In the ever increasing socialness of the web, everything from news to photos to videos are being shared. Outside of ShareThis, I’m not to familiar with other sites or services that are exclusively centered around sharing items across the web. During the past week, I was tipped off to a new service that has launched called Tell A Friend. Tell A Friend is a widget that is displayed on a page that enables visitors to essentially, tell a friend about a particular item.
Tell A Friend was created by SocialTwist. SocialTwist is a company that specializes in building widgets to the point where they almost become applications. Tell A Friend is the first widget application from the company with Widget Applications soon to be developed for internal corporate use. The company has two offices, one in the U.S. (Sunnyvale, CA) and India ( Begumpet Hyderabad, AP)
The Signup Process:
In order to use the widget, you’ll have to sign up first. The sign up process contains the typical email and password fields with an additional field to configure your Site URL and then confirm whether you operate a website or a blog. The difference between the two is that if you choose the blog option, you’ll be able to select from a list of popular blogging platforms to make installation of the widget easier. For this review, I selected blog and from the dropdown menu, I selected the WordPress Engine Plugin.
After signing up, you’ll be sent an activation email. Once you agree to their terms of service, you’ll be able to login to the site.
Using Tell A Friend:
Once logged in, you’ll gain access to your Widget Code which is the same thing as your account id number. Installation instructions for using the widget with TypePad, WordPress, Blogger, and Textpattern can also be found in this location. If you’re using a self installed version of WordPress, download and install the Tell A Friend plugin. I can’t link to the plugin because it is dynamically generated with your user account ID number. Once the plugin is activated on your blog, the widget will automatically be placed at the end of your content. For example:
Configuring The Widget:
If you’re worried about the Widget not blending in with your blog design, don’t be. Tell A Friend provides options to change the widgets design. You can even configure the design of the button to be a large, small, or medium sized graphic. There is sure to be an option that looks good with your design.
When configuring the widget, you’ll come across something called Channels. These channels are labeled as email, IM, blog, and social. When a visitor hovers their mouse cursor over one of these particular channels on the widget, a row of services will popup enabling visitors to share a particular piece of content with their friends which of course is the basis behind the entire service. If you’re looking for even more customization, you can customize the message that is displayed when someone shares content through a particular channel.
Keeping tabs on who is using the widget is made simple since Tell A Friend provides a usage stats page that is tied to your account. The stats showcase channel usage, widget views, widget uses, and more.
All in all, Tell A Friend enables exactly that. The ability for visitors to tell their friends about something cool they’ve found. However, it is difficult for me to recommend using this widget versus something like ShareThis which is established and performs exactly the same functions as Tell A Friend. However, competition is a good thing and if ShareThis doesn’t suit your fancy, Tell A Friend makes a nice alternative.