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2011 was a huge year for social media. Granted, since 2004 we’ve seen an explosion of social networks, an insane growth in Facebook users, and Twitter take on widespread adoption. More of my students are using Twitter today that in previous semesters.

But still, in comparison to other years, this year was huge for social media. Not only did Facebook and Twitter see massive changes, but we saw another big tech company enter the social media ring: Google. The big three are all moving decidedly in one direction: mobile.


Twitter as a company seems to be in a confusing position. On the one hand, prominent investors are resigning from the board and talented employees are jumping ship. Lack of a clear vision for the future is rumoured to be the reason. On the other hand, people are joining the micro blogging platform in troves and with every passing month, the number of tweets sent out is on exponential rise.

I would say Twitter has taken about 50% of my reading time from Google Reader and 30% of my communication time from Gmail. From customer to support to political uprisings, Twitter has rebooted the way things get done. It’s funny how they have accomplished all this without hardly any new addition to the core product at all.

Last week, Twitter unveiled a radical change to the web and mobile apps. Predictably, there were a lot of people complaining. Why are they all so mad?


Without a doubt, Twitter is one of the best innovations of the century. It’s a simple idea coupled with a simple interface that took them to the stratosphere. But after a few years and millions of dollars in venture funding, Twitter’s simplicity isn’t what people are looking for anymore. New features are hard to come by, and whatever pushed out is just way too cosmetic.

Right from the start, most of the innovation in the Twitter ecosystem has been coming from third party developers. They outsmart the Twitter team every step of the way. Over time, Twitter is just becoming an infrastructure that processes tweets from apps that aren’t their own. For those Twitter lovers and social media enthusiasts, we have compiled a list of Twitter apps that offer more value than Twitter itself.


If you’re looking to reach an audience with your online communication, there can be no better platform than one of the social giants, Twitter. However, there can be times where your tweet doesn’t seem to have garnered any interest – not because it’s not interesting, but because it was poorly-timed. After all, you could be tweeting one of the most interesting messages in the world but if your target audience is asleep, they’re probably not going to see it when it’s most relevant.

Timely’s here to fix that. It ensures that your tweets are sent out there when they’ll have the highest impact. Read on to find out more.


Twitter can be an awesome tool and is, with no doubt, my favourite social network. Personally, the sleek design and functionality of the Twitter app on Mac draws me to use native apps instead, but when I was a Windows users, the web app was my favourite method of connecting. Luckily, being browser-based, the Twitter website can be manipulated with some extensions to customise the experience you have with it.

In today’s roundup, we’re going to take a look at some of the best browser extensions that optimise, customise and manipulate the Twitter experience on the web.


After taking a break from social networking, I was interested to see a review of the Twitter app Wren in our sister site Wren’s a beautifully designed app for posting on Twitter … and nothing else. You can’t see your Twitter feed, DMs, @replies, or anything else. All you can do is post your thoughts to Twitter.

Sounds like a crazy idea perhaps, but truth be told, most of us are bombarded with too much information anyhow. It’s nice to share your thoughts online throughout the workday, and sometimes you come across something you feel you’ve got to share. Problem is, you’ll likely find yourself still browsing random links a half hour later instead of getting back to work.

Wren is a Mac-only app, and it’s only for Twitter. But turns out, most social networks have a way to post online without getting distracted by your feeds. Here’s how you can use Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and even Reddit and Hacker News in a distraction-free way.


About a month ago, the very first superstore came to my small town of Tak, Thailand. Everyone was excited to have the extra shopping destinations, restaurants, ice cream and donut shops, and even an Apple Store of all incredible things. But the thing that struck me most about our new superstore was how many signs and advertisements there have social networking links.

Sure, it’s been easy to see the change Facebook has brought to communications here. Only a few years ago, internet shops were filled with children chatting on MSN and checking Hotmail email. Today, every computer is filled with kids checking Facebook, and you’re more likely to be asked your Facebook name than your phone number.

I’ve logged out of social networking for the past week for some personal reasons, and it’s been an interesting break. While I’ve missed communicating with friends, I’ve also found that I’ve been less bombarded with random stuff I didn’t want to hear about. We get so used to fanning every business and interest we have, that it’s easy for social networking to become overwhelming. I’m looking forward to using it again, but almost think I’d be better served by a Facebook with only a couple dozen of my closest friends and family.

Have you ever tried taking a break from social networking? Did you find it beneficial, and did you change your networking habits as a result? I’d love to see if anyone else, for personal reasons or just for the sake of the experiment, has ever tried taking a fast from social networking, and what your thoughts on it were.

Getting things scheduled isn’t productivity. Getting them all done at the right time is. I do have a scheduling system to keep up with all of my blogging assignments for a couple weeks at a stretch. I rarely get them all done on time, but at least the schedule and the bleeding number of things that rollover to the next day everytime I miss working pushes me to put some more effort.

So a demanding boss, a nagging secretary, or a paycheck forces us to maintain a schedule for our professional life. But what happens to your personal and social commitments? Usually they get pushed aside to make way for the sake of a career. Of late, I have been trying to find work-life balance and I found feedCal. The web app automatically takes your social feeds and puts them in your calendar. Join me as I evaluate if the web app can help me be more social.


Despite being one of the earliest forms of electronic communication, today email is probably the most disrespected formats. Be it the unscrupulous marketing mailers, mountain of spam or an overloaded inbox, everything works against the underlying platform – email. Even being a free, simple and relatively unintrusive modes of communication isn’t helping enough.

Every attempt made by technology companies, large and small, to improve the condition of email has either failed miserably or ended up just as a cosmetic addition. The need to being formal and elaborate is touted as one of the setbacks preventing email from becoming an effective communication tool. Shortmail is here is to change just that.

Even before the social media revolution, we have always linked to popular things things we find online, usually the latest trends and things that popular people are using. I like Will Smith and might be willing to check out the gadgets or apps he is using. However, not everyone likes Will Smith (outrageous, I know). But we all like our friends (at least we hope so!).

Usually, there is a very good reason we’re friends with the people we are – we have a lot in common. So, if they liked something, there is a very good chance you might like it too., wants to show you what is popular, right now. The web app does this by analyzing what links your friends are sharing the most. Let’s take it for a spin to find out more about this social app.


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