The Search for the Perfect Social Network Aggregator

Alyssa Gregory

social networksEarlier in the month, I posted Strategies for Managing Social Networks and a Full-Time Job, and one of the strategies I mentioned was using a social network aggregator to stay on top of activity in your networks. I decided to take my own advice and recently started a search for the “perfect” aggregator. I’m just in the beginning stages of the process, but I thought my research might be useful to others, so here is a list of what I’m looking for and the apps I plan to try out.

The Criteria

Despite it being a staple of most aggregators, I don’t need to be able to post one update across multiple networks. I tend to use each network differently than the next, so this functionality would be lost on me. Having said that, I do have an optimistic wish list. Here is some of what I want the aggregator to do:

  • Provide one place (app, web site, etc.) where I can catch up on all network activity
  • Allow me to post (different) updates to all of my networks in one location
  • Condense status updates of my connections across Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn
  • Show people I am connected to in more than one network
  • Present data in a pleasing and easy-on-the-eye interface

The following items would be amazing to have, but I haven’t seen them at work in any of the aggregators I’ve taken a preliminary look at:

  • Ability to track drill-down activity, such as Facebook Fan Page posts and LinkedIn Group discussions
  • Mobile access
  • Integration of RSS feeds

The Contenders

  • A social network browser developed by Mozilla.
  • FriendFeed: A popular application that allows you to share content across Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and other social networks.
  • HootSuite: A web-based social media aggregator for tracking and posting updates.
  • Netvibes: A web-based start page that lets you personalize the information you want to see, including blogs, weather, email, social networks, and more.
  • Tweetdeck: An app that provides real-time social web access, allowing users to connect with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace.
  • ???: What do you recommend?

The Test

I will be installing/signing up with each of the services listed and trying them out to see how they work for me, measured against my wish-list criteria. I plan to report back on my findings over the coming weeks after I give these apps a test drive, so stay tuned.

Do you use an app to aggregate your social network activity? What do you recommend I add to my list of possibilities?