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10 must-have downloads for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter

Make social networks even better

Your favourite social network - whether it's Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or something else - is probably pretty capable on its own.

After all, you likely spend plenty of time there already. But with the right app or add-on, your go-to social networks can become even better. Here are several apps, both desktop- and cloud-based, that will allow you to get more out of Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. They'll help you save time, share more content, and connect with new people in new ways.

Box.net Files (OpenBox Services for Facebook and LinkedIn)

Social networks are great at lots of things, such as putting you in touch and letting you share web links, videos, and photos. But they're not ideal places to store and share documents and files - unless you have Box.net's OpenBox Services for Facebook and LinkedIn, that is.

These free apps turn either social network into something of a virtual thumb drive, one that's easy to share with friends. You can easily upload files or create folders. You can share single documents or entire folders with your social network contacts - and if you're signed up for both the Facebook and LinkedIn versions, you can share across social networks, too.

You get 5GB of storage and the ability to upload files as big as 25MB with a free personal account; paid personal accounts with more storage start at $10 per month. Business versions, which add some searching and security features, such as the ability to assign user privileges to files, start at $15 (£9.20) per month.

Picnik

If you use Facebook, you likely use it to share photos. So why not spruce up your snapshots before sharing them, with Picnik's free online image editor? Available as an app, the Facebook version of Picnik lets you access its excellent editing tools without leaving the social network. You can crop, rotate, resize and autofix photos, among other features. You can also browse and edit all the photos in which you've been tagged, edit friends' photos, and share the finished results on your profile page.

Websense Triton Defensio Social Web Security

The Defensio Facebook app (free for personal use) is designed to keep personal Facebook profiles or pages (such as those set up for a business or other activity) safe from profanity, spam, and potentially malicious content, such as viruses and phishing scams.

It's easy to use, but it's hamstrung by Facebook's limiting API, which does not allow third-party apps to remove content from a user's profile. That means every bit of dubious content and profanity - from 'hell' to the swear words - still appears on your Facebook profile. Defensio alerts you via email that suspect material has been posted; you then have to remove the offending items yourself. Websense says these limitations apply only to personal profiles, not Facebook pages.

We tested only the free personal version, not the pricey professional plans. But if you're a business user looking to safeguard your company's Facebook fan page, Defensio could prove a useful companion.

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