I try not to write about tools, but once and awhile it can’t hurt.  Digsby’s one of those tools that you just want to talk about and share.  The gist of Digsby is that it is a one-stop-shop for many IM, email, and social network sites that you use.  In my case, I’ve tied Google Talk, AOL, Gmail, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter into one tool with which I manage them all.

Digsby allows you to manage multiple accounts in each of the IM, email or SNS that you use.  For instance, I manage multiple Twitter accounts, one personal and one for NYSCATE. I can update each of these right from the System Tray in Windows as well as read, compose and manage email.  In addition,  just last night, I learned that you can make video/voice calls through Digsby.

One of the other great things is that I can now uninstall some of the applications and browser add-ons that suck up resources on my computer.  I’ve gotten rid of a host of add-ons for Firefox that allowed me to update my statuses, ask a question or read/answer emails. Now I don’t have to have a web browser open to do so, keeping me on task.  🙂

A downside, is that Digsby isn’t ready for all platforms yet, even so, keep your eye on it.

One of the biggest hurdles educators face in adopting an online presence for their own learning is that they don’t want to manage multiple accounts, usernames, passwords, applications, etc.  Is Digsby one of those tools can can help or is it just one more that adds to the confusion?

For my workflow and connecting with others it’s been valuable and I can see myself using regularly.  Digsby developers… how about a mobile application for BlackBerry and iPhone users?  🙂

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8 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Ah, thanks for this, Brian! I plan to take a peek at using, thanks to your recommendation.

    Wondering more about your tweet, actually, and the statement you make here about tools, and how you hate to recommend. Struggle a lot with this myself.

    Conundrum: when I show anyone a new tool or recommend, it seems that all thinking about instruction/assessment as a process is lost. But when I focus on instruction/assessment….teachers don’t often discover new tools on their own. Trying to bring it all together is the challenge for me.

    Would love your perspective on this.

  2. It’s not that I hate to recommend tools. I think it’s more that there are sooooo many tools available today that to keep recommending them misses the point of finding one that meets a need or goal. The challenge is really getting someone to think about what they really want to do, or have students do or know, then deciding to look for a new tool or to keep the “old way”. Let’s face it, there are a lot of teachers adopting “web 2.0” tools and teaching very much the same as they always have been.

    In response to your conundrum…

    I think when we’re talking about educators we really are talking about learners too. We should treat them as any learner and teach them as individuals. I often have a conversation with my wife about how teachers should adopt technology for themselves before they implement it into the classroom. We always come to the consensus that some teachers should own it first, but others just seem to “get it” and are able to successfully implement tools with their students. The difference? I think it’s that the teachers who can implement them right away have a clearer understanding about what they want to do AND understands the potential a chosen tool has to make it real.

    I’m not sure if this addressed your specific situation, but when talking about technology we HAVE TO ALWAYS ask the question… what is it you want to do?

  3. I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts with me. This year has offered some tremendous opportunity to begin making better use of tools in meaningful ways, and your experiences are helping to inform what I’m noticing as well.

    Several teachers and admins I’m working with have begun adopting some of these tools for professional purposes–they are really excited by the return on their investment and feeling much more comfortable using them with kids as well. Interesting you should mention that. Great point.

    I do have one teacher who has dove right into blogging despite a lack of experience/comfort. She’s relying on me/kids to guide her along until she picks up speed a bit, but very eager. Looking forward to watching what unfolds…thanks again!

  4. Return on investment, I’ve got to remember that one to use in a meeting/workshop. As for the one teacher, I think that example speaks to her willingness to be a learner and trust in her students. Gathering that she trys to know her students well.

    Thanks for your comments!

  5. I am a grad-student in an Into to Educational Technology Class. We are learning about all the great possibilities available through Wikis, Blogs, and tools such as Digsby. Its fascinating, but also very overwhelming. I definitely appreciated your Digsby suggestion and am definitely going to try it. After all, I have to start somewhere! Thank you!

  6. @Lisa, thanks for your comment (and reading). Glad to hear you are getting started with social software (blogs, wikis, etc.) . Digsby has been one of the best tools for me to use in managing all of this stuff (as you’ve read). I can’t say enough about how to start small or with one tool that fits a need. I’ve found, as I use one tool, it often leads to another application of that tool that I had not know about previously (i.e. – using Del.icio.us not for just bookmarking, but as a search engine).

    Please let me know if you have any questions and thanks again for your comment!

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