I’m not a fan of all-in-one utilities for the Mac. In most cases, a tool that tries to do too much ends up not doing enough. There is not a shortage of tools to manage all the social networking options in front of Mac users. Twitter. Flickr. Facebook. RSS readers.
Hypothetically speaking, though, wouldn’t it be nice if there were a single Mac utility which did a very good job handling the most popular social networks? Sure it would. That’s why Socialite is worth a long, close look.
One Tool Or Many Tools?
The problem most of us face these days is complexity. There’s too much going on. Staying on top of the social revolution spawned by the internet is a challenge.
On my Mac and iPhone I have apps for Twitter, apps for Facebook, apps for family photos on Flickr.
See the problem? Add to that NetNewsWire and the need to sync up with Google Reader for RSS feeds, and I end up using four or five tools instead of one. Why?
Generally speaking, using each in a browser windows seems confining and devoid of useful features. Generally speaking, the utility for each is quite good. Still, there’s that lingering desire for someone to bring them all together in one easy-to-use yet competent tool.
Social Networks In One Place
That’s basically what you get with Socialite. A bunch of social network tools all crammed together, none with the same feature set as a standalone tool, yet it all works.
If you like a majority of Mac users, you’re in to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and a few other social bus stops on the information super highway. Socialite brings them all to one place, one screen.
I started by clicking the Plus button in Socialite and selecting Facebook. After adding my login ID and password, Socialite’s window displays a few options (wall writing, publishing, etc.). It almost looks like Tweetie but with more info.
Ditto for Twitter. The stream looks eerily similar to Socialite’s Facebook display, only resizeable, and with more info. Repeat the process for Flickr, Google Reader, even Digg (a little too nerdy and elitist for my tastes).
In each case you’ll need to authenticate access so Socialite can log in for you, access services, and so on. The step-by-step process is painless and quick.
The Sum Of The Parts
Few multi-purpose Mac utilities give you more than the sum of the parts. Socialite does for some users (especially if you’re in to Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, and RSS feeds) but may not for others.
After all, the features in a standalone tool are usually better than in a multi-purpose tool. That’s just the way it is.
That said, the sum of the parts in Socialite are quite good, instantly familiar and intuitive, and healthy on efficiency. The left column displays your Accounts and status. For example, my Twitter account shows the number of tweets, mentions, messages.
Facebook displays updates, friend photos, and my family photos. Google Reader immediately syncs with Socialite and displays all your RSS feeds, folders, numbers.
See how that works? The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. If you’re in to Digg, it all works the same way. Just enter your Digg account details and you’re good to go.
Socialite’s interface could not be more of a pleasure to use. Status updates are displayed in the left column. Click on one and the details show up in the main column. Buttons vary a bit between the social network apps, but are self explanatory. Upload photo. Mark as read. And so on.
Using Twitter in Socialite took a little more work. Quick Send is an obscure button which means tweet.
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
What if you don’t use one or two of the services managed by Socialite? After all, the RSS reader in Socialite is not as feature laden as NetNewsWire. The Twitter functions not as robust as Tweetie or Twitterific.
Your succes will depend on those features you use in each Socialite service. For example, I don’t Digg. No worry. Socialite’s window is full anyway. What if you use services other than those in Socialite?
If that’s the case, you won’t bother with Socialite in the first place. It does what it does. At a base level, it’s an elegant Mac utility that gives you one-window access to Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, Digg, and RSS feeds, even syncing with Google Reader. What’s not to like?
Well, since Socialite integrates the most popular services so well, how about adding a few more? What would get you interested in Socialite? Adding Picasa? Adding MySpace? Adding AOL’s AIM? See? It’s a never ending quest for complexity.