Quick, look around. How far away from you is your mobile phone? If you’re like the rest of us, the answer is not very far. Our phones are wireless but somehow we feel like they are always attached to us or, more correctly, we are always attached to them!
Social media vendors have obviously recognized this trend and have produced some cool apps for our smartphones. Let’s take a look at what these vendors have released.
LinkedIn Mobile offers solutions for the iPhone, BlackBerry android and Palm. You can find a link to LinkedIn Mobile at the bottom of any page on LinkedIn or by clicking the image to the right.
LinkedIn’s mobile apps allow users to access LinkedIn profiles and updates. LinkedIn for the BlackBerry, for example, integrates with BlackBerry Contacts, Calendar and Messaging. It supports the Tour, Bold, Curve and Storm models running on operating system (OS) 4.3.0 or higher.
The latest iPhone version, 4.0.2, can be found in the iTunes store and allows users to access updates and view your profile, Inbox and your network. It also provides access to LinkedIn Today. The Android version offers similar features and can be found in the Android Market.
Facebook offers support for a large number of devices including the iPhone, Palm, BlackBerry android and Windows Phone. The Facebook mobile site is easy to navigate. Simply select your phone from a dropdown list and you’re redirected to a Facebook page that has been setup for each type of smartphone. You can Like the page to receive updates and participate in conversations. In addition, each page includes a Download App button that links you to the appropriate download site, store or market.
The features of the mobile apps vary based upon your smartphone. For example, Facebook for BlackBerry includes Facebook Chat, notifications, messages, access to your friends list and the ability to share updates via BlackBerry Messenger, short message service or text messages (SMS) or e-mail.
In addition to its smartphone apps, Facebook offers two other mobile options:
- You can use e-mail to post status updates and send photos.
- Facebook users can also receive notifications and update their status via text messages.
Twitter has mobile apps for the iPhone android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry. From your smartphone, you can browse to m.twitter.com and access the apps. The mobile version of Twitter allows the user to tweet, send messages, share photos, send links, search tweets and see trending topics.
Some of the more popular Twitter clients like HootSuite and TweetDeck also offer mobile solutions. HootSuite offers mobile solutions for the iPhone android and BlackBerry. TweetDeck has mobile solutions for the Android and iPhone.
Relative newcomer, Google+ offers mobile solutions for Nokia, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry android and iPhone. Mobile users can use Messenger (formerly known as Huddle) to converse and share photos with a group. The Google+ mobile app includes Hangouts that allow video conferencing with as many as nine people. You can use Stream to get updates from your Circles or use the Check-In feature in the Nearby view to see what’s happening near you. Finally, you can use SMS to subscribe to notifications, post to Google+ and participate in conversations.
Our smartphones have allowed us to communicate in ways that we never thought possible. It seems like we are never out of touch. The same can be said about social media. It allows us to keep up with all the things that are happening with our friends, followers, connections and circle members.
It is obvious that the lines between our personal and professional lives have blurred over the past decade. One of the reasons is that our employers have provided us with smartphones and created the expectation that we will be available outside our normal working hours. I advise that you approach social media mobile apps with caution if you have an employer provided smartphone. You just might find yourself in a situation where your personal information resides on a phone that you do not control. A well-defined smartphone policy should be implemented to avoid any issues.
Adding social media apps to your smartphone will provide a great level of knowledge and interaction. We learn things in an instant and get an overwhelming amount of information delivered to us wherever we are!
This article was originally published in the AICPA's CPA Insider newsletter.