As Facebook grows in popularity and continues to evolve as a leading social network, many users find themselves obsessed with constantly walking over to their PC and doing a Facebook login just to see if there are any new notifications or messages.
Wouldn’t it be nice if your computer could just automatically do a Facebook login and provide you with an alert whenever anything new happens? Or wouldn’t it be wonderful to just pop open a little application on your mobile phone that would show all of your friends’ latest updates?
All of these things and more are possible – there are many ways to login to Facebook without going to the website, and in this post I’m going to detail four methods that you can use to do so. The four ways you can log into Facebook without directly navigating to the website and logging in is with your cellphone, with a desktop aggregator, with an Internet based aggregator, or through a desktop gadget.
1. Monitor Facebook on Your Computer With Digsby or Trillian
Since I spend a large majority of my time sitting in front of the same laptop while I’m writing articles, the ideal way for me to do a Facebook login without going to the website is through a desktop aggregator. Now, personally I use Digsby because I prefer the interface and I find it very easy to quickly update my status or add comments to my friends’ posts.
It saves a great deal of time because Digsby automatically logs into all of your social networks the moment you boot up your computer, and it immediately reports whenever there are any updates. You can review and respond to them right in the interface. If this sounds like the choice for you, make sure to check out David’s article on Digsby to learn more.
Now, it wouldn’t be fair to mention the PC aggregator method of an automatic Facebook login without mentioning Trillian. There are many people who prefer Trillian Astra over every other IM/social networking client, and for good reason.
Just like Digsby, you can set up Trillian to login to Facebook automatically, and all you have to do to see Facebook updates is hover the mouse over your Facebook connection. While I don’t personally prefer the Trillian interface, I can certainly see why it would be the preferred client app for many people. If this app appeals to you, then stop navigating over to Facebook to log in and instead read Saikat’s explanation as to why Trillian is the best IM client.
2. Check Facebook on the Web With Online Aggregators
Now, if you don’t want to download any software to your computer, there are still ways that you can login to Facebook without having to navigate to the website all of the time. You can do this by using an online aggregator of all of the social networking tools that you use. These usually not only include Facebook, but also things like your IM accounts, blog accounts and Twitter or Myspace.
One of the oldest portals is often also an overlooked approach to logging into Facebook automatically – iGoogle. When you search iGoogle for Facebook gadgets, you’ll find a number of them. Most of them are similar and work fine.
For example, the gadget I chose above works well, and it lets you login to Facebook directly from your iGoogle page.
Now, if you prefer an online portal that aggregates all of the social networks you use (in addition to Facebook), there are two very popular options. If you’ve been following along here at MakeUseOf, then you may know what they are. First, the one that’s my own favorite – Zooloo.
Once you’ve got the widget set up to automatically log into your Facebook account, all you have to do is set Zooloo as your home page and it’ll log you into Facebook every time you load up your browser. Mahendra covered Zooloo in excellent detail just recently. It’s definitely an option people use to connect to Facebook that’s worth checking out.
A very close second favorite is a site Daniel covered called Second Brain, which organizes your online networks into interesting “collections.” Either approach you take, the online approach to logging into Facebook allows you to check your Facebook account from anywhere, possibly even if Facebook itself is blocked by a firewall.
3. Login to Facebook From the Vista Sidebar
While this approach is limited to Windows Vista users, it is another convenient method you can use to receive notifications of Facebook updates. I covered a few of those Vista sidebar options a while ago.
Of the available options, myFacebook is my favorite because it offers more information than other widgets, such as a scrolling update from your friends’ status comments. This widget automatically logs into Facebook when your computer boots, and you receive notification of private messages, pokes and friend notifications.
You can download MyFacebook from the Windows Live gallery.
Just keep in mind that when you do install it, you need to go through a few steps to confirm authentication with Facebook, including obtaining and entering a special login code, and clicking on a link in Facebook that allows the application to access your account details.
The good news is that the widget wizard goes through the setup process in a few very simple, easy-to-follow steps.
4. Accessing Facebook From Your Mobile
The fourth and most commonly sought-after method to access Facebook is with a mobile device. Whether people use a Blackberry, iPhone or Windows Mobile device, they want to login to their Facebook account while on the go. The good news is that there are several ways to do this, depending which mobile device you’re using.
My personal favorite that I’ve been using for some time is F’im, a Windows Mobile based app for mobile Facebook. With that said, if I was running Windows Mobile 6.0, I would probably download Microsoft’s official Windows Mobile Facebook app.
While the user online status screen looks pretty cool, many of the screens just look like straight Facebook mobile screens. However, what F’IM lacks in terms of creativity for status screens is the software’s ability to automatically post images from your phone to your Facebook account.
Do you have a favorite way to log into your Facebook account other than going to the website? Which solution do you prefer, mobile, desktop aggregator, desktop widget or online aggregator? Share your feedback in the comments section below.