Communicating on Facebook and Twitter Using Built In Apps on Windows 8

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There are certainly some very decent third party Twitter and some OK Facebook apps in the Windows Store that allow you to interact on the two big social media networks.

This post is not about those apps.

I wanted to explore the possibility of using the apps that come pre-installed on Windows 8 to connect to those two social media networks and those I follow and friend on them. That app is the Mail, Calendar, People, and Messaging app.

That name certainly is a mouthful but in reality this single identity collects together four different apps that are closely related and that is why they are published and maintained as a single group

The first lesson in this endeavor is that power users will not be happy with the results because there are limitations in these built in apps such as no hashtag tracking, list support, global filtering, etc. 

These built in options for Windows 8 are perfect for the casual to intermediate users of the two networks and their functionality will allow most to communicate and keep up to date socially quite effectively.

So let’s get started with how Windows 8 and its built in apps support social communications.

The main entry point into your social media channels is through the People App.

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When you tap or click this tile on your Start Screen you arrive at the main People App screen. This shows your avatar along with a link to any notifications and what is new on your social media networks. You can also filter your contacts to only display those that are online.

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This is also a spot you can add other accounts to your system:

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Tapping or clicking on View Notifications will take you to a screen that shows specific interactions on your social networks intended for you (through mentions, likes, etc.):

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By swiping from the top or bottom of the screen (or Right Click on your mouse) the App Bar will give you the option to return to the main People App screen or refresh the notifications screen for new info/updates.

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Once you are back on the main People App page if you tap or click on the What’s new link you will be shown a new page that contains all of the posts and tweets from your social networks. From this page you can easily like, reply or favorite updates from your social networks.

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By swiping from the top or bottom of the screen (or Right Click on your mouse) you will get the App Bar which gives you the options to return home to the main People App screen, refresh the page for new content, filter the results you are seeing by network and to start a new post on one of the networks.

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As you can see below the filter option allows you to specify the networks you want to see info from on the What’s new page.

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Here is a shot of What’s new filtering Twitter entries:

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This shot is of only Facebook entries being displayed on the What’s new page:

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If you tap on any entry on your What’s new page you will see just that single entry along with a reply box and other links to interact with the post by retweeting, replying, or liking it. This example is of a Twitter entry.

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If you return to the What’s new main screen and either tap or click on New Post on the App Bar you will be taken to your page in the People App.  Here you will see in the first column your profile picture and a link to more details about you, the second column is where you can post a new message to your social networks, the third column is showing your latest notifications from your social networks and if you swipe over one more screen you will also be shown your Facebook photo albums/pictures.

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Facebook photo display:

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Heading back to the main area of this page you can see by the below shot the same dialog box is used to post to your social networks. Just tap or click on the account type to select between them. By the way, if you tap on the View All link next to your compose box you will be shown your What’s new screen again.

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Currently there is no way to communicate with Twitter Direct Messages (DM) using the built in tools on Windows 8 however, chatting via Facebook messages is possible in the Messaging App as shown below:

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One very popular activity on social media is to share pictures. On Windows 8 that is possible on Twitter using the built in functionality of the Shares Charm on the Charms Bar which you access by swiping in from the right side of screen or dragging your mouse pointer into the upper or lower right corner of your monitor when viewing an image you want to share.  Pictures will be shared using Twitter’s built in picture sharing feature.

Conversely, there is no built in method to share pictures to Facebook.

So there you have a quick walk through of using social media on your standard Windows 8 installation with the built in apps it comes with.  As I said at the top, it might not be an ideal situation for a power user but most other users of social media will find the tools serve this purpose very well.

Would love to hear your comments about these apps and what you feel are their pros and cons in the comments below – thanks.

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