When you think of social apps, I’m guessing your mind immediately pulls mental images of the big guys: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Tumblr, Google+, Pinterest and YouTube. If it does, I’m not surprised; communicating via social services has trumped traditional calling since the day of AOL and AIM, and we are on our mobile devices all day. A recent Pew Internet Project mobile technology study found that 67 percent of cell owners find themselves checking their phone for messages, alerts or calls even when they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating; 44 percent of cell owners have slept with their phone next to their bed because they wanted to make sure they didn’t miss any calls, text messages, or other updates during the night; and 29 percent of cell owners describe their cell phone as “something they can’t imagine living without."
So, it’s not surprising that when we’re on these mobile devices, a lot of that time is dedicated to social apps. There is so much more that can be done on a smartphone, however, than just rotating these eight or so major social apps, including apps that take social media to the next level. Whether you’re looking to expand your social media experience, integrate feeds into a single location or navigate other real-life scenarios, such as traffic, via updates from your social media connections, there’s an app for you to embrace social media on your mobile device.
Image via PC Magazine
Waze is a crowdsourcing GPS navigation app. The idea is to use Waze as your navigation system, and it will provide real-time updates on traffic patterns and routes based on the updates of other users. It will tell you how many Waze users are nearby and pull data to report what the average speed is in a certain area, with the option to report traffic jams, hazards, cameras, accidents, gas prices, closures, police activity and “Map Chat”. In addition, Users can sync navigation to Facebook events, check out friends heading to the same location and find out when they’ll arrive, and check-in via Foursquare to different locations. This app is the difference between relying on a standard GPS/navigation service, such as Google Maps, iOS Maps or MapQuest, and talking on the phone with a friend to realize they were just stuck in traffic for 20 minutes on the way to the exact location you’re headed.
Earlier this year, Google set out to acquire Waze for $1.1 billion, but the FTC quickly intervened to review the deal.
Image via Flipboard
Dubbed a personal social magazine, Flipboard integrates all of your social media accounts into a single location. It collects the content of social media and other websites that have partnered with the company and presents it in magazine format, allowing users to “flip” through their social networking and website feeds. Similar to other social news aggregators like Pulse and Zite, Flipboard allows you to personalize what kind of content you can browse, choosing from categories like design, technology, photography, business, sports and more. However, it also pulls in feeds from your Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Flickr, Tumblr, YouTube and other social media accounts.
Image via Timehop
What did you do one year ago today? If you really want to know, Timehop can tell you. The app provides a daily update on what you did on social media one, two, three or more years ago, as well as the top news in history on that day. It’s a lighthearted social app that enables users to time travel and revisit moments in their lives they may or may not have forgotten about. It brings together updates from Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram and your camera roll, condensing all of these memories into easily sharable items.
The app is corny but positive and encouraging in its messages to users. For example, at the end of my Timehop today, the dinosaur mascot tells me, “Whoever said your wedding day is the best day of your life obviously never heard about this day.” These little messages are just that, little, but uplifting moments to take a pause and reflect on memories during a busy day.
Image via Fuzz Productions
Somewhat similar to Flipboard, Pixable brings together information from different social media feeds. The difference, however, is Pixable is focused on photos shared by your friends. The role of graphics, photos and the visual element on the Web cannot be understated – everyday we are seeing more services, publishers and websites dedicate resources to developing and improving the way photos, videos and other multimedia are shared. Pixable is one of those innovators.
The app touts itself “Your photo inbox” and organizes photos from your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Flickr feeds. But it isn’t just a single stream of photos from these accounts – the app allows you to browse through photos via different feeds based on different criteria: most recently uploaded, top of the day (based on likes and interactions), new profile pics, new shared videos, tagged ladies/tagged guys, new cover photos, top of the week, top of the month and more. You can also simply use Pixable as a central location to browse through just Instagram, Twitter or Facebook photos. There are also several specific feed options, including celebs, music celebs, cute, sports, most-shared ad videos, news, travel and places, funny, style and fashion and trending YouTube videos.
Hundreds of millions of photos and videos are shared on the Internet every day. It’s easy to miss out on the ones you may want to see, but with Pixable, the chances are slim.
There you have it, some apps to use and add to your constantly growing social mobile experiences. Hopefully you try some of these out and add a little something to your everyday social media life. Let us know if we missed one that you believe belongs on the list in the comments below.
Edited by Blaise McNamee