Top 10 social networking iPhone apps in 2009

Chris Caceres · December 14, 2009 · Short URL:

Facebook for iPhone, Tweetdeck, Yelp, Fring and more

In a world where online social networking is becoming an essential tool for communication, we've listed out ten must-have iPhone applications to help you on the go.

Facebook for iPhone - If you're reading this, you're probably one of the 350 million people with a Facebook account.  The application is a must-have for anybody into social networking.  A new version was released earlier this year and functions quite nicely letting users update their status, check their feeds, comment on posts, upload photos and plenty of other essential features any Facebook user would use.

Tweetdeck - There's plenty of Twitter applications for the iPhone, but if I had to pick one with the most features at zero cost, this would be the one.  Tweetdeck functions similar to its desktop counterpart and allows users to customize a set of columns to their Twitter needs.  Some of the column types include Twitter search, Twitter trends, Friends, Direct messages and User groups.  And what's neat is if you have multiple Twitter accounts, you can view them all in the same application by picking which user name you want to use for each column.  There's also simple features for tweeting and retweeting tweets as well as checking out links all within the application, instead of having to leave and open up a separate browser.

Yelp - For us social networking folks, it's almost second nature to check out restaurant reviews on Yelp before actually deciding to go somewhere.  The application has these essential features of the site but what makes it better is it uses the iPhone GPS to find out where you are in order to tell you local results, so it falls under the category of geo-location applications.  If you own an iPhone 3GS, Yelp gets even better with a nice augmented reality feature which overlays nearby business ratings as you point your camera towards whatever place you are thinking about stepping into.

Fring - As somebody constantly communicating on the Internet with all sorts of people, I've ended up with multiple chat accounts.  This app is perfect for somebody who needs to chat on more than one client.  It lets you access and chat with your buddies on Skype, MSN Live, ICQ, Yahoo, Google, Twitter and AIM.  It's a great alternative to having to download a separate application for each client (which is possible but very inconvenient).  Another feature the app has which I never make use of is free Skype voice calls.

Foursquare - This application turns he world around you into one big social networking game.  Foursquare uses the iPhone's geo-location features to let you check into whatever bar, restaurant, or other hang out you may be at.  A user who regulars a place the most, (checks in the most), becomes the mayor of that location but if you stop showing up, someone else can steal that title.  You can also find and leave hidden tips when checking into a location...this is great for getting information like what the best things to order on the menu are.  The application is also good for finding where your friends are so you can join them out in the physical world to grab a drink or hang out.

Bump - Need to get quick contact information from someone at a conference but don't have time to type it all out, then Bump is the way to do that.  The app lets users pick and choose which information they'd like to share such as phone number, email, photo, and address.  You then put the phones together and "bump" them to have all the information wirelessly transmit to the the person you're trying exchange info with.  Simple as that.

Ustream Live Broadcaster- For those with an iPhone 3GS, Ustream allows you to broadcast live video from your cell phone.  Another great tool for conferences or just sharing any sort of experience with the world through video.  Another great feature to the application is it connects to your Twitter and Facebook account and automatically sends out a tweet or wall post so you can tell your friends you are broadcasting live video.   People across the Web can watch your broadcast right there in their browsers without having to download the application on their phones. 

Loopt - Another location based application but this one maps out where your friends are on an actual map.  What's great about this app is it works on over 100 phones so it's very likely to get your friends to sign up and start sharing their locations with one another.  The app also connects to Yelp so you can check out reviews of the places showing up on your map.

Layar - Although the app does need some improvement, this is a great start and taste of what Augmented Reality actually is.  Layar calls itself a "reality browser."  It makes use of the iPhone 3GS's compass so you can point your phone at the real world and see all sorts of text and overlayed information.  The app also can do fun things like add objects to the real world.  For example, say you point your phone up at the sky, Layar can add a fun UFO up there or other hidden surprise.  The application also has a lot of potential for tours, overlaying info on top of exhibits etc.  And of course, Layar hooks up with Twitter to show whos tweeting around town and then overlays that information based on where you are.

