Stop logging in to each of your social networks individually and start managing them all at once with a social media manager. Here's a look at the five most popular social media managers.
Photo by spekulator.
Seesmic (Windows/Mac/Linux/Android/BlackBerry/iOS/Web, Free)
Seesmic started life as a social video aggregator and transformed into a social media management powerhouse. Available for nearly every operating system and mobile device under the sun, Seesmic makes it easy to keep tabs on your favourite services. All the versions of Seesmic support a core of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but the desktop versions really shine with support for plugins that expand the support to over 50 services. Check out the plugin marketplace to see all the different add-on services.
Digsby (Windows/Mac/Linux, Free)
Originally a multi-protocol chat client, Digsby has expanded to include additional features such as email and social network support. You can now check status updates and send your own status updates on popular social networks like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn. The InfoBox gives you updates on your friends as well as access to any invitations or announcements they send out. It's not quite the expansive dashboard provided by some of the other options in this week's Hive Five but it's more than powerful enough for many readers and it helps wrap up instant messaging, email and social networking in one application.
TweetDeck (Windows/Mac/Linux/Android/iOS/Chrome, Free)
TweetDeck is another social media application that makes good use of a multi-column layout. You can easily customise TweetDeck to display just what you want to see including wall updates, Twitter mentions, and more. If you sign up for a free TweetDeck account you can also synchronise your settings and layout across computers. TweetDeck supports Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Google Buzz and more. In addition to easy cross-network updates and monitoring, TweetDeck also supports scheduled updates.
Socialite (Mac, Pro: $US19.95/Ad-Supported: Free)
Socialite is a polished social media app for Mac OS X that comes in two flavors: free and ad-supported, or ad-free with a $US19.95 licence. Socialite monitors and updates Facebook, Twitter, Digg and Flickr, as well as support for Good Reader and manual RSS entries. What Socialite lacks for in volume of supported services it makes up for with tools for organising the flow of information across your social networks including time lines and filters to help drill down to what's important to you.
HootSuite (Web/Android/BlackBerry/iPhone, Basic: Free/Pro: $US5.99 per month)
HootSuite is a social media manager oriented towards a team working with social media, featuring multiple tiers of access to the social networks (one person administrates and others can update, for example), tracking of mentions and other quantifiers, tabbed layout, WordPress support, scheduled updates, automatic updating, and more. The basic account is free and allows you to manage five social networks with a 30 day stats history. The $US5.99 per month Pro account offers unlimited social networks and stats history as well as Google Analytics and Facebook Insights integration.