Social Aggregation

Social network aggregation is the process of collecting content from multiple social network services, such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. into one unified presentation. The task is often performed by a social network aggregator, which pulls together information into a single location, or helps a user consolidate multiple social networking profiles into one profile.

^ That’s the definition from Wikipedia – and boy are there a few out there now. All very expensive. I bet you they have some pretty heavy overhead costs too!

What we’ve done with Afterglow is let you pull in a bunch of your favourite social feeds into a single page. You can run multiple campaigns on each feed – such as a hashtag contest on Twitter, then an image contest on Instagram, and why not throw in your RSS feed from your blog posts and some Facebook engagements for good measure? I just added #hashtags for Instagram today, and tweaked the instant-loading nature of the homepage so it gives you a fast (better) example of real time updates, rather than having to wait 60 seconds for it to refresh. Turns out people don’t have that kind of attention span. Who would have thought? :)

I’m the Fommy

Well, close enough anyways. I’m the father that does the job of a “stereotypical” mother. Because why not? Why should the moms get all the fun? I’m the one who drops the kids off every morning, and picks them up every afternoon – the first face they see in the morning and the last they see at night. I left my job two years ago to work from home and not only did it save us a ton of money but I got to spend 24 months with these guys:

Awesome day with the boys!

A photo posted by @thebrendancarr on

But that means I’m now in a state of flux – what to do next? Do I keep doing what I’m doing or go back to working a regular steady job and end up putting the oldest back in after school care?  I’ve had time to bring some more changes to Afterglow (including real time social streaming and an updated dashboard, plus more feeds via APIs)… and launch that email service… plus have been much more involved with the clients I do have, which they are much happier with. Time will tell!


What I’ve Learned from Blogging Moms

I do a lot of different things – some of it web related, some of it IT, and a lot of it is complicated stuff. I recently helped a high school friend move her blog from to a self-hosted environment at bluehost. Parenting From The Heart was an easy one – not a ridiculous amount of posts, only a few sidebar items, and I was able to get through it relatively quickly. Alana then started sending me referrals for other blogger mommies who wanted to do the same thing: go from WordPress hosting (or another platform) into their very own web space. Great! Almost a niche market!


When you move between platforms there’s the usual things you have to change, such as updating permalinks, making sure featured images are set, picking a new theme and setting it up, switching DNS, etc…. but then there’s the other things you don’t think about right away. Like connecting Jetpack and getting your subscribers transferred, or re-setting up widgets because they don’t come across manually. When the blog has been well established you sometimes have to break the database file into several parts to import several times. If it’s coming from Blogger you need to import all of the images, re-do some of the permalinks for social media sharing and shareaholic, and then teach them how to use it.

So here’s what I ran into: Blogging moms know their stuff. You seriously can’t train someone this quickly to pick up on WordPress – maybe it’s just the act of being a mom makes you unafraid to just try something, and if it doesn’t work or you break it, and you can’t figure it out, THEN you ask for help. I recently migrated someone from Blogger, and I took a few screenshots to show her how to edit posts and make sure that featured images were set. Before I knew it, she had set up the slider, re-done the menu, uploaded plugins that she needed, and just had some questions about the permalinks (which were different thanks to a Blogger->WordPress import). She had never used it before and thanks to several years of blogging, blew my expectations out of the water and did some of the work herself.

Needless to say, I’m fairly impressed – it almost makes me wonder if it’s worth it to hire a mommy blogger to help out with WordPress posts and managing sites, rather than someone who dedicates themselves to managing websites on a daily basis. The difference is, they use it themselves regularly, know what works from a marketing/SEO perspective, and know how to get social linked up in a way that can be monetized on. This is the kind of thing that it takes some people years to learn! Just some food for thought…


I have been slowly working towards adding Pulse to Afterglow – think of it like a heartbeat, every so often it will re-check the server for updated media posts and automagically display them in the open feed. Real time updates you say? Yes. Yes they are. I’m going to have the Pulse controlled from another variable, similar to debug, maxitems, and sort order. The defaults at this point are still going to be 7 items, debug off, and sort order by date (unix timestamped, of course).

The new server is doing great – very happy with Virpus.