Ocarina - This is an oldy-but still worth a mention.  Smule, the makers of this app continually innovate in music applications with social networking features.  In the case of Ocarina, the application serves as an instrument you blow into.  But it takes the social networking step by letting users access a neat 3D globe which shows echos of floating up from the world.  You can click one of those streams of sound and hear somebody from across the world playing a song live at that very moment on their Ocarina application.

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Smule develops interactive sonic applications for the iPhone and other technology platforms.   Smule is developing the new sonic network, connecting users across the globe through expressive audio.  Smule's Ocarina, I Am T-Pain, and Leaf Trombone have set the standard for iPhone applications, combining innovative uses of the hardware with compelling social experiences. 



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Ustream.TV is the live interactive video broadcast platform that enables anyone with a camera and an Internet connection to quickly and easily broadcast to a global audience of unlimited size.

In less than two minutes, anyone can become a broadcaster by creating their own channel on Ustream or by broadcasting through their own site, empowering them to engage with their audience and further build their brand. Click here to start a broadcast now or learn more about broadcasting.

Ustream's one-to-many live interactive video encourages broadcast-to-viewer and viewer-to-viewer interaction, empowering a much more engaging experience for everyone involved.

With Ustream's interactive broadcast functionality, viewers can personally interact directly with whoever is broadcasting -- including personalities like their favorite musician or politician. Ustream viewers can watch specific broadcasts, explore our networks ranging from music, talk shows, sports and politics to discover a world of interesting new broadcasts, or review our past broadcasts.

Ustream opens up a new world of possibilities and experiences to broadcasters and viewers alike, which the pre-recorded static video that's predominated the Internet to date just can't provide. Today, people are Ustreaming everything including:



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Loopt is a Silicon Valley based startup that has built a revolutionary social mapping service to change the way people use mobile phones to keep in touch with their friends. Loopt facilitates real-world interaction between friends and puts an end to frustrating missed connections.

Using location-based technologies, Loopt lets you know where your friends are by automatically updating maps on your mobile handset. Loopt even lets you send messages to nearby friends or receive automatic alerts when they're nearby so that you never miss an opportunity to meet. Loopt also lets you journal your life so that your friends can see what you're up to. With Loopt, mobile subscribers put themselves on the map.

Loopt is backed by venture capital firms Sequoia Capital and New Enterprise Associates, the same firms that helped found Google, Yahoo!, PayPal and TiVo among many other technology innovators.

Loopt is available on Boost Mobile and Sprint Nextel and will be available on other major US carriers soon



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fring™ is a mobile internet service & community that enables you to access & interact with your social networks on-the-go, make free calls and live chat with all your fring, Skype®, MSN® Messenger, Google Talk™, ICQ, SIP, Twitter, Yahoo!™ and AIM®* friends using your handset’s internet connection rather than costly cellular airtime minutes.

Bringing PC-benefits to the mobile, fring will empower you with mobility and availability as never before, integrating all contacts in to one, searchable buddy list, allowing you to see who’s online before dialing with contact availability indicators, engage in multiple conversations simultaneously, send & receive files and more.

You can even make affordable local and international calls to landline and regular cellular numbers using your SkypeOut/SkypeIn account or almost any internet voice service (SIP) such as SIPNET, EuteliaVoIP, VoIPVoIP and VoIPTalk, even from non-SIP enabled handsets.

What’s more, fring will automatically log you in to WiFi hotspots that you’ve previously logged into, so you can save time and hassle without having to configure your WiFi access points each time you enter a WiFi hotspot whether it be your home, office, or favourite coffee shop, and save even more on calls & chats to your friends, as calls among fringsters and your online communities are 100% free when using your existing WiFi account.

As easy to download as a ringtone and simple to install and use, fring is PC-independent and does not require any dedicated hardware or airtime - all you need to use fring is a supported handset with internet connectivity and an internet data package or a WiFi account.