The phenomenal growth of Facebook and Twitter has made a huge impact on the online communities, and these websites continue to push what is possible in Web 2.0, developing new technologies to deal with interesting new problems posed by having such fast, instant communication possible all the time and also in enhancing the look and feel of websites making them more dynamic and responsive. Along with the growth of these social networks come tools that promise to fix or enhance your experience using them. And if statistics are any indication, you will appreciate the more than 30% of time spent while surfing these websites in the course of your day.
First up are two very useful scripts for Greasemonkey that are called FB Purity and Facebook Fixer. FB Purity takes aim at annoying quizzes and blasts them out of Facebook alltogether. Well, technically they are just hidden from you using clever manipulation of CSS scripts, but at least you will enjoy a cleaner looking and less obnoxious home page. Next is Facebook Fixer, which does a whole lot of behind-the-scenes changes so that the new Facebook resembles the older style. More importantly, it adds a really useful feature whereby when you mouse over any images, it will automatically pop up the full resolution picture at the side. Very useful when browsing galleries.
A word of warning though, these scripts need the Greasemonkey extension for Firefox, and may cause instabilities if and when Facebook updates their website, which may happen often. So far I only had problems once, and the fix is simply to disable all scripts until an update comes along for it. These two have helped me the most in cleaning up and making Facebook more user friendly and they are thus highly recommended.
Next up is a Firefox extension called Archive Facebook, which does exactly that. After installing, navigate over to Facebook and a link should show, allowing you to backup all your pictures, messages, activity stream, etc. Everything related to your account will have a copy recreated on your hard drive, which is very useful for downloading all your profile pictures.
Finally, TweetDeck is the app of choice when it comes to integrating Facebook, Twitter and MySpace into a single application. The tool is currently the second most popular Twitter application (behind Twitter’s own website) and offers features such as sending and replying tweets, status updates to Facebook and creating groups to monitor selected conversations, as well as previewing thumbnails and un-shortening shorturls so that you can see which websites are going to. It’s wrapped up in a shiny Adobe AIR interface and performs well. I have already replaced Digsby with TweetDeck on my computer.
With these tools, Facebook and Twitter will hopefully work even better for you. Any other tools you can share which improves your experience on these two web services?