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The Online Mom provides internet technology advice and information to help parents protect their kids, encourage responsible behavior and safely harness the power of technology in the new digital world. Social networking, photo sharing, video games, IM & texting, internet security, cyberbullying, educational resources, the latest on tech hardware, gadgets and software for kids 3-8, tweens and teens, and more.

Apps for Mobile Social Networking



Social networking has gone mobile. With better operating systems and faster networks, we no longer have to wait until we get home to check our Facebook pages or our Twitter feeds. Now, everything can be done right from our smartphones.

And as our smartphones get smarter, so do the mobile apps that can connect us with our networks. Here are some of apps to look out for. And the best news? All of them are free!

Facebook

Whatever happens to its stock price, Facebook's 1 billion members still make it the one to beat when it comes to online social networking. After a slow start, Facebook has devoted considerable resources to improving its mobile application, and most smartphones now have the Facebook mobile app pre-installed. Post updates, share photos, see what your friends are up to – and you can now check in from anywhere!

Platform: iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone



Twitter

There are various mobile Twitter apps on the market, including HootSuite and TweetDeck (now owned by Twitter) but despite a late start the official Twitter mobile app now dominates the space. The mobile app largely mirrors the official web-based service and allows tweets, searches, messaging and profile updates. The Twitter app also links to various photo upload services, including Twitpic and yfrog.

Platform: iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone



Skype

The service that first brought free over-the-Internet calls to millions of desktops is now well and truly mobile. Voice and video calling are offered via mobile networks and Wi-Fi. Verizon 3G and 4G customers can make and receive Skype video calls on their Android devices using their very own Skype for Android app. Video and voice calls can also be made over W-Fi networks without counting against your plan minutes or data allocation.

Platform: iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone



Instagram

A popular photo-sharing app, Instagram made the headlines earlier this year when it was snapped up by Facebook for a cool $1 billion. The service allows you to edit photos using various filters and special effects and immediately share them with family, friends or anyone else who might be interested.  Originally only available for the iPhone, an Instagram app for Android was added earlier this year, making it a favorite social networking app for smartphone camera buffs everywhere.

Platform: iPhone, iPad, Android



StumbleUpon

If you like discovering new things on the Web, then StumbleUpon is the perfect app for you. Whether you’re interested in fashion, photography or sports, StumbleUpon will find amazing web pages, videos, photos and more. As you ‘Like’ or ‘Dislike’ what StumbleUpon presents, the service fine-tunes its selections to deliver more of what you want to see. And when you follow other Stumblers, it takes their Likes and dislikes into account as well!

Platform: iPhone, iPad, Android



Yelp

Yelp is a popular web site and mobile app for finding all kinds of local amenities, like bars, restaurants, shops and local businesses. Started in San Francisco, Yelp now boasts over 27 million reviews for businesses in over 150 US cities and more than 30 cities overseas. In addition to finding reviews, you can learn about local events and even chat with fellow Yelpers, and a weekly update will keep you informed of what’s going on in your area.

Platform: iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone



Bump

With all that social networking going on, wouldn’t it be great if you could share information with other mobile users without having to text or e-mail? Well, you can with Bump, a cloud-based service that literally asks you to bump your smartphone with another mobile device to exchange contact information, photos and more. Once you bump phones with someone, that person’s name and photo appear on your phone and you can choose what information you want to share. There are Bump apps for both iPhone and Android and it even works cross-platform.

Platform: iPhone, iPad, Android

Do you use other mobile social networking apps? Share them with The Online Mom!



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