Five Online Tools You Should Use

Wrench imageToday is a big day. In 12 short hours, I’ll have walked across the stage at Elon University and received my master’s degree in interactive media with 35 talented and creative people.

I’ve learned an incredible amount in the program. Just take a look at my multimedia portfolio. I couldn’t create any of that media-rich web content before I entered the program.

I’ve also tried out hundreds of online tools over the past 10 months of my graduate program. Here are my five favorite tools that are easy to use and give you the most traction in the interactive media world.

  1. Delicious: This social bookmarking site isn’t a new one, but it has proved indispensable. I use it every day, whether glancing at it to find an old bookmark, making a new one or checking out a friend’s favorite sites.
  2. Google Reader: Again, the concept here isn’t new, but it this RSS reader has allowed me to put my hands on more new ideas in the past 10 months than 1,000 years in the classroom. I mean, hey, they’re pretty cool. Even if you don’t use Google Reader, find one and give it a try.
  3. Posterous: Half-blogging tool, half micro-blogging tool, this site is my new favorite. I just started a new learning journal there, and am looking to start a collaborative blog with Elon iMedia classmate Steve Earley using Posterous in the future.The site is innovative, easy to use and fun. I wish it outputted valid XHTML though.
  4. Web Developer Add-on for Firefox (and Firebug): This should really be number one. I’ve used it more than anything as I’ve created websites and other web-related projects. Quick, go find out how these tools help make writing web pages, validating them and more easier and faster.
  5. People: There’s one link for this, and it’s all my classmates in the inaugural interactive media master’s program at Elon University. I’ve learned more from these people than any other tool. Good interactive media follows best practices in design and technical aspects, while pushing the edges of what’s possible. Groundbreaking interactive media does that, and connects with people. And you can’t connect with people if you can’t learn from them.

Image by Jomirano.