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Best free stuff, 2013 edition: The social butterfly

Ian Paul, Jared Newman, Daniel Ionescu, Brad Chacos | May 28, 2013
Here are the 11 best free tools for the social butterfly

Another great tool for multinetwork users is Hootsuite, a powerful app for keeping an eye on Facebook, FourSquare, LinkedIn, Twitter, and more, simultaneously. It's a great option now that Twitter-owned TweetDeck is shutting down Facebook integration and killing its mobile apps. Hootsuite offers a Web app for desktop users (available once you sign in on the website), and mobile apps for Android and iOS.

Power users should also keep Buffer in mind for scheduling posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Buffer lets you store up a bunch of updates, and then posts them throughout the day, using algorithms to determine the optimal times. It's useful if you like to share lots of links but don't want to overwhelm your followers with a dozen posts at once.

If photographs are your focus, consider ThisLife, a service that lets you combine photos from multiple social networks—including Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, and Twitter—along with photos from your desktop. With your image files safely stored, you can search through them all at once and make edits. ThisLife is free for the first 1000 photos.

When it's time to sit back and relax, Stevie TV offers an interesting way to soak in updates from Facebook and Twitter. Available on the Web, Android, iOS, and Windows 8, Stevie TV gathers videos from your friends into a single "channel," along with status updates and other tidbits. It also offers themed channels based on popular shared content, just in case your friends aren't sharing much. Remote-control apps for Android and iPhone are available as well.

Finally, social butterflies can use to create a central hub for all of their online profiles. creates a simple online profile with a biography, contact information, and links to pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and elsewhere. Think of it as an supersized online business card—a static page where people can find out how to reach you in various ways.


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