HOW TO: Use Gmail and iGoogle To Create a Social Media Dashboard for Your Nonprofit
UPDATE: There is now a new Google Buzz Gadget for iGoogle.
The launch of Google Buzz prompted me to better explore the suite of Google Products, and I have to say I was pretty astounded by what I found. Once I started clicking around and adding Gadgets and experimenting with Buzz, Reader, Themes, Maps, Gmail, Google News and hopefully soon Google Voice, it was immediately clear that I was going to start using iGoogle and Gmail much more often. Now I am actually quite curious about what Google will do next. Not only that, iGoogle is now my new Homepage (View Screenshots).
One of the coolest functions of Gmail and iGoogle is the ability to create a Social Media Dashboard using Gmail, iGoogle, Gadgets, and Themes. There are thousands of useful Gadgets you can explore and utilize, but nonprofits can also easily create and custom design their own Gadgets and Themes to share with the iGoogle community. I am using the Sierra Club Theme (see the screenshots below). Additionally, Google Reader allows you to Share content on your various social media sites directly from your Google account. That topic will be discussed later. In the meantime, some basic first steps:
First, create a new Gmail/Google account for your nonprofit (if you haven’t already). If it is still available, create an account that matches you social media profiles.
Second, while logged into your new account, add the Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Flickr, etc. Gadgets and then “Edit” them to be linked to your nonprofit’s accounts. If your nonprofit has a YouTube channel, but doesn’t actually upload videos then use the YouTube Sidebar Widget. It allows you to feature your “Favorites” from your YouTube channel on your iGoogle. For example, the Nonprofit Organizations YouTube Channel uses only Favorites.
iGoogle Home > Twitter
iGoogle Home > Facebook
iGoogle Home > MySpace
iGoogle Home > Gmail
The only little glitch here is that Buzz in not available in the iGoogle version of Gmail. You have to “Launch Full Gmail” to be able to use Buzz (in a seperate browser). I am hoping soon someone will launch a Google Buzz Gadget that can be added to iGoogle, but Mashable also recently wrote a post about how you can add Gadgets to Gmail if your prefer Gmail to be your Google Home.