Social networking on iPhone and iPad: the definitive guide

If you've ever been on Twitter when there's been a big TV event, or tuned into hashtags such as #bbcqt when Question Time is on, you'll know that lots of people enjoy watching live TV while ranting about it on social networks. This app takes that idea and runs with it, providing a guide not just to what's on but what people are saying as they watch it.

The app includes group chat, the ability to invite your friends to an online 'viewing party', and the obligatory social network sharing, and you can even use it to control a compatible TV or TiVo (but not Sky, at least for now).

If you like music, you'll love Soundcloud

Price: Free
Works with: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad


This music-sharing service has become very popular with artists, partly because it's a great way to promote music in a world of evil internet pirates, and it's often used by big-name acts to show off upcoming releases.

But you don't need to be a pop star to post: Soundcloud will happily host any sound you care to upload, whether it's your own composition or that really odd noise the washing machine's been making recently.

The app enables you to record and share sounds not just with Soundcloud, but on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and foursquare, and as you'd expect, there are the obligatory buttons to like and comment on other people's contributions.

The app offers background playback, too, so you can listen to tunes while doing something else.

If you like meeting people, you'll love Meetup

Price: Free
Works with: iPhone, iPod touch

"Use the internet to get off the internet," Meetup urges, and its app is designed to help you do just that. A meetup is a real-life meeting between people with similar interests, and the service is free to use (although meeting organisers have to pay a small fee).

Meetups can be about absolutely anything and the service is very popular: for example, within five miles of Tap! towers, the most active current meetups are for hillwalking, culture tours, mountain biking, girls' nights outs, film buffs, table-top role-playing games, French speakers, fiction writers and people who believe that they can fire invisible magic energy beams to make people's piles disappear.

There are multiple Meetup apps in the App Store, but the official one is the best one by far.

If you like business networking, you'll love LinkedIn

Price: Free
Works with: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad

As the old saying goes, it's not what you know but who you know that matters - and with LinkedIn, you can build an enormous network featuring everybody you've ever worked with