By now, a lot of us are on a pretty huge number of different social networks. You might tweet while you Facebook, or Yammer while you Tumble, but we’re all spread out across networks, with different people and different types of interactions happening on each.
Managing all of these networks often presents two options: either set them all up to post to each other and get the same content and updates on every network, or spend an inordinate amount of time typing made-up words into your address bar.
If you’ve got the right tools in hand, though, your task becomes a little easier. There are a few great applications out there that will help you manage all (or at least some) of your social networks all in one place, making interacting and connecting much simpler and more efficient.
TweetDeck started out as a Twitter-only client, but it has since integrated Facebook and LinkedIn – since, for many of us, those are the three most time-consuming networks that we’re on, TweetDeck is a perfect solution. You can post updates to one network (or all three at once) with just one click, and add columns from each network’s information right next to Twitter. It’s all your friends, all in one place.
Brizzly is just like TweetDeck, but works on the Web. You can see and update Twitter, or write on friends’ walls and update your status on Facebook, all with the click of a button. Brizzly doesn’t intertwine Facebook and Twitter quite as much as TweetDeck does, but it’s easy to switch between the two to keep tabs on everyone.
Seesmic is the most complete of all the solutions for managing your social networks, no matter how many you’ve got. Seesmic has a Web application, a desktop app for any operating system, and apps for your phone, all designed to keep you in touch. The really great thing about Seesmic, though, is that they recently bought Ping.fm. Ping.fm is a service that lets you post from anywhere (IM, email, text messages, the Web) to anywhere (just about any social network you can think of). No switching apps or websites—just update one or all, right from the application.
Yoono’s killer feature is the ability to create essentially a social universe within a small application – either a desktop app for Windows, or a Firefox extension. You add your Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, IM accounts and more, and can switch between them and do things like upload photos, chat, read updates in real-time, and share links across networks. It’s not the simplest interface, and you can’t do everything in every network, but it’s perfect for skimming all your networks every once in a while.
What Pond does is a lot like these other services—add a network, do the basics on all of them in one place—but it has one uniquely great twist: a universal contacts list. Let’s say you’ve got a friend who’s on Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter—Pond pulls all that information together and makes it a single contact, meaning you can see your friend’s updates on any social network, all in one place. It’s organized by person much more than network, which is a neat spin on social networking.
If you’ve got more social network accounts than pairs of pants, don’t spend all your time opening new tabs, logging in and looking around. Get one of these applications, plug all your networks into it, and get a lot more done much faster. Just don’t go Plurking in my Orkut.