| Tom Nebe |
Berlin (dpa) – Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus: Many people today are active in several social networks and keeping track of everything can be a real handful.
Fortunately there are tools to help manage the social media world although not yet one that gathers all the services together.
HootSuite is an application that makes it possible to monitor accounts and postings in a variety of channels but it’s designed mainly for business use.
Whoever uses social media as a private individual is better off tuning the apps supplied by of each platform, advises Annette Schwindt, a digital communication expert in Germany.
She recommends using the notification function of your phone or tablet to blend together what is going on.
Most apps can feed incoming news messages through to the notification centre.
Users can decide whether to have “push” notifications switched on or off. You might want to be told about tweets, retweets and so on, but switch off other push notifications so that the phone isn’t constantly pinging as it alerts you to events you don’t care about.
If someone wants to keep track of the various networks on a regular computer, they can try the Netvibes service.
This allows users to create their own personalised overview of various channels, for example on the left a Twitter feed, in the centre a Facebook timeline, on the right the RSS feed from a website.
This means one can see everything at a glance and not have to access each service individually, jumping back and forth between various tabs.
Netvibes has high coverage of supported services, says William Sen, chief editor of the Cologne-based Social Media Magazin.
Only in the case of forums and blogs does it hit limitations because of the huge amounts of data involved.
Schwindt prefers RebelMouse. This tool lists only new content from chosen websites and blogs and presents it as widgets that can be embedded in your own website.
Another option is IFTTT (short for “If this then that”) which is useful for automating repetitive actions involving social networks. For an example a formula can be set up to send pictures taken with Instagram directly into a Dropbox account, says Andreas Weck, editor of magazine t3n.
Or you can set it up so that you receive an email when a particular blog posts new content. Over 100 services are already integrated, including Facebook and Twitter. “So you can do almost anything,” says Schwindt.
The app Buffer allows users to manage accounts across a variety of social networks. “With Buffer I can for example specify that content is not shared now, but delayed to 3 am in the morning,” says Schwindt.
Andreas Weck describes the benefit of this: “A birthday greeting to your mother while you’re sitting on a flight to the United States and have no telephone or internet access will arrive in time to make her happy.”
Some critics have suggested your privacy may be compromised on free services.
“They’re all offered free of charge and financed through the storage and analysis of user data – usually for advertising purposes,” Weck says. But none of the companies has been known to have sold its raw data to third parties, so it would seem your data is safe.
It’s also possible to set up an alert so as to be informed when you’re mentioned in social media. Tools like HootSuite or Talkwalker Alerts, for example, can notify you when your name appears on Twitter or Facebook.
However, it’s very difficult to set up an alert for the entire world of social networks as the quantity of data is simply too large, William Sen says. And of course there’s also the problem that most names are not unique, but designate numerous people worldwide.