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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Social Media Toy of the Geek

Unless it is your first time on the site, you will know that I play on the Twitter. A lot. While I have Facebook somewhat reluctantly and MySpace, Twitland is king. It's instant gratification, much like the topic that I will be writing about after this one. And geeks everywhere have caught on to this form of speedy delivery of news, flirtations, and adverts about a certain famous person's Instant Orange tanning line. There seem to be an infinite number of applications and I decided to try out one that (gratuitous name drop) Steve Berra used last night. Here's my review of Echofon.

  Going to the Echofon site, I figured that the app was only for iPhone, which is rad, but it gets better. The software is not only available on all of the popular iPlatforms, but also on your PC via a Firefox add-on. Anything that synchs between your pocket rocket and at-home beast is always a win, and like TweetDeck, the transition is seamless.
  The major difference here on your home computer is simplicity. Not everyone wants or needs a huge desktop application while they are surfing or blogging. The Firefox plug-in is so tiny that you won't notice that it is there until you need it. The app has an instant link feature that allows 1-click url publishing of any page you may have discovered which is the best thing going for those of you who blog or hunt for news. The drawer functionality takes a little getting used to, but I'm enjoying it right now. In addition, multiple tweets from the same user appear in one headspace, like a conversation, but not in as confusing of a way as Google Wave.Whether on your desktop or on your phone, Echofon is the best Twitter service for those who aren't on a bunch of different networks and like to keep things simple.
   This is your dad's app and isn't really for those who use multiple services all of the time, but it is useful. And I like it, especially because my machine has a puny RAM and TweetDeck and Seesmic are extremely resource-heavy. You can have this running in the background while doing whatever it is that you do and there are no goofy icons popping up every two minutes and no invariable slow-down on either desktop or iGadget versions if you are one of those people who spends way too much time playing Bejewelled or talking to your mother.   Now for the downside. This is not Tweetdeck, folks. You will have to manually synch all of your services to Twitter in order to tweet to Facebook or Myspace. It would be nice if Echofon added one of their nondescript wee buttons to permit you to choose which of the multitude of media networks you wish to publish on. Also, Echo could be more forthcoming with instructions on how to use their dandy product- I only discovered how to retweet by accident. Finally , Echofon for PC is nowhere near as amazing as the Mac version, so the developers might want to look into adding some of Mac's cool features like Tweetphoto to the Firefox/PC variant. (pretty please)

   All in all, Echofon is a quality, easy-to-read app for iPhone, Mac and PC users alike. It is small on memory usage and installation frustration and an asset to those of you who don't need all of the bells and whistles. Try the free version to see if it moves you before installing the pay version. If you are frustrated with your current Twitter API toy, try out Echofon. You might just dig it.

  The PC version rates 3 1/2 pairs of bifocals out of 5, iPhone and Mac 4 and change.

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