If you are like me, then you’re probably using more than one social networking platform these days, possibly balancing your communications platforms between personal and professional realms. LinkedIn has become the norm for professionally focused social networking, Facebook is the yin to that yang for the personal side of life, while Twitter is now the great go between, satisfying both worlds to some extent (yes, I know it is micro blogging and not the same kind of platform).
For those on Twitter, it doesn’t take long to run out of running room on the app to start looking for Twitter-based clients with more functionality, either a desktop or mobile client. I made the leap to TweetDeck six months ago, then jumped to Seesmic, and just recently plunged into PeopleBrowsr. While I was perfectly happy with TweetDeck, and the fact that it integrated Facebook as well, it did start to slow down my iMac the larger my network got, and according to the grapevine out there, would get progressively worse. I tried Seesmic too. Honestly, I did, but couldn’t seem to fall in love with the UI. Recently I jumped to PeopleBrowsr, and the biggest draw was the integration of Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, which for me, is the holy grail of my social networking world.
So far I’m impressed with the flexibility of column design and the flexibility around Twitter and Facebook feeds. The LinkedIn support and customization is less than stellar, but blame that on LinkedIn’s rigid proprietary platform and refusal to play well with others (LinkedIn is just now launching a mobile client beta, after years of pleading from subscribers). Still, the ability to have my most three important communities all on one screen, is huge. Unlike TweetDeck, PeopleBrowsr runs in your browser, meaning you can access it easily from any PC or Mac, and don’t have to download it locally, which is important when I find myself borrowing family members PCs when traveling, or if I want to show the app off to others, which I’ve been doing frequently.
I also especially like the ability to display my stacks in either gallery, stream, or map (which is really cool) mode. Although each of these is a stack in and of itself, meaning that a Twitter stream of friends can be shown as a map (one stack), or as the text stream and a map stream (2 stacks). You can get carried away with the number of stacks depending on the number and complexity of your networks. PeopleBrowsr supports over 10 stacks. That’s a lot of “stack flutter” if you have really active networks.
I expect more functionality ahead for PeopleBrowsr if its popularity continues to grow. As consumers demand more graphically-oriented applications, apps like PeopleBrowsr are delivering on that need. Now, if only someone can create a mobile app (for iPhone and BlackBerry) that toggles between Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn streams, that would be nirvana.