We get spread quite thin online these days with our social networks. Between having to jump around between multiple websites (or in the case of mobile devices, multiple apps), it can be difficult for some people to keep all these things straight. Well, if you’re looking to find one app that can bring all of your social networking needs under control, perhaps Socialite in an app that you should consider.
Six in One
Socialite allows you to add your accounts for Digg, Facebook, Flickr, Google Reader, and Twitter, and it can also support additional RSS feeds. Although if you’re using Google Reader, I’m not sure why you’d also want to check RSS feeds separately. Each of these accounts are displayed in a source list, and a disclosure triangle for each reveals additional items to filter for each of your accounts. For example, in Twitter, you could display your timeline, your mentions, messages, favorites, or retweets. For Facebook, you could similarly filter by status updates, friends photos, your photos, links, or pages.
The main interface shows each update, depending on your selected view, as speech bubbles going back in time chronologically. You can also show a combined Unread view of everything from each of your services. In addition, when a new update arrives from one of your services, you’re notified via a Growl notification, if you have it installed.
Simple versus Specialized
The concern with Socialite, in my view, is that while it does offer a much more simplified window into your social networking world, combining all of your services together greatly reduces the specialization that you would get through using those services in their native environments.
As an example, Twitter and Facebook are both treated alike by Socialite, even though they have very different purposes. While Twitter is appropriately focused on the content of people’s tweets, Facebook has a lot less focus on specific status messages. Personally I prefer Facebook’s news feed, which does its best to show the highlights of everyone’s status updates, rather than bombarding you with each one. That is but one example of what you lose in Socialite, not to mention all access to groups, events, and additional apps. And I find Socialite’s interface to be abysmal when applied to Flickr, as every photo gets its own line even if someone uploaded a bunch at once.
If you’re not an especially active user of social media, but are more interested in using it to keep tabs on what’s going on in your social web across multiple platforms, then Socialite may be an app worth trying. But after trying it out for a few days, I determined that it just wasn’t right for me. I prefer to take advantage of the strengths and unique qualities of each service on their own merits, which may be a bit less convenient, but to me, is a lot more useful.