If you’re a bit of a social enthusiast, simply posting regular status updates to social networks like Facebook and Twitter can turn out to be a bigger chore than you’d expect. Firing up a web browser and waiting for the website to load, only to post a quick status update is hardly an efficient way of doing things.
Normally, we’d solve this by employing a standalone application. A number of applications are up to the task. However, with Twitter making it ever harder for developers to develop a decent dedicated client, that can be difficult as well. Instead, we could opt to use a feature that’s already available on Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion: the Notification Center.
Similar to its iOS counterpart, the Notification Center (which can be accessed using the right-most icon in your menu bar, or by using a hotkey) is designed to keep track of the multitude of information broadcasted by the assorted applications installed on your computer. Apart from the expected—news about incoming emails, calendar events, and the like—you can also use the Notification Center to interact with Facebook and Twitter. Not only to view status updates from your connections, but to interact with it as well.
Connecting to your Facebook Account
Fire up System Preferences, and head to the Mail, Contacts & Calendars pane. Here, you can integrate Mac OS X with a variety of different services. At the right side of the preferences pane, click the Facebook logo and fill in your account credentials.
You’ll be required to approve a miniature terms of service before proceeding, acknowledging you recognise what connecting with Facebook exactly entails. Among other things, Facebook will integrate with your Mac OS X Contacts and Calendar, updating contact pictures and adding friends’ birthdays to your calendar, and let’s other applications ask for your permission to interact with your Facebook account.
After adding your Facebook account to Mac OS X, you’ll notice that a small, unobtrusive button has appeared at the top of the Notification Center. Click it, and it will unfold to a recognisable Facebook widget that allows you to post simple status updates from the comfort of your desktop.
Connecting to your Twitter Account
There are two simple ways to connect your Twitter account to your Mac. One is to use Safari to log in to Twitter. Mac OS X will then ask you if you’ll allow other applications to request access to your Twitter account. This will add Twitter to the Notification Center as well.
The other way is very similar to how we connect with other accounts. Head to the Mail, Contacts & Calendars pane in the System Preferences application. At the right hand side of the screen, find the Twitter icon and click it.
Enter your Twitter account credentials (including the @-icon prefixing your user name) when prompted and press the sign in button to connect Mac OS X with your Twitter account. Optionally, you can use Twitter to update your Mac OS X contacts as well by pressing the adequately named “Update Contacts…” button in the next screen, but no further action is needed to add Twitter to the notification center.
As with the Facebook integration, the Notification Center now shows a small, unobtrusive button at its head. If you connect with Facebook as well, these two buttons will appear side to side. Clicking it gives you a text-field (with character count, of course) that allows you to post directly to Twitter.
How do you use the Notification Center in Mountain Lion? Let us know in the comments section below the article!