Your smartphone has many functions. It works as a camera, an MP3 player, a newswire, and an Internet browser. It can also make phone calls. So it’s no surprise that more than 8 million mobile owners rely on their handsets to manage their social media sites.
Whether it’s Facebook or Flikr, updating a blog or sending an instant message, mobile social media helps keep business and personal connections strong. Here is a list of downloadable applications to help you get connected to the mobile social media world.
Social Networking Apps
Most smartphones have free Facebook and MySpace apps available in their app markets. For the Apple iPhone, scroll through the Social Networking section of the Apple App Store to find a broad range of applications. In the Android market there’s the MySpace Mobile app, for example, as well as the fBook app. Newly launched for Android is DroidIn, which lets users manage their LinkedIn accounts and search people’s profiles.
All of these apps are designed to help you navigate seamlessly from the Web to your phone, letting you view profiles, post pictures, and update your status in the social realm on the go.
If you’ve been using the social networks for some time now, you’ve probably accumulated a list of contacts from all sorts of instant messaging services, such as MSN, Google Talk, ICQ, Twitter, and AOL Instant Messenger. Fring takes all of your buddy lists and mashes them into your handset, where you can chat with or call anyone from your contacts. Need a Wi-Fi hot spot? WeFi automatically detects Wi-Fi hot spots within range and hooks on to the best wireless connection. This can be a major time-saver when you’re looking to chat and connect on the road.
Where would the Web 2.0 world be without blogs? Many business owners depend on blogs to send out timely information to clients and employees. That’s why Google Blogger lets you update your Blogger account. Add content from your phone by e-mailing it directly to your blog or by sending a message to email@example.com. This makes blogging possible from any location, whether you’re on the road, in a restaurant, or at a concert.
More visual bloggers should check out Zannel. Using your camera phone, you can take photos or videos, then publish them immediately on a list of publishers including Facebook, WordPress, Live Journal, or TypePad.
CellSpin is a similar service, but it adds the option of audio, in addition to video and photos, which you can publish on sites such as YouTube, Blogger, LiveJournal, and Flikr within seconds. This is particularly useful when taking audio or video notes at a meeting or a conference. As you post these notes onto your blog, you can share exactly what you’re experiencing with your employees or network of bloggers and get an immediate response.
Twitter applications seem to come by the pack, but a few have risen above the rest. One successful iPhone app is Hahlo, which has a sleek interface design, a customizable home page, and a search bar. Another function is the Near Me button, which lets you see twits near your location.
Twidroid is the first Android Twitter app. Though it started with some kinks, it’s now a full-featured Twitter client where you can tweet, retweet, and send direct messages the same way you can on a desktop. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all those tweets, you can set how often you want the app to pull new messages. The BlackBerry equivalent is Twitterberry, where you can view the public time lines or your friends’ to see what’s been tweeted about at any time during the day.
Social Bookmarking Apps
There are millions of mobile Web sites for you to view, but digging through them and finding your favorites can be tedious. MobiSeer is a free app that lets you manage all your mobile bookmarks in one place. Simply tag and organize your favorite mobile Web sites on your phone. You can also share articles and explore the mobi-spheres that are most popular among mobile users.
Another iPhone app, Diggerific, pulls articles from the social news site Digg and lets you filter by categories such as World & Business, Technology, and Lifestyle. You can view the number of Diggs, user comments, and pictures, as well as e-mail links to colleagues.
While developers work out the bugs, these apps allow you to do anything you would need to do on your desktop. As smartphones and mobile apps become more sophisticated, we’ll likely see more social media features that let you interact in real time and find colleagues in the same location.