Windows 8 is now a few months’ old. How can you build your brand with it?
As of this writing, there are a few dozen apps that are relevant to personal branders like you. Most of them focus on social media, there’s a lot of feature overlap across the apps, and many of them were rushed to the Windows Store so are buggy and/or not of the highest quality.
Here are the few apps worth using now
1) Mail, Calendar, People, Messaging – this is actually an app bundle provided freely by Microsoft.
Here are the official descriptions from the Windows Store:
Mail – Easily view all your accounts. Breeze through your work and personal email. Write messages with rich formatting and attachments. See when new messages arrive, right on the Start screen.
Calendar – Keep track of your schedule in month, week, or two-day view. Get notified about appointments at the right time so you’re always on time.
People – Bring all your contacts together in one place. See what’s new with your friends, and join in the conversation by adding your own comments and updates.
Messaging – Chat with friends in real-time or leave a message they’ll see when they’re back online.
They’re all simple programs that won’t replace whatever other tools you were already using for the same tasks, but their simplicity makes them my first choice when I just want to quickly check my (social) inbox or chat with someone.
‘People’ in particular is useful because it integrates with all the major social networks, letting you check and reply to all their status updates in a single dashboard. However, if you’re already a power user on any one network who prefers Lists/Groups over news feeds, the People What’s New dashboard will be overwhelming to the point of being useless. Additionally, and unfortunately, People only aggregates public status updates, not direct messages or mentions.
Another good feature of People is that it downloads your contacts list and coordinates from each account that you connect it to, effectively backing up locally most if not all of your social Rolodex.
Finally, the entire app bundle is available in a long list of languages.
2) IM+ – a better messaging app than Microsoft’s Messaging app above.
From the official description: “IM+ supports all major IM services, including Windows Live Messenger, Facebook, Skype chat, Google Talk, AOL/AIM/iChat, Yahoo!, ICQ, Vkontakte, Mail.Ru Agent, Odnoklassniki, Yandex chat, Mamba.Ru, Mig33, SINA Weibo, Renren, Fetion, Gadu-Gadu, MeinVZ and Jabber.
IM+ features text messages and photo sending, supports group chats in Skype, AIM and ICQ, allows to add multiple accounts per service, lets you show your mood with personal status messages and customize application appearance, supports typing notifications and we’re not done yet, new IM+ features will keep coming!”
3) FlipToast – another free social media dashboard, this one is much nicer than People and has better features, such as a Birthdays column and the ability to add custom columns based on search results. Unlike People, FlipToast lets you see and respond to notifications and direct messages, but doesn’t let you delete them. I also find that it’s a bit slower than People, but that’s probably a consequence of all the different kinds of information it aggregates.
Here’s the official description:
“FlipToast allows you to interact and engage with friends and family on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram in a whole new way. Share your experiences from anywhere on the device – directly using FlipToast. Never miss an update from your social graph through the live tile. Discover relevant content from your network using our social search. Update your status, share photo memories, engage with posts and tweets by liking, commenting, tweeting and much more.”
Kulvo Business Card Manager – snap a picture of a business card then organize them here
Digital Dictator™ – lets you quickly broadcast an update to multiple accounts on multiple networks, but not much else
Facebook Touch – the most fully-featured touch-sensitive Facebook app
Super Social Media Tracker – “…finds and counts the Facebook Likes and Twitter Shares for all pages on a website that you can specify.” Yours or someone else’s. Sneaky.