The best social networking add-ons for all your browsers
It can be hard work, keeping track of multiple websites. Hitting F5 is a pain in the ass -- and waiting those few seconds for a page to reload can be mighty frustrating. Then there's the matter of remembering all of your login names and passwords (because you don't use the same password on more than one site, right?)
Wouldn't it be great if there were some add-ons and extensions that could make light work of your surprisingly busy social networking lifestyle? Even if you only use Facebook or Twitter, there are still plenty of annoyances that could be offloaded to add-ons.
Fortunately, as you've probably guessed, there are plenty of add-ons and extensions for both Chrome and Firefox. We've even thrown in a few Opera, Internet Explorer and Safari add-ons where possible. Read on!
Yoono integrates just about every social and instant messaging network into your browser's UI. For Firefox, you get a massive vertical toolbar down the side of your screen (but it can be resized, of course). Chrome isn't quite as useful, only being to float in a separate window, or in a tab. Both browsers have a 'column' layout, which looks and functions a lot like TweetDeck.
You can even add multiple accounts for some services, such as Twitter and Live Messenger. You can send tweets, update Facebook, chat with friends -- really, you can do it all with Yoono.
Yoono's feature list is so insanely large that you really should just give it a go -- you'll very quickly work out whether it's what you're looking for. It's free, too.
If you don't want quite as much functionality as Yoono, Shareaholic (Firefox / Chrome / Internet Explorer / Opera / Safari) is a very good alternative. As the name implies, Shareaholic lets you easily share your current website with just about every social network, news aggregator (Reddit, Digg), blog platform (WordPress, Tumblr) and bookmarking service (Delicious, StumbleUpon) in the world.
It also has built-in URL shortening with your choice of goo.gl, bit.ly, j.mp and su.pr; handy.
Be sure to look through the options and settings once you have it installed, too. There's a lot of cool stuff, such as keyboard shortcuts for even quicker sharing of Web pages.
StumbleUpon (Firefox / Chrome / Internet Explorer / Opera), if you've never used it, is the single best way to discover the weirdest and most wonderful things on the Web. It pools the collective surfing power of millions of Stumblers to bring you sites, movies and images from the Web's most far-flung extremities.
By choosing the topics you're most interested in, and by analyzing your thumbs up/down data, StumbleUpon algorithmically learns what you like. The more you stumble, the cooler and more interesting stuff you will stumble across. StumbleUpon's ability to find things you're interested in can be a little unnerving at times.
As you've probably guessed, though, stumbling is addictive. You will definitely want to hide the toolbar when you're working.
LastPass Password Manager
Let's hope you didn't use the same email address and password on another website, because it will very quickly get compromised, and soon your account will be used to send spam to all of your friends. You might even get locked out of your accounts!
That's why you need a password manager like LastPass (Firefox / Chrome / Opera / Internet Explorer / Safari). LastPass uses a unique password for each and every Web service, from logging in to Facebook, to the commenting form on Download Squad. LastPass remembers all of your passwords, and you can access them from any computer because they're stored in the cloud.
Remember, in the digital world your login credentials are your identity. Look after them!
Read It LaterThe final add-on isn't really social as such, though it does have sharing features. If your social network is large enough -- and especially if you read a lot of blogs -- you will eventually get to the stage where you simply can't keep up with the continuous URL bombardment.
While Read It Later (Firefox / All other browsers) won't magically slow down the rotation of the Earth or reduce the amount of sleep you require, it does provide a better way of eventually getting through everything you have to read.
Read It Later simply lets you save a Web page to your own personal, cloud-based reading list. If you get half way through reading something and have to head to work, click Read It Later, and then continue reading at any other time, from any Web-connected device, including your smartphone (iOS / Android / All other phones).
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Are you a social networking guru? Did we miss an add-on that you regularly use? Leave a comment!