Social media allows you to connect with friends, relatives, and acquaintances; it also lets you meet new people with similar interests. But after a while, it can become tedious keeping track of all of your social media accounts - without neglecting one or more of them.
Thankfully, there are applications that help you take charge of all of your social media profiles. Here are nine of the most effective apps.
TweetDeck. As the name implies, this service focuses heavily on Twitter feeds, with features that make responses more customizable. But TweetDeck also has a dashboard that tracks Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Buzz, MySpace, and Foursquare accounts.
SocialOomph. This is actually a website that provides you with both free and inexpensive services designed to help manage Twitter accounts. It lets you send out messages automatically, schedule future tweets, and even follow all of your followers' feeds.
TwentyFeet. Not only does TwentyFeet oversee the activity of all of your social media accounts, but it also tracks your performance on these services. And all of this data is displayed in colorful, easy-to-decipher graphs and charts.
HootSuite. Think of it as an amalgamation of SocialOomph and TwentyFeet (though it's not as comprehensive as either of those services). HootSuite does a good job of managing Twitter accounts, but is also oversees blogs and other social media accounts.
Posterous. Are you tired of having to update all of your social media profiles one at a time? Posterous allows you to send one e-mail (with photos or videos if applicable) and have the message displayed on all of your accounts simultaneously.
Spredfast. Here is a social media management tool that works well for businesses (who can afford plans starting at $1,000 per month). Its core competency is its array of analytics, which can help track the success of a given social media campaign.
Engage121. If you have a business where you would like to integrate a social media initiative throughout several company divisions or individual stores, then Engage121 is for you. It's almost completely customizable, so you can "mail merge" a corporate message with an individual merchant's contact information.
Gist. It's for the person who wants to keep tabs on what all of their friends, followers, and social media acquaintances are doing. In addition to aggregating your accounts, Gist follows every post, tweet, or similar entry issued from your social media circle.
Ping.fm. This service is arguably the most comprehensive social media profile manager on the market. In addition to most of the major social media players, Ping.fm also oversees email accounts as well as text and SMS messaging from smartphones.
Chris Martin is a web writer on topics ranging from social media and IT asset management to home improvement and car insurance.