By Roy Mathur, on 2012-12-17, for the Independent Daily, Mauritius (in which an edited version appeared)
It's funny how things change with both e-mail and online chat services largely being subsumed by messaging service protocols like XMPP which are built into many social networking apps.
Like many people, I am rather over-connected with social media and have have WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, Google+ and Pinterest accounts. In my defence, if I was not constantly looking for gainful employment, I would happily drop many of these accounts tomorrow. However, this is the world today, with avenues for online interaction in an eternal state of flux. But how to minimise this chaos of communication?
You can, of course, download many single apps or bookmark separate webpages on your phone or desktop to control your social activities, but in much the same way that multichat clients like Miranda, Pidgin and Trillian came to the fore a number of years ago, more recently available apps can help manage most of your social networks in one, integrated package. There are other apps out there, such as the recently acquired Seesmic, but the ones we are looking at today run on multiple platforms and are free.
Yoono is free and available for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and as a Firefox or Chrome Add-On. It allows you to connect to most social networks and some older services like MySpace, but not WordPress, Google+ or Pinterest. To be fair, it worked well in my mini-test, but there was something clunky about the interface that really turned me off. Purely subjective, of course, and you may not not agree with me, so give it a try yourself at yoono.com.
Digsby is free and available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux and can also be installed as a portable app on a USB drive. Although I preferred the layout of the app, I could not connect with WordPress, Flickr or Pinterest. On the other hand, the app also functioned as a mulitchat client and a one-stop-shop for e-mail accounts too. One thing I really hated though was the fact that in order to use it, I had to create a Digsby account. You can download Digsby at digsby.com.
TweetDesk is an official product from Twitter, albeit one they bought rather than created themselves. It is available on almost any platform, but unfortunately all it does is combine Facebook and Twitter functions. However, if Twitter and Facebook are all you use, then this might be for you. You can get TweetDeck from tweetdeck.com.
Windows 8 Live Tiles is one solution that may work for you if you are using Microsoft's latest and greatest offering. Look for social apps like MetroTwit for Twitter at the Windows Store.
As you can see, perhaps Yoono is the pick of a rather poor choice because there really isn't any one solution for integrating all of your social networking accounts. My non-rocket-science/old-skool recommendation is to forbear installing any extra software and simply create a group of bookmarks in your browser for all the social networking sites that you frequent. Now you can right-click on this bookmark folder and open all your social shortcuts in one fell swoop. Allow your browser to save passwords for the sites, remembering to also set a browser master password, and you don't even have to be delayed by login screens.