Bloggers are relatively mobile individuals. Some of us who earn directly or indirectly from blogging or writing most probably are not stuck in an office all day. Instead, we usually go about town looking for interesting things to write about, attend events, or just simply get ideas and inspiration from our environment. In some cases, we’re constrained with not being able to bring our laptops around, but there are a lot of alternatives to being connected.
Inspired by a recent Blog Herald post by Darnell Clayton on iPhone video blogging tools, I’m now listing a few tools I use myself in getting connected while on the move.
While I have a few smartphones at my disposal, my usual weapon of choice is my Nokia E51, which runs on Symbian Series 60 version 3. The S60v3 runs a host of native Symbian and Java-based applications, and many of these are social media tools. What’s great with the E51 is that it supports various data connectivity options, like WiFi, GPRS 3G and HSDPA.
Gmail for S60. My phone doesn’t have push email capabilities, and mobile networks in my country usually offer these at a very steep premium. And so as an alternative, I use Gmail’s mobile application, which is great for checking on mails while on the move. It’s also a good way of checking my emails in the morning, as I don’t have to open my computer just to check for incoming work and personal messages. A lot of notifications from various social networks also come in at my Gmail inbox, so this gives me an overview of what has happened while I was offline.
Gravity. Gravity is a great Twitter application for the S60. While there are countless others out there, I like the smooth interface and the inclusion of various features, like retweeting, replying, direct messaging, profile viewing, top trends, searching, and even posting of images on the phone to Twitpic and various other providers. Gravity also lets me login from different Twitter accounts. One thing I like is how it will give audible (and vibrating) alerts whenever I get direct messages or @mentions. Gravity comes at a price, but the ten bucks I paid is well worth it.
Nimbuzz. My work and business involves talking to a lot of people online through instant messaging and VoIP. Being able to do these right on my mobile phone is quite convenient. I use several computers at my home office (or mobile office) and I may not necessarily have my IM client turned on at all times. Having my IM client right inside my pocket most of the time helps in keeping me connected (assuming Nimbuzz is turned on!). Nimbuz supports Skype and Gizmo, so I can use my SkypeIn and unlimited SkypeOut as long as my phone is connected.
QiK. Most mobile phones nowadays have built-in cameras. QiK makes it easy for users to upload videos straight from one’s mobile phone. It’s also great for broadcasting quick videos, as QiK also supports live streaming (more or less, depending on bandwidth).
Google Maps. Latitude is a cool enough tool for finding friends (barring privacy issues), but what I find great is how Google has opened up mapping to the community. With mapping parties coming up every now and then, even the remotest of places are now on Google Maps, down to road data and even establishments. I also like how the application can determine or approximate your location through GPS or through the mobile network.
Snaptu. I’ve only recently started being active on Facebook, and when I searched for a good mobile client, Snaptu was among the first on the search results. Even if it’s not a native Symbian application, I find Snaptu quick enough. Apart from a Facebook app, it also has various other applets, like an RSS reader and various clients for Twitter, Flickr, Picasa and other social media services.
Full-fledged applications that run on the computer or browser are, of course, more functional. But what makes mobile applications appealing to me is their accessibility and portability. Even if I can’t be in front of a computer all the time (which I strongly think no one should be), I can still keep in touch and stay connected through my various online presences. Sometimes, I even find myself using the mobile tools more than their computer counterparts.
What are your favorite mobile tools for social media?