How to Use Social Media Apps on Your iPad

Your iPad comes with several social media apps including Game Center and YouTue as well as the Ping feature in the Music app. What it doesn't include are social media apps for popular networks, such as Facebook and Twitter. Free apps for these social media networks (and many others) are available in theApp Store.

You don’t necessarily need an app to participate in social networking. The networks mentioned here can be fully utilized using Safari on your iPad. And frankly, unlike the iPhone, where the Safari experience was hampered by the tiny screen and keyboard, the websites are eminently usable on your iPad.

Apple Game Center app

Game Center is the odd duck of the bunch. Unlike the other apps mentioned, Game Center is an app that came with your iPad. And unlike the others, which are broad-based and aimed at anyone and everyone, Game Center is designed for a specific segment of the iPad (and iPhone and iPod touch) universe, namely, users who have one or more games on their iPads (or other devices).

Game Center acts as a match-up service, letting you challenge your friends or use its Auto-Match Invite Friend button to challenge a stranger who also happens to be looking for someone to play against.

Of course, to make a social network like Game Center a success, lots of games need to support Game Center. Some of the games available are shown in this figure.

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Facebook app

The Facebook iPad app, as shown in this figure, makes it easy to access the most popular Facebook features with a single finger tap.

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Note that the native iPad version of the Facebook app has a slick interface with quick access to many popular Facebook features as shown on the left.

On the other hand, Safari can’t provide push notifications for Facebook events such as messages, Wall and Timeline posts, friend requests and confirmations, photo tags, events, and comments, whereas the iPad app does all that and more.

The bottom line is that there’s nothing to prevent having the best of both worlds. So if you’re a heavy Facebook user, consider using the Facebook iPad app for some things (such as push notifications and status updates) and Safari for others (such as reading your Wall or News Feeds).

Twitter app

Twitter puts a slightly different spin on social networking. Unlike Facebook, it doesn’t try to be encompassing or offer dozens of features, hoping that some of them will appeal to you. Instead, Twitter does one thing and does it well. That thing is letting its users post short messages, or tweets, quickly and easily from a variety of platforms including web browsers, mobile phones, smartphones, and other devices.

Twitter users then have the option of following any other Twitter user’s tweets. The result is a stream of short messages like the ones shown here.

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A tweet is 140 characters or fewer (including spaces). This tip, for example, is precisely 140 characters. Bottom line: omit needless words.

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