I have become a huge fan and user of social media tools, and my iPhone is an indispensable part of my overall social media experience. It took me a while to make the leap into social media — especially with regard to Twitter — but at the urging of my friends Jason Hiner and Rick Vanover, I took the Twitter plunge and haven't looked back.
This post focuses on how I use four social media outlets (Twitter, Yammer, LinkedIn, Facebook), the clients (mobile and/or desktop) I use for each one, and alternative clients (if applicable) you might want to consider.
Twitter is the number one social media application in use on my iPhone. I use Twitter 95% for professional use and 5% for personal use. I have high levels of interest in virtualization, Exchange, System Center, IT leadership, and a few other topics, and I choose to follow people that match these interests. Many of the people I follow retweet information of interest from their own circle, thus adding additional value to my Twitter feed. In addition, the people I follow produce a great deal of content, so I read their work with interest. I have unfollowed quite a few people whose signal-to-noise ratio went out of balance and their outreach lost value.
I've also met many of the people with whom I correspond on Twitter, so it has become a professional social networking opportunity for me as well. For instance, I've met "the other Scott Lowe", who works for EMC. We kept getting so many collisions on Twitter that I finally changed my Twitter ID to @otherscottlowe. People still confuse us, but it's more fun now.
I primarily use the official Twitter app for iPhone, though I use other clients to access Twitter, too. On my Windows machine, I generally use Twitter with a web browser. On my Mac, I've installed the official Twitter client, where it sits open in my dock and, as I feel like it, I peruse new tweets to find items of interest.
More Twitter app options:
- Official Twitter App (Apple). My Twitter client of choice.
- Official Twitter App (Android). The official Twitter app for Android devices.
- Official Twitter App (Windows Phone 7). A Windows Phone 7 version of the official Twitter app.
- TweetDeck. I used TweetDeck exclusively until I ran into problems when one of the upgrades wasn't stable. I looked at other options and finally landed on the official Twitter app. That said, I still think TweetDeck is really, really good.
- Twitterrific. I've also tried Twitterific. I found the free Twitter app very usable.
Yammer is an enterprise social networking tool that is used to keep in touch across groups and with course creators. Yammer is often referred to as an internal Twitter application.
I have created a number of training courses for the company Train Signal, and last year, the Train Signal team invited me into their Yammer fold so I could participate in internal conversations and watch the inner workings. I find great value in being able to maintain an internal link with Train Signal. Although I am just a contractor with the company, the ability to see how everything actually operates is invaluable and helps me as I work on courses. For many internal groups, I can see where Yammer would be a good fit and would be more of an outreach mechanism rather than a communications mechanism like email.
On my iPhone, I use the official Yammer app, which works well enough. However, the app is not full-featured and is missing some capabilities that I would like (such as opening documents shared in a Yammer conversation), so I also supplement the mobile app with regular web browser access. On average, probably 80% of my Yammer use is from my iPhone and the other 20% is from a computer. For me, almost all of my Yammer activity is about business.
Yammer app options:
LinkedIn is the Facebook for grown ups and is the preeminent business-focused social networking site. I don't use LinkedIn as much as I use Twitter or Yammer, but I do make an effort to keep my profile of professional information current on the site. I've linked my Twitter account to my LinkedIn account, so when I send a tweet, I have the option of including the #in hashtag. When I do so, LinkedIn grabs that tweet and includes it as a part of my LinkedIn page. From there, it becomes a part of what I consider my professional profile. For me, LinkedIn is all business.
As for access patterns, I rarely access LinkedIn from my iPhone. Almost 100% of my LinkedIn use is via a regular web browser, although I do have the LinkedIn app on my iPhone.
Other LinkedIn apps:How to use LinkedIn strategically and The 10 biggest LinkedIn annoyances.
Like millions of other people, I use Facebook, though I don't use it a lot. I log in to Facebook a couple of times a week, read through the goings-on, and take note of anything of interest, such as traffic related to my upcoming 20th high school reunion. For me, Facebook is 95% personal and 5% professional. I consider Facebook my personal outlet; that said, I'm cognizant that my professional reputation includes what I say on Facebook, so I'm careful about what I post.
Facebook is fun sometimes, but between ongoing security battles and the general low quality of the commentary, I don't find much consistent value in the site. I'd probably ditch Facebook if it wasn't such a great way to keep up with my Mom and Dad and share pictures of the grandkids with them.
I usually log in to Facebook from a desktop machine using a web browser. On the rare occasions when I access Facebook from my iPhone, I use the official Facebok app to do so.
Other Facebook app options:
I use separate apps for each social media outlet, but there are many apps out there that support multiple sites. If you don't want to have to maintain a slew of apps for each social network, consider a combined app that supports more than one site. Some of these apps are listed below:
- Socialize (Apple). Supports Facebook, Twitter, Formspring, Meebo (AIM, MSN, Yahoo, FBook Chat), Myspace, Tumblr, YouTube, Foursquare, Flickr, and LinkedIn.
- SocialPhone 2.0 (Apple) . Supports Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
- TweetDeck (Android). Supports Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, and Google Buzz.
- Trillian for iPhone. Supports Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Foursquare.
- Trillian for Android. Supports Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Foursquare.
- Seesmic (Android). Supports Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz, and Salesforce Chatter.
I've shared my operational procedure with regard to four social media sites and how my smartphone makes my favorite outreach possible. Now, can someone please explain to me the purpose of Foursquare?
Related TechRepublic posts
Since 1994, Scott Lowe has been providing technology solutions to a variety of organizations. After spending 10 years in multiple CIO roles, Scott is now an independent consultant, blogger, author, owner of The 1610 Group, and a Senior IT Executive with CampusWorks, Inc. Scott is available for consulting, writing, and speaking engagements and can be reached at email@example.com.