Thursday is Social Media Day, so in honor of that, I’d like to offer a few tips about making your iPhone a more social device. It’d be easy to just say “register as a developer and install iOS 5,” since that brings Twitter integration, but here are some options that don’t cost $99 and involve using pre-release software on your primary device.
1. Setup Facebook and Flickr albums in iPhoto
This is actually a tip for your Mac, but it makes it much easier to share photos to Facebook and Flickr if you set up Events in iPhoto ’11 that you can dump content to in bulk. Using uploading apps on the iPhone itself usually works best if you’re only doing one photo at a time, and if you’re on vacation, that can get annoying very fast. Connecting your social accounts in iPhoto will make it much easier to create organized albums on Facebook and Flicker with only a couple of clicks.
To set up your services, just go to iPhoto’s Preferences and click on Accounts:
2. Add bookmarklets to mobile Safari for social sharing
Soon you’ll be able to tweet right from within Safari using the native iOS share button, but for now, tweeting links while browsing on a mobile device can be a frustrating procedure if you’re using a standard copy/paste method. Instead, you can use bookmarklets (which are basically bookmarks that perform a function) in mobile Safari to share on Twitter, or on Facebook and Tumblr, too. Check out those, and many other useful bookmarklets, complete with full instructions, over at Digital Inspiration.
3. Get all the primary apps
The iPhone is well-represented when it comes to social network apps. The Facebook app just got a small update to fix bugs and improve performance, and the Tumblr app was updated earlier this week, and now has a completely redesigned interface that’s perfect for mobile sharing. Twitter on the iPhone is a solid client, but there are many third-party options available, too, like the uniquely designed Tweetbot. There’s also a Flickr app , and of course Instagram, which is quickly becoming the default network for sharing pictures on an iPhone. You’d be surprised at how much more likely you are to use these services just by having their native apps on your device.
4. See content recommendations from Facebook in Safari
Want so see some content reading and viewing selections from your Facebook friends without ever leaving your browser? The Recommend browser extension (really a bookmarklet like those described above) by Bob Hitching will let you call up a window that shows you what people in your network on Facebook are recommending most. It can be a little hit or miss, but it does surface some interesting content.
5. Use cross-service sharing apps
You can use Dropico, a service that provides one-stop shopping for photo sharing across networks like Facebook, Flickr, Photobucket, Picasa, Twitter and Tumblr, to cut down considerably on the time it takes to participate in multiple networks, and even apply effects prior to sharing. Likewise, Gowalla can check-in to multiple location-based networks, including Foursquare, Facebook Places and Gowalla itself, all through one app.
iOS 5 will really up the game for iPhone social sharing, and it looks like Google+ might help as well, although initial reaction appears to be split, likely because of Google’s spotty track record with social services (remember Wave?). But if you want your device to be a better tool for engaging with others, there’s no reason to wait when so many choice tools are available right now.