Windows 8 and Windows RT come with the built-in People app which shows you updates from and lets you post to Facebook and Twitter.

It also shows you your entire address book from Facebook, Twitter, Linked in, Skype and your email accounts.

So while it's great for seeing what's going on, you can't Share to the People app from other apps like the browser to tweet or post things to Facebook.

Of course you can always look at the website for your favourite social network, but if you want to get live tiles, notifications and sharing, you want an app.

People
The Windows 8 People app

We know an official Twitter app is under development; not so for Facebook – Facebook says it has no plans and points at Microsoft, Microsoft points back at Facebook.

In the meantime, here are our favourite Windows 8 social apps so far.

1. FlipToast

FlipToast lets you see updates from Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and Instagram in the same app; you can see the most updates, notifications, photos, messages, birthdays and your first twenty or so friends as you scroll across the screen or tap each pane to get a longer list of each of those. If you want to see updates from just one service, pinch to semantic zoom out and you get tiles to pick from. The design is friendly and fun rather than sleek and stylish but this is like the People app on steroids.

2. MetroTwit

Even without an official app, there are several good Twitter clients. Rowi doesn't have a live tile and its black and green interface only fits in one column of tweets and one of photos, leaving lots of space for seeing one tweet in a large font, with its replies. The fixed ad at the top of the timline is badly placed, especially in snapped view. Gleek has handy options like adding a hashtag to all your posts and choosing how to mark replies (RT or via or just quotes) and the tile view is great for photos but it's a little odd to see the same tweets in a column and as tiles. That makes the colourful MetroTwit our favourite app for running full screen; although you can only see two columns on screen at once, it has a big, clear bar for writing your tweets in, plus previews of weblinks open in a nice large pane.

3. Tweetro

Also worth trying out, Tweetro has a comprehensive interface that sprawls across the screen to fit in your timeline, photos and the lists and searches you add (mentions, messages and favourites open in their own panes), with slightly confusing positioning but buttons like Reply and Retweet. If you don't mind scrolling you see more than with other Twitter apps full screen and Tweetro is definitely the best Twitter app to keep snapped into a side window so you can glance at your choice of tweets, mentions, messages, favourites or lists - and the conversation view when you reply fits neatly too.

Best social apps for Windows 8

4. Social Dribble

Want to see the tweets in trending topics at a glance? tMetro picks up the latest trending hashtags and grabs tweets for all of them. EventWall lets you pick hashtags to search for so you can easily follow a popular topic like an Apple launch or an event. But if you want to turn Twitter into a screensaver, Social Dribble displays one tweet at a time for your chosen hashtag in a font large enough for you to see across the room.

Best social apps for Windows 8

5. Digital Dictator

The interface is a bit of a joke, but this is a handy app for using snapped next to the People app to post updates to more than one network at a time; Digital Director posts to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare (with your location) and Yammer.