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How to stream your social life on a smartphone

Here's how to tie your social networks together

Even a social-networking addict can get tired of Twitter or fed up with Facebook on a smartphone. Tie your networks together with these aggregator apps.

Although your mobile phone keeps you connected, it can also make things more complicated.

Using a mobile phone to track email, text messages, instant messages, voicemail, Facebook and Twitter can be a burden.

After all, these social-networking applications attempt to shoehorn Web 2.0 resources onto small devices that weren't designed with Web 2.0 in mind.

Mobile phone manufacturers Motorola and Palm have taken things a step further by designing phones that merge different communications and social networks into a single tool - Synergy and MotoBlur respectively - allowing you to interact with them all from one spot.

You don't have to rush out and get a Palm Pre or Motorola Dext to experience merged tools, though. You have a few other options to consolidate your social networks and messaging sources.

TweetDeck: not just for Twitter

One of the most popular tools for managing Twitter is TweetDeck.

Released long before Twitter added Lists to its features, this desktop application enables users to create filtered groups to help cut down the noise and highlight only important tweets.

The TweetDeck for iPhone app behaves in much the same way. Like the desktop program, it allows you to add Facebook accounts to create a unified console for all your messages and status updates.

Once connected, you can add columns to TweetDeck to view status updates from your Facebook account.

To use the app, you must first get TweetDeck for iPhone from Apple's App Store. After the TweetDeck for iPhone app syncs to your iPhone, go into the app and then enter the settings by touching the gear icon at the bottom.

Under 'Facebook', touch to sign in and add your Facebook status updates to TweetDeck. The setup screen explains that you can 'Connect TweetDeck for iPhone with Facebook to interact with your friends in this app and to share stories on Facebook'.

Enter the email address and password you use for Facebook. Once logged in you'll see two additional permission screens.

The first allows TweetDeck for iPhone to read content from your Facebook account and display it in the app; the second permits TweetDeck for iPhone to post status updates to your Facebook profile.

Once your Facebook account is connected with TweetDeck for iPhone, you can add a column to your TweetDeck console for your default Facebook News Feed.

If you have hundreds of Facebook contacts, though, the volume of status updates creates a great deal of noise and makes catching the ones you're interested in more difficult.

To bring order to your updates, first click the Add Column icon at the bottom of the TweetDeck for iPhone screen, and then select Facebook from the Choose Column Type screen that appears.

You can pick from two types of Facebook Columns: All Friends, or Group

The All Friends column displays the full News Feed, including status updates, photos and other posts from your entire catalogue of Facebook contacts.

If you opt for Group, you can select a subset of your Facebook contacts such as family or colleagues, then display only the updates from the Facebook contacts you choose.

The mobile TweetDeck app presently manages only Twitter and Facebook and is available exclusively for iPhone, but versions for other mobile platforms, such as Windows Mobile, Symbian, Blackberry and Android are planned.

Mobile phone buying advice

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NEXT PAGE: Swimming with Lifestream

  1. We show you how to tie your social networks together
  2. Swimming with Lifestream
  3. Android and BlackBerry: fashionably late

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