And now for Something Completely Different: Some Alternative Apps and Social Networks worth Checking Out

giphy (3)So the last post I put up was about how Facebook and I have gone through a serious break-up (he kept all the photos). A few people have asked for alternative apps or networks to check out as alternatives so I’ve put a little list together.

First thing I’d say though, there is no ‘replacement Facebook’. The two things FB has both working for and against it are its sheer numbers (so can’t appeal to ‘niche’ tastes or objectives too much) and use as a non-specific platform. The new emerging popular platforms tend to do one thing and only one thing… but they tend to do it really well. FB has this for events, and nobodies really come along with a replacement yet. But aside from that, the list below you will see has a recurring theme of fulfilling a specific need – or at least (in the case of Twitter) being suited to specific needs tailoring. So here goes:


1. Twitter

With a ‘following’ of 30% of the Irish population, this network may seem like an obvious suggestion but I’d like to suggest that you start using it in a different way than perhaps you do now. And that’s by using lists. ‘Lists’ – in my mind – are the most underused but useful tool on this platform. And I use them, a lot. If it helps, think of your Twitter timeline as a newspaper – wouldn’t it be so much easier those little snippets of information were sorted into nice easy sections? I have created lists for most of my interests. There’s a friends list (aka people I know in ‘real’ life), a media peers list, a fashion/luxury list, an interesting Dubliners list, a list for when I’m in London and want to check out what’s on, a list of other planners, a beauty list, a comics/movies/gaming list, one about social media and of course (like all good newspapers) a ‘funnies‘ section (so much less funny though now Joan Rivers has departed)… It’s like having my own weird-and-wonderful seriously niche magazine or newspaper. My main feed is basically ignored. Much easier to find stuff of interest through lists – depending on what you’re in the mood for. Please feel free to subscribe to any of them and make suggestions for any accounts I may have missed that should be added onto a list. Need to put together a ‘blogs I follow’ list at any rate….


2. Umano 

Umano is an app for people that commute and/or feel guilty about not reading enough stuff. Every day professional volunteers record audio versions of some of the most popular long-form articles of the week, from some of the most popular published. This must be a God send for many people – particular those with long commutes on the train or even in a car (it has a handy safer ‘in car’ setting), visual impairment, who want to listen to something other than ‘bangin’ beats’ during their workout.


3. Readability

Similar story to Umano, this saves all those articles you want to read for later, all in one place, with no distracting adverts, links or pictures. Install the readability button and always have stuff to read even when you don’t have Wifi/3G – great for reading on holidays. It also gives you a handy estimate of how long each article takes to read – and you can select something via your phone/tablet/whatever based on how long you have to wait for that bus, lunch break etc.


4. Snapchat

The most popular app at the moment amongst Irish teens, really isn’t about nudey photos (espeically since the recent hack). Snapchat is all about capturing things in the moment, unglossed… oh and doodling all over stuff. It’s a great way to commune online with your real friends (remember them?).


4. Whatsapp

Again, you’re probably already using this online texting device but have you thought about using it for groups – like your whole family in one group – or perhaps short-term groups. like when organising a party or event that night.

My parents are absolutely loving Whatsapp – especially as we are now all spread so far away from each other. This way, nobody misses out on what’s going on or feels left out. Remember it’s owned by FB though – and all that that may entail.


5. Pinterest

Basically, online scrapbooking. A great place to make your online shopping  and wish lists, plan your dream home, a big event… If anybody asks you for gift ideas you can always direct them right there! Bit annoying sometimes and definitely totally tipped heavily into the ‘uuber-girly’ spectrum… but everything has its place, right?


6. Air BnB

Try it once, never bother with hotels again (unless you’re going down the spa treatment/honeymoon route). Save yourself hundreds in dosh and have a more ‘authentic’ stay (whatever the hell that mgiphy (2)eans).  Here’s a stay wish list for Ireland I put together to get you started.


So there you go – should keep you more than occupied I’m sure!

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