Like most of you reading this post, I have a fairly worrying number of social media accounts: Facebook, Flickr, Google Reader and multiple Twitter accounts, which for some reason I feel the need to be constantly updated on. I think you realise you’re a social media addict when you meet someone in person and refer to by their Twitter handle, as @Chris… I mean Chris Wall will attest to!
Up until recently I’ve had to run a Twitter client (Tweetie, of course), an RSS reader, and then have Fluid SSBs for Facebook and Flickr, which meant a lot of dock real estate hogging and a fair bit of CPU and RAM usage too.
Then I found Socialite, formerly EventBox, from the lovely folks at Real Mac Software. I had a license of EventBox from a while ago, but the Real Mac Software gang kindly upgraded that to a Socialite license for no extra cost.
The Power of One
Socialite’s power comes from the ability to bring multiple Digg, Facebook, Flickr, Google Reader and Twitter accounts into one place as well as being able to handle your RSS feeds (which you can import from any OPML file).
The big advantage here is that you only need to run one, count it, one application to feed your addiction, which saves both dock real estate and precious CPU power (very handy when I’m crunching the audio files for an IMP edit).
Socialite’s main window (called ‘All Events’) has a very consistent, and in my opinion pleasing, UI across all the supported services and makes good use of well-designed icons and some fairly subtle animation to update posts etc.
As you can see in the screenshot your services are listed in a left hand sidebar with the content in a nice big content area with a fairly unobtrusive input area at the bottom.
You may be thinking to yourself right now, “Hmm, that ‘All Events’ window is too big for my general Twitter needs,” and I’d agree with you, I’m used to the simple UI of Twitterific and Tweetie. Socialite has a second view available which they call the HUD (Heads Up Display, ooh fancy techy term!) which allows you to see any one container of events at a time, this could be just your Twitter feed or any of the ‘Smart Folders’ you can set up. These are effectively liked saved searches in Finder. You can easily switch between containers using the drop-down menu at the top of the HUD or by using customisable keyboard shortcuts.
Obviously if you have a lot of sources set up, as I do, the HUD’s drop-down can become very cluttered, but don’t worry—the Real Mac Software boffins have taken that into account and allow you to select which servicess, or even individual parts of a sevice, you want to be displayed in the HUD by simply right-clicking the source in the ‘All Events’ window and unchecking ‘Display in HUD’.
Tweet, Tweet, Retweet!
Yes, Socialite supports the new native retweet mechanism as well as the old method, now refereed to as ‘quote’, which is something I’ve been yelling at Tweetie about for months. Strangely, it didn’t seem to respond that well, so instead I’ll have to wait for its developer, Atebits, to get the time to implement these features. Lists are also present, and I like the way they’ve been laid out in the ‘All Events’ window and can be turned on and off for HUD view. I can really see the benefits of Lists now my client supports them, a great way to have a sub-set of your follow list displayed, grouped by theme, if you like the person or not… oh did I just say that out loud… err moving on!
The Facebook Failure
I’m not a huge fan of Facebook, at least not since it turned into pathetic games, silly groups and the onslaught of junk coming from various ‘applications’, but what I do like is the ability to see what my friends and family are up to, view their photos and comment and like posts, as well as being able to update my own status of course.
Socialite focuses just on those 3 key elements, and because it’s using the Facebook API and not just a WebKit view, you avoid all the tedious changes in Facebook’s design, and hence all the ‘We want Facebook back the way it was and will spam all our friends with this pointless group until we get it’ groups.
I suppose if you are a fan of Facebook games, groups and all the other junk that comes with it, in which case I can recommend a good therapist, then you should probably stick with your Facebook SSB.
The Missing Bits
As with any application there are always things that, at least in my opinion, aren’t quite there yet or are missing-in-action completely. Being honest, there aren’t that many in Socialite but I thought it was only fair to mention the ones I have personally found to give a more balanced review diet.
For me the key feature, at least for Twitter use, that needs work is the keyboard shortcuts. Sure, you can refresh the service you’re using easily, but there’s no shortcuts for replying, retweeting or sending a direct message. While this isn’t a huge deal it does get a little frustrating at times.
I hate to bring up Tweetie again, but let’s be honest most people are looking for something to fill the gap until Tweetie 2 for Mac arrives, no? Anyway, Tweetie’s killer feature was the way Direct Messages were handled, almost like having an IM client setup, so all my DMs to and from a certain person are grouped in one ‘conversation’. Socialite doesn’t do this instead all your DMs, both sent and received are showed in one long list, which just doesn’t flow right for me.
Socialite has come a long way since EventBox, the UI has been refined, it knows what services it’s supporting now and most of all Socialite is stable and by no means the CPU hog EventBox used to be. The other big advantage over, say, Seesmic or Tweetdeck is simple: it’s a native Cocoa app, so no ugly and buggy Adobe Air to be found here.
Would I recommend it for daily use? Absolutely, its powerful tools are coated in a really well thought out UI, and most importantly, especially in the Mac community, it just works.
Socialite is priced at just $20 US or £13.55 GBP, which, in my view at least, is a very reasonable price for what could be best described as ‘The Swiss-Army Knife of Social Media’.
Disclosure Statement: This review was not sponsored by Real Mac Software and the copy used was bought with my own funds prior to the review being written.