I’m a sucker for iPhone (s aapl) apps. The near-ubiquitous access to collaborative communities, social networks and communications tools that these apps provide is actually improving my ability to network more frequently with my friends, fans, followers and contacts.
Here’s a handy list of community and communications iPhone apps to help you network:
- Sprouter. Sprouter — the global collaboration and networking community for entrepreneurs — has a new iPhone app. Although my Sprouter account is woefully neglected, I do like how it feels similar to Twitter, but with a clear focus on work. From your mobile device, you can manage posts, filters and communications.
- Gist. This service connects your inbox to the web and feeds you important business-related information about the people and companies with whom you’re interacting. It’s like having a personal assistant at your ear ready to feed you critical bits of info about the person you’re about to meet.
- Foursquare, GoWalla, BrightKite, Loopt, Whrrl. Are you ready to check in? Are you willing to announce your location to your friends? Your activity on these sites is predominantly mobile-based as you use your device’s GPS to provide location-related status updates. Want to check into multiple services from the same place? There’s an app for that: Check.in. There are even hyper-regional location-based social networks cropping up, such as TriOut for the Triangle in North Carolina.
- LinkedIn. Of course, the top social networks have their very own mobile apps, including MySpace, but LinkedIn’s is particularly robust. I can check updates, update my own status, view connection profile updates, monitor discussions, access my connections list, check my inbox and respond to correspondence, manage invitations, and connect instantly with other LinkedIn users (both parties need Bluetooth enabled on their mobile devices). Kind of like Bu.mp but integrated into your LinkedIn account.
- Facebook.The Facebook app lets you review your news feed where you can “like” or comment to your heart’s delight; access your profile page, manage friends and friend requests; read or send messages; view photos, events and notes; and even chat live with other FB friends. What I really like about the app is the ability to add Facebook Pages so I can monitor and manage them. (Note: When using the iPhone app, any posts to a Facebook page will be made via your personal Facebook account.)
- Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Seesmic. Some of the most popular cross-channel social media management tools have iPhone apps. You can post to multiple places such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn from a single dashboard and create multiple views or columns to monitor different aspects of your account such as @ messages and DMs on Twitter, along with your Twitterstream. Cotweet still does not have a native mobile app but does provide mobile access at http://m.cotweet.com/m01.
- Skype. Skype takes care of a lot of my conference call needs, long-distance calling and IMing. The iPhone app does the same for me on the go, plus you can connect by voice to another Skype contact, although you need to make sure you have a good and steady connection.
- Tumblr, TypePad, BlogPress, WordPress (please see disclosure at the end), Posterous. Avid blogger? You can feed a blog post straight from your mobile device to your specific blog. The Posterous app, PicPosterous, makes it easy to manage sets of photos or videos.
So many iPhone apps, so little time — yet I actually find I save time thanks to these useful ones. And in case you’re curious, Sparkle (shown in my iPhone home screen image above) gives me access to my Second Life account for my avatar, Cybergrrl Oh.
What apps are you using on your mobile device for communications and community?
Disclosure: Automattic, maker of WordPress.com, is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of this blog, Giga Omni Media. Om Malik, founder of Giga Omni Media, is also a venture partner at True.