioning.
Let me know if you have any questions or ideas about Zemanta.
Jure Cuhalev, Zemanta
I played with Zemanta a few months ago, but found it quite annoying. It kept suggesting things I didn’t want and I found it’s “intelligence” lacking and it’s visual design quite ordinary. Glad you’re finding it useful though.
Interesting that you say Flock is too heavyweight. Ever since you mentioned it to me ages ago, I’ve been a keen Flock user, and I use it as my main (and mostly only) browser. I don’t always use the integration of all the social tools, but I like that they are there. I haven’t really noticed Flock as being heavyweight though, and now that it runs on the Firefox 3 engine it’s fast and stable. Haven’t had a browser crash in months! I don’t use all of the Flock features, but the ones that are there I really like (Flickr uploader, Blog This tools, Web notebook, Blog editor, and Gmail integration) I don’t use the Twitter, Facebook and other feeds much (although they are all enabled) and I don’t bookmark anything locally, only to delicious.com, the local bookmarking tools are useless to me. Having my browser remember my membership of things like Digg is useful though, as is the ability to send an email of the current URL.
Mind you, FF3 is certainly leaner and if I could find plugins to extend Firefox to do the handful of things that make Flock so wonderful I’d probably switch.
Chris, I reckon the core to some of this is FF3. I am much happier with FF3. It is very sleek on a Mac, but also great on my old PC box making it work more efficiently (Chrome is best at that though). It might mean that Flock is now built on FF3? so it might be leaner and more effective? I used to love Flock, then it go so cumbersome with ad-ons. I plan to take another look at it again after playing with Zemanta, as I like anything that helps us do our work a bit more efficiently. If you’re still on it, then it must be worth a revisit.