Social networking sites like Facebook aren’t always about wasting your time. There’s a lot you can do about it. There are apps from games to professional tools – all in one place …
There has been a significant shift in social networking trends among Indian youth over the past year: almost everyone who has ever had an orkut account now has one on Facebook – and few have even opted out of orkut altogether. Over the past four months, the number of Facebook active users has more than doubled, and July 2009 saw more than 3.2 million Indian users. Comscore, the internet marketing and research company, says that 68.2 percent of the time Indians spent on social networks was spent on Orkut. But just ask your friends and family what hangout they prefer while online and you will likely find the Comscore results surprising. Let’s face it: For a growing number of Indians, Facebook is the new orkut.
One of the reasons for Facebook’s growing popularity is its aggressive marketing strategy. Facebook has ensured it remains visible in the media through ties with various major companies such as Aircel for mobile internet services, Vodafone (and their ZooZoos) for free access to Facebook – with all its poke, updates and egg sending – on your cell phone, and Viacom’s MTV (India) for ‘Celebrity Connect’ – find out what celebs you look like. The failed attempt to buy Twitter and the recent acquisition of FriendFeed – have also helped keep it in the public eye.
The second reason is that it is packed with dozens of unique features, an incredibly interactive, instantly gratifying and deeply interesting selection of applications (or ‘apps’) and surprising tweaks that let you have fun while in constant touch with your friends and family. Let’s look at a few of the things you could do on (and with) Facebook to bring the ‘social’ back to your network and make it more exciting, entertaining and cool.
Log into Facebook.com and have a good look in the lower left corner of the screen. You can’t miss the little button on the toolbar that says f applications. Click the link that says ‘Browse Multiple Applications’ on the f-applications toolbar. This opens a Pandora’s box of applications you can choose from.
We start this quick tour of applications with a look at three of the most happening games on the Facebook page in order of popularity.
While approx. 62 percent of the Indian population is actually employed in the agricultural sector, suddenly the population of virtual farmers has increased thanks to FarmVille. This online game where anyone can establish and grow their own virtual farm has almost 35 million users and is certainly the most popular game on Facebook. Developed by Zynga, San Francisco, it allows you to become an online farmer – planting, growing, harvesting and selling crops, buying or breeding livestock – to earn ‘coin income’. Each crop requires a few hours to grow (tomatoes need eight hours, raspberries need two, sunflowers need 23, etc.) and each gives you an XP (short for experience).
The more crops and trees you plant, the more experience you get. Farmers can invite other Facebook friends to become neighbors and send special gifts according to the level. Access to what crops you can grow depends on the number of points you have earned – and therefore, what level you have reached in the game – pineapple seeds, for example, are only available to you when you reach level 15 (Professor of Agriculture) after having accumulated 4,500 points
This is a multiplayer browser game that is also on MySpace and tagged, but has an incredible 23,367,984 monthly active users (and growing) on Facebook only. This is another hit game by Zynga, but unlike the slow, domestic space at FarmVille, it encourages you to plunder, plunder, kill and create an Al Capone-like empire. Set in New York City, Little Italy or Cub, players must choose a character, perform jobs to make money, build a gang by recruiting members and fighting other mafia conglomerates – all with limited stamina, energy and health.
As in FarmVille, you can ‘level’ by getting more points and getting XP by performing more jobs. As you rise in levels, you are rewarded with access to new features, new weapons and new jobs.
More than 50 games are fighting for your attention on the MindJolt Games application. Avoid bullets from reaching the bottom, breaking brick walls, playing pool, destroying balls in combinations of three – there are countless options to choose from. If you’re bored of getting shot in Mafia Wars, head to MindJolt for hours of unlimited gaming fun. There are other funky hangout games like Yoville and Living Social that let you interact with friends and contacts in entertaining ways. Don’t forget to check out Pet Society, another game program that features lots of games and decorations to play with.
Here is a list of some useful applications in Facebook:
This is a social news application that allows you to discuss socially relevant issues for the purpose of gaining solidarity for particular endeavors and movements. You can vote, read, post or comment on stories directly from your Facebook account. Each story you post earns 10 points, by one vote you get 5 points and by sharing a story or inviting a friend you get 25 points each. Newsfeeds are part of this application. You can also access videos from reliable news sources here.
Ca. 5,000,000 people have used this. This is the most interactive application on Facebook that gives every user a chance to feel like a genius. If you have a great idea and you think people will like it, just turn it into an application, sit back and see how you can change the world using Facebook.
This is a Box.net storage service that allows you to upload and save files directly from their profile. Although only 1 GB and does not even compare to remote storage facilities such as MSN’s Skydrive, this is useful if you want to display these files on your profile. Friends can then download these files. This is really easy to use, but these files are visible to all your Facebook friends and you may not really want everyone to see them.
