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.

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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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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.

Swimming with Lifestream

AOL Instant Messenger is still one of the most widely used instant-messaging services. AIM-compatible clients are available for every mobile phone platform.

The functionality of the AIM for iPhone app has recently been expanded to include the converged functionality from its AIM Lifestream website. Any web-enabled mobile device can take advantage of Lifestream through a web browser.

Lifestream allows you to link a wider array of services than the desktop and iPhone TweetDeck apps do. With Lifestream, you can connect with Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, Digg, Flickr, YouTube and, of course, AIM.

Add your various accounts to your Lifestream and the feeds and updates display as one long list of messages.

The AIM iPhone app does not offer much in the way of filtering. It has a search field at the top that you can use to narrow down which updates display, but the search is slow and it's a cumbersome way to sift through Lifestream, negating, in a way, the simplicity of merging the feeds together.

If you access Lifestream through a web browser rather than through the AIM iPhone app, you gain some other options. You can choose to view everything or to narrow the stream down to your chosen list of Top Buddies.

You can also choose to view only status updates, photos or videos. You can also restrict the updates displayed to a particular service so you only see ones from Twitter, Facebook, AIM and so on.

Next to each of entry in the Lifestream is a link labelled 'Comment'. Clicking on that link allows you to reply to Twitter tweets, comment on Facebook status updates and so on.

It isn't the most elegant or intuitive approach, but provides a single console view that you can use to simplify management of the assorted social networks and web-based services you use.

Mobile phone buying advice

See all mobile phone reviews

NEXT PAGE: Android and BlackBerry: fashionably late?

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

Follow PC Advisor at Twitter.com/PCAdvisor

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.

Android and BlackBerry: fashionably late?

Aside from the Motorola Dext and Palm Pre, among smartphones the iPhone holds a distinct advantage right now when it comes to apps that let you view updates from a variety of sources, in real time.

In the near future, however, the situation may change.

SocialScope, currently in invite-only beta, claims to deliver an integrated social media experience, including Twitter and Facebook functionality.

the app will be available soon on many BlackBerry models, as well as on the iPhone and the Android-based T-Mobile G1. From initial reports, SocialScope sounds promising.

Considering the exploding popularity of Android - and the fact Android is an open-source platform - Android users will probably have some social aggregator apps soon.

In the meantime, users of other devices and mobile operating systems can at least update multiple networks by linking them on the back end.

You can add the Twitter app in Facebook and connect it with your Twitter profile. Once the two are linked, you can view tweets from your Twitter network in Facebook.

By clicking a button at the top of the page labelled 'Allow Twitter to update your Facebook status', you can have your Twitter tweets duplicated as Facebook status updates, so you can post to both networks simultaneously while you're on the go.

The pace of social media adoption is forcing most of the tech industry to play catch-up.

Many users and developers are still getting used to web 2.0 and social networking concepts and plenty of work remains to be done in delivering a simplified cross-network tool for managing all communications.

Even so, the apps discussed here should give you a great start in making your online life more manageable.

Mobile phone buying advice

See all mobile phone reviews

See also: Facebook use jumps 600% on mobile web

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

Follow PC Advisor at Twitter.com/PCAdvisor