Ask the Readers: Social Websites – Browser-Based Interface versus Desktop Clients

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By Akemi Iwaya on February 23rd, 2011

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Most people have a favorite social website that they are active on each day, but have different methods for interacting with their friends there. This week we would like to know if you prefer using a browser-based interface or a desktop client to interact with your chosen social services.

social-service-frustrations

Photo by Asian Angel.

Social services can be a lot of fun unless your method of access comes with more frustrations than perks. Perhaps your favorite social service has changed the layout or the website itself is just too busy or full of “junk” for your tastes. Then there are the times when the website may experience problems and fail to work smoothly.

You could continue to use the website version and tweak what you see and how it functions as much as possible. Or you could install an extension in your favorite browser that opens a sidebar or pop-up window to access the service that way. Maybe you prefer the web app approach introduced by Google for their Chrome browser. At least you do have options when accessing social services through a browser.

Then there are desktop clients…focused on one or a small combination of popular social services. Desktop clients can be really nice…no need to have a browser open, the UI stays rather consistent, you can usually minimize them to the System Tray, and the desktop notifications are awesome.

What we would like to know this week is if you prefer a browser-based approach or using a desktop client to interact with your favorite social websites. Do you use a combination of both? Are browsers the best approach since you use them for literally everything throughout the day? If a browser is your preferred method do you use the website for the social service itself or an extension/web app to interact with it? Perhaps a desktop client works best…there when you need it but out of your way when you do not. Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments! Know of a great extension, web app, or desktop client? Make sure to share it with your fellow readers here.

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Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 02/23/11
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