Pixlr is a free Firefox-powered online photo editor. Whether you want to upload new photos or edit older ones, Pixlr is an excellent program to help you through the process. Anyone who is used to Photoshop or Paintshop will find the interface smooth sailing. Alternatively, you can use Pixlr Express to easily crop, resize and juggle photos.
With accounts on services like Twitter, Flickr and MySpace and more or less the same set of friends on the list – and you get bugs with the repeated logins and updates. DandyID has the answer to your hurts. This is a program that syncs all your accounts and displays them on your Facebook profile.
Send a positive thought to each of your friends each morning using the Positive Thoughts application and make their day. Although not all of them are in English, they are all deep, philosophical, bright and cheerful. Give it a try and be encouraged even when your Facebook friends sign in to thank you.
Social networking gives you access to all your contacts. While not comprehensive, here is a list of business applications on Facebook that can fire your business and ensure better brand recall without the prohibitive costs of an advertising campaign.
Facebook Fan Pages are full of potential customers who stay online for extended periods of time on the site and discuss everything about their favorites. Any agency or company could deposit this by placing their ads on the fan page.
Fan Page Promotions enable you. You can use it to create and launch marketing campaigns in minutes using the simple, easy-to-use interface for this application. These must be interactive and in the form of lotteries, contests, coupons and discount tickets. Lately, Facebook has started researching these – especially promo quizzes – and is ready to shut down any agencies that appear to abuse this feature.
Take Biz Pro business card:
Use Tag Biz Pro to create a life-like business card from a variety of features to create a business network on Facebook. You can attach your business card to all your Facebook messages and select a keyword that will then appear in a business keyword tag on your profile page. SlideShare: Now you can connect your favorite presentation exchange site to Facebook in such a way that it is automatically uploaded to SlideShare, Facebook and LinkedIn at the same time. And it’s not just for your presentations. The site supports PPT, PPS, PPTX, ODP, PDF, DOC, DOCX, ODT, Keynote, iWork pages and even allows you to embed YouTube videos into your profile page. This can be of great help if you want to showcase the unique outlets for your business or you want to showcase your own skills.
This application helps you find and communicate with Facebook users based on their old job, where they had their last interview or who they are currently working with. You can then get inside information about these companies and make an informed opinion about a potential employer. You can also find the right employee, find a job or advertise a vacancy in your company.
Here is a program that is so useful that one wonders why no one thought of it before. It is a free program that allows you to create a direct link to your Facebook profile page by choosing a name of your choice. So you can create a link such as www. profile.to/YourName, making it easier for friends or contacts to search and find your profile in just a few clicks. The only thing is that you have to hurry because this has caught and already has more than a million users.
This application allows companies to conduct marketing campaigns on Facebook for as much as $ 5 and as much as $ 250. It encourages users to visit your Facebook page, interact with it and then share the results with your friends, leading to even more more advertising for your brand.
Everyone who uses Facebook knows the most entertaining apps like iLike and SuperPoke. We have listed some of the popular and some not so well known entertaining applications that can make life with Facebook more colorful.
Music by iLike:
This allows you to add a music tab to your profile, create and share playlists with your friends, receive concert updates and participate in DJ competitions. It already has about 10 million users, so don’t hang back. Bumper Sticker: An incredible selection of typical bumper sticker bays abounds in the Bumper Sticker program, which allows you to view, share and use stickers on your profile and others. These are virtual stickers ranging from the cartoon to the bizarre. A must-have application.
Choose a picture of your friend, apply the kind of treatment you would like to give it and there you have a caricature. You can place it on his wall or share it with friends. There are a few other applications that do the same thing (like Get My Caricature) and you can try them too. The effects are sometimes hilarious at times and you can just add this application for kicks. Just be careful what images you choose to make a caricature out of, unless you don’t mind getting your kicks in the real world too.
Choose Sketch Me for more sober representations. You can choose how dark you want your sketch to be, and then publish it to your friends.
Flixster allows you to check who likes the same kind of movies among friends, submit and read reviews of the latest movies, find new movies you’ve never heard of otherwise, and check your knowledge of movies.
People just can’t stop taking quizzes on Facebook. These quizzes range from being sensible to fun. You can spend years answering all the different quizzes created by users. Add this application to find out what sex and city character you are, whether you are more reminiscent of Maya Sarabhai or Sahil Sarabhai, who you were in your past life, etc. – there are too many to cover here. If you are really busy, skip this one. On the other hand, if you want to shop busy on your computer, this is the one for you.
Organizing a party or together usually depends on countless calls to friends or family and often when you end up making a concrete plan, either your cell phone battery has run out or you have spent all your talking time. Try My Plans on Facebook, which allows you to notify, share and discuss meeting schedules with all your friends and family who are on Facebook, making the task much easier.
So it finishes our list of six-pack applications for Facebook. Aside from applications, there are other cool tweaks that can enhance your interactions on Facebook