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How to use 9 great social networks from your Android device

Use your smartphone or tablet to stay in touch with friends

A big element of having a Google Android tablet or Google Android phone is the way that these devices enable you to connect with people using the variety of social-networking sites that are available on the internet. By using such sites as Twitter and Facebook, you can connect with family and friends while you're on the move or lounging on your sofa watching your favourite TV show.

However, with an Android device the social aspect can go much further, as you can also use instant-messaging apps or play online games with friends or complete strangers.

1. Seesmic Twitter app Your Android smartphone or tablet will most likely have a pre-installed Twitter app. However, you needn't be limited to just using the one that came with your handheld device as there are plenty of alternatives to choose from at the Android Market. For many hardcore Twitter users, a popular choice is Seesmic, which also works with Facebook. Seesmic does all the important things such as notify you of new messages, lets you share photos and shows thumbnail photos in listings. It will also keep tabs on multiple twitter accounts, making it ideal for power Twitter users.

2. Facebook If you'd rather keep your Facebook updates separate from your Twitter client, a pre-installed, dedicated Facebook app may already be on your Android smartphone or tablet. This pre-installed app is more than capable of doing its job. It also has the added advantage of being able to synchronise contact details with the contacts app on the device. The only setting you need to apply is to decide how you want the synchronisation to work.

3. Home page widgets Most Android phones come with a centralised Social Networking app that links to the most common social network sites. However, to improve the functionality of both Twitter and Facebook, you can place widgets on your home screen, which will allow you easy access to your favourite social sites and show updates with new information at regular intervals. Tap and hold on any home screen to see a list of widgets available for your particular Android smartphone or tablet. Tap the one you want and it will be placed on a home screen. Once set up you can easily post direct to Facebook by tapping ‘what's on your mind'.

4. Other social network sites Let's not forget the other social networks out there. If you are into MySpace, Flickr or LinkedIn, you can find apps for these sites that will run on your Android device. Just hunt around in the Android Market for apps that meet your needs by typing in the name of your favourite social network.

5. YouTube videos The ability to view YouTube content on your Android device is one of its best features, turning your handheld device into an entertainment gadget. Again, most Android smartphones and tablets will come with a pre-installed YouTube app, so you can enjoy what the video-sharing site has to offer immediately. But Android offers an added feature that is crucial for YouTubers – the ability to upload your videos to the site. In the Gallery, tap the Menu button and choose Share then select your video to upload it.

6. Wordfeud There is another aspect to social networking on the Android: gaming. There are many games available on the Android Market that allow you to play against someone else, whether they're already a friend or a complete stranger. However, we only have space for a couple of examples, so here's our favourite – Wordfeud. This is a Scrabble-like game with a twist – you can play against friends or randomly selected people. You can also play up to 30 games at once. There are free (ad-supported) and paid-for versions.

7. Pocket Legends Our second example is Pocket Legends, which is a multiplayer online game that allows you to take on the role of an avatar and battle in a fantasy world. Free to download, you will find yourself paying in-game for new levels if you get addicted. A big plus is that all the data is stored on a server, meaning that you can log in on to your account with different devices and pick up where you left off.

8. Fring The last app we'll mention here is Fring. This is a multi-purpose chat application that even caters for video calls if your Android smartphone or tablet has a front-facing camera. If you lack one of these, the app can also handle voice calls and instant messaging too, communicating with MSN Messenger, GoogleTalk, AIM and ICQ friends as well as anyone on Fring itself.

Visit Android Advisor

How to use Twitter on a Google Android device

How to use Facebook on a Google Android device

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