6 little-known tools to streamline your online life

From gathering and disseminating Web content to organizing your real life—you do have one, don’t you?—this dazzling half-dozen will ease your mind while making you more efficient.

Technology is great: Our Gmail (plus 17 Google Labs and plug-ins), Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and [insert favorite social network here] accounts help us connect with friends and family, make an impression on potential employers, and engage with professional contacts.

But all that digital activity can be overwhelming, not to mention time consuming.

Enter a whole crop of new tools, apps, and plug-ins designed to help you weed out the social noise; organize your friends, followers, and contacts; browse more easily; and generally streamline your online life.

Here are six you’ve (probably) never heard of, but that are definitely worth checking out.

For faster, better browsing: Disconnect

With this browser extension, you can increase security and stop third-party sites from tracking you. Plus, Disconnect loads pages 27 percent faster and removes the clutter—such as ads, widgets, and analytics—from your browsing experience. Faster, cleaner, and safer Web browsing? Sign us up.

For sorting content: Archetype

Take a short quiz to find out your “archetype,” then get online content that’s categorized specially for you based on your interests, industry, preference for visuals versus text, and more. By dishing up only what’s fresh and tailored to your liking, Archetype takes the stress out of reading tons of extraneous blog posts and tweets to find great reading material—not to mention that it gives you content to share with your networks that won’t be the same regurgitated headlines everyone else is sharing.

For updating your contacts: Writethat.name

This handy tool automatically pulls info from your emails to keep your contact list up to date—no more tedious updating from business cards and email signatures. It even includes people’s social handles so you can email, call, or tweet them right from your address book. It works with both Gmail and Outlook, and if you use HighRise or Salesforce, you can sync the system there, too.

For keeping all your friends in one place: Brewster

Along similar lines, the Brewster app creates an all-in-one address book by taking everyone you know across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Foursquare, and your email accounts and creating a unique profile for each person by displaying their contact and social media information all in the same view. Brewster then leverages all those data by notifying you about updates from your contacts, for instance if someone has moved to a new city or landed a new job.

For sharing content in one click: Dlvr.it

I don’t believe in automatic social media content publishing in general, but automating the delivery of your blog posts across social networks is one valid exception. Dlvr.it makes that process super-simple, bundling each blog post for publication to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can even measure audience engagement and reach with each post. You can easily shave off 15 minutes a day (or more if you blog multiple times per day).

For finding new events: SpotOn

Ready to get offline? Instead of trawling through your dozens of Facebook event invitations, use this app, which intelligently analyzes your calendar to suggest new real-life events and activities based on your hobbies and interests. Love to run, and have a free day on Saturday? SpotOn can suggest running clubs or races for you to join.

A version of this article first appeared on The Daily Muse.


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