Tech, Gadgets, Photography, Social Media and Poor Spelling
As an individual firmly committed to his iPad in so much as I use it far more than my Laptop, finding just the right apps for some tasks can be an expensive chore as Apple continue to support terrible paid apps while offering no refunds. With that in mind I thought it prudent to share what I have found to be personal favourites in the realm of social media and why I like them.
The current king of the hill, top of the heap in social media is Facebook, which makes it surprising that with this huge move towards mobile computing it’s offerings on iPad and Android are so terrible. I find the native Facebook App to be buggy, slow and not the best service advertisement available. That being said there are alternatives out there primarily because Facebook took so damn long to get into the iPad space. Having tried about 10 different apps I have settled on Fera as it offers pretty much all the Facebook functionality in a well thought out interface in a packed App area it’s little things like being able to post images to groups, quick access to often used areas of Facebook that make the difference as well as no annoying banner ads, however this does mean its a paid for app.
As google carry on and don’t keep calm when it comes to Apple they start to cut off their nose to spite their face with a lack of iPad app, sure there is an iOS iPhone app, even in its latest incarnation it’s pretty awful in x2 mode. The mobile website is dire almost to the point of unusable and searching for a google+ app in the AppStore provides very little in the way of options. That’s where iShare comes into its own, it is well hidden and pay for app however in the barren landscape that is Google+ apps it’s a diamond in the rough offering access via a good touch interface to the Streams, Hangouts and other features Google has on offer. It’s other saving grace is it doesn’t rehash the website in the various sections like other apps do, some thought has gone into the layout and design of the whole experience.
Considering the monumental numbers the iPad sells in this is the third social app which has only recently embraced the larger screen size of the tablet. The native application has morphed into a cross between online recruitment app and online news app displaying the information coming out of the groups you are a member of in a better looking news feed than most rss apps out there. As I still don’t see any real point to linked in as no one actually does anything more than collates a list of contacts and few people actually post content i will spend little more time on it other than to say if you are thinking of creating a news app, take a look at this one as inspiration first.
Embracing the iPad very early on and having a huge choice of apps providing so many ways to see your stream, the core stream, groups whatever twitter themselves have done a good job with their own offering, indeed inspiring a look and feel other apps have used to display other social networks (mypad). There are several choices and my proffered use of the native app probably reflects more on how I use Twitter than anything else. I do use Trickle on a daily basis while at work as my window to the world. Others notable contenders also include Twitterific which I do use on the Android phone and OSX platform, and have flipped between on the iPad. Twitter is a hard one as it has different usages and reasons for using however I believe the native apps a good place to start, and it’s free.
Having covered the major players in the Social space I wanted to cover Skype who have made a great strides even after being taken over by Microsoft. This single action may have historically killed the innovation at this particular brand however it seems for the moment Microsoft are leaving well alone and this is making skype the default FaceTime replacement because of its cross compatibility. While companies like Sipgate have provided VoIP alternatives as have Counterpath with Bria the fact your gran has probably heard of Skype makes all the difference when you want to communicate while “half the world away” (sorry got Oasis on the headphones) the app is clean and easy to use and other than Fring has few competitors.
Ok, hands up here, I don’t use instant messaging any more, however that being said most of the majors are covered with native and third party apps, I would really like to know what makes a good man chat app? I do Facebook chat in the Facebook app above and like most social networks no longer know anyone on an instant messaging network so have no one to communicate with..
While social media feels much of the time like we are compiling a list of people we don’t keep in touch with in real life or just because we can there are some good apps for socialising over business networks. Both the big boys Citrix with gotoMeeting and Webex have fantastic apps for video/conf calling which as time has gone on have added features and gained traction for the desktop services.. This adds a lot of promise for business’s and apps which make use of this and other mobile platforms.
So what can we learn from this.,? Well I think it is fair to say that despite huge hardware sales it has taken and still is some of the major players some time to get their act together which in turn has opened up the market to third party apps which are just as good if not better than the native apps. However most of the big social media hitters other than google now seem committed to providing for the 50million odd iPad users world wide. Social is about being mobile and this platform is about expression so the future can only be bright..