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Consolidating Your Activities Across Multiple Social Networks

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If you use multiple social networking services, such as Twitter and Facebook, it can be a pain tracking all your friends and making posts across networks. If you frequent more than one social networking service — Facebook and Twitter, say, or maybe even LinkedIn or MySpace — you also face the challenge of coordinating your posts across those multiple networks. If you have lots of friends and are yourself a frequent poster, it can be a full time job keeping everything in sync.In this article, Michael Miller, author of Sams Teach Yourself TweetDeck in 10 Minutes, shows you a variety of tools that help you consolidate your social networking activities — and make social networking a lot less time consuming.
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As an avid social networker, you know the challenge of keeping up to date on all the posts and updates and tweets that your friends and colleagues make during the course of day. If you frequent more than one social networking service—Facebook and Twitter, say, or maybe even LinkedIn or MySpace—you also face the challenge of coordinating your posts across those multiple networks. If you have lots of friends and are yourself a frequent poster, it can be a full time job keeping everything in sync.

This is why you need some sort of tool that manages your communications across multiple social networks. These tools, such as TweetDeck, Seesmic, and HootSuite, let you compose a single message and have it posted automatically to multiple social networks. In addition, you can follow all of your friends’ posts and tweets in one place, using a single unified interface.

That’s right, you can finally consolidate communications from Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and other major social networks. You don’t have to log onto each of these services to stay up to date; the social management tool serves as a focal point for posting and reading posts from all of these services.

Managing Your Social Networking with TweetDeck

The most popular social networking management tool is TweetDeck, which makes it easy to manage all the posts you make and read to multiple social networks. Instead of logging onto Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn separately, you can read posts from all these services in the TweetDeck application. The program’s multi-column interface helps you organize communications by service or topic, so that you can quickly see who’s saying what and where. You can search for people or topics across multiple social networks, and save those searches for future use.

TweetDeck also makes it easier to post on your favorite social networks. You can send a single post to multiple services, and include photos, videos, and web links in your posts. TweetDeck even lets you make longer posts by linking together multiple tweets.

There are several different versions of TweetDeck for different types of computers and devices. Each version of Twitter has a slightly different feature set, and connects to a different set of social networks; all are available for free. As of Spring 2011, the following versions are available:

  • TweetDeck for Desktop. Available in both Windows and Mac versions. Connects to Facebook, Foursquare, Google Buzz, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Twitter.
  • TweetDeck for Chrome. A web-based version of the application that works within the Google Chrome browser. Connects to Facebook, Foursquare, Google Buzz, and Twitter.
  • TweetDeck for Android. Connects to Facebook, Foursquare, Google Buzz, and Twitter.
  • TweetDeck for iPhone and iPod Touch. Connects to Facebook and Twitter only. (A new version is currently in development.)
  • TweetDeck for iPad. Connects to Twitter only. (A new version is currently in development.)

To download TweetDeck for Desktop (it’s free), go to http://www.tweetdeck.com. When you launch the application, you see that the TweetDeck window consists of a series of columns, each containing a particular type of data; how many columns are displayed depends on the width of your computer screen.

Figure 1 TweetDeck for Desktop.

By default, TweetDeck for Desktop displays five Twitter-related columns:

  • All Friends. Displays the latest tweets from the Twitterers you follow.
  • Mentions. Displays any tweets in which you’ve been mentioned.
  • Direct Messages. Displays private messages sent to you from other Twitterers.
  • Trending. Displays the current hot topics on the Twitter site.
  • TweetDeck Recommends. Displays recommended Twitterers you might like to follow.

When you configure TweetDeck for other social networks, you see additional columns specific to those networks.

To post a message from TweetDeck, click the Compose Update button on the left side of the TweetDeck toolbar. This displays the message pane (what TweetDeck calls the Update Window); from here click the button for each social network you want to post to. Enter the text of your post into the text box; your post can be up to 140 characters long, to conform with Twitter’s 140-character limit. Click the Send button and your message is posted to the services you selected. For example, if you clicked the Twitter button, your post will appear as a tweet in your Twitter feed; if you selected the Facebook button, your post will appear as a Facebook status update.

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