If you look up ‘procrastination’ in a dictionary, chances are you’ll find a big picture of me. I’m terribly good at finding new excuses to postpone work. A frequent and very popular excuse is Facebook. A quick click to see if you have any new notifications or pending messages can turn out with another half an hour wasted; even if the answer was negative.
Recently, I’ve found a solution. And weird though it may sound, the trick to waste less time on Facebook, is to engage it more. Rather than wandering around aimlessly, a number of free Facebook tools can make your Facebook experience more efficient, and therefore less time-consuming. The three applications featured in this article are all menu bar applications, but each one with a different approach, befitting a different kind of Facebook user.
There are a number of applications available in the Mac App store that offer a drop-down mobile view of Facebook. Of all these, Facelite for Facebook impressed me the most, with a very clean interface reminiscent of both Tweetbot and the iOS Facebook application.
The center view shows the notification bar and general Facebook news stream. This part of the application is identical to most alternatives. Interestingly though, a slick black sidebar on the left hand side of the screen shows icons for your different Facebook activities, always at your fingertips. These include your news stream, messages, events, chat, and photos.
Facelite also has a premium version, called Face for Facebook, which includes the desktop version of Facebook, transparency options, support for multiple windows, and a removal of all advertising.
Glow for FB ($0.99)
Glow for FB isn’t free. Although, at just under a dollar in price, it isn’t something you should be worried about either. Compared to the other two applications covered in this article, Glow for FB takes a very minimalist approach. In fact, you can forget about being able to browse Facebook, respond to invites, or view your messages in your Mac OS X menu bar.
What Glow for FB does do, is it provides notifications for everything that’s going on on your Facebook page. Whenever you receive a message or notification within Facebook, the Glow for FB icon in your menu bar turns a bright blue, and a light chime calls your attention to a pop-up. Clicking either the pop-up or the Glow for FB icon launches the relevant item in your default browser.
If you’ve made the upgrade to Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, you’ll be glad to hear that Glow for FB integrates with the new notification center.
You may know Trillian as a beautiful multi-platform chat application. It’s true that Trillian is also able to connect to your Facebook account, allowing you to chat (and send messages) with your Facebook friends without having to open your browser.
However, Trillian also adds a social icon in your menu bar, that unfolds to an overview of your Facebook news feed, events and groups, through a very fresh and light-weight interface. Trillian won’t give you access to every single aspect of Facebook, but is a great tool to keep an eye on your newsfeed in the Mac OS X menu bar, while handling messages in the main application.
Have you ever used any free Facebook tools to augment your social experience? What tools did you use, and what was their appeal to you? Let us know in the comments section below the article!
Image Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net / Pixomar