How to Use Social Media Apps on the iPad mini - dummies

How to Use Social Media Apps on the iPad mini

At first glance, it appears the iPad mini is light on social media support. Meaning that that Game Center is the only sign of social media on a brand new iPad mini.

Still, iOS 7 is much more friendly to social media than it appears at first glance. Although your iPad mini doesn’t come with official Facebook or Twitter apps, support for the two most popular social networks is baked right into iOS 7.

You can find free apps for these social media networks (and many others) in the App Store, but iOS 7 lets you install the Facebook and Twitter apps without even having to visit the App Store. Just tap Settings→Facebook (or Twitter), and then tap the Install button to install the app you’ve chosen.

You don’t necessarily need an app to participate in social networking. These networks can be fully utilized using Safari on your iPad mini. And frankly, unlike the iPhone, where the Safari experience is hampered by the tiny screen and keyboard, the websites are eminently usable on your iPad mini. So, if you want to check them out and don’t feel like downloading their apps, here are their URLs:

If you use Facebook or Twitter, the first thing to do regardless of whether you intend to use the apps, is to tap Settings→Facebook and Settings→Twitter and provide your username and password for each service you intend to use. This will let you share photos, maps and directions, videos, URLs, and much more by tapping the Share button and then tapping the icon for Facebook or Twitter.

Facebook

The Facebook iPad app makes it easy to access the most popular Facebook features with a single finger tap.

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Note that the Facebook iPad app has a slick interface with quick access to many popular Facebook features.

On the other hand, Safari can’t provide push notifications for Facebook events such as messages, Timeline posts, friend requests and confirmations, photo tags, events, or 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

Twitter puts a slightly different spin on social networking. Unlike Facebook, it doesn’t try to be all-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.

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A tweet is 140 characters or fewer (including spaces). This tip, for example, is precisely 140 characters. As Strunk and White (The Elements of Style) would say: Omit needless words.

Game Center

Game Center is the odd duck of the bunch. Unlike the other apps, Game Center has no website; you have to use the Game Center app that came with your iPad mini.

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).

Mac users can get in on the fun, too, as long as they’re using Mountain Lion or Mavericks, which include a Game Center app very similar to the one on your iPad.

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.

Game Center supports thousands upon thousands of games these days.

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The games include many top sellers, such as Angry Birds, Real Racing 2 HD, Fairway Solitaire, and Bob’s current game obsession, the stunning Infinity Blade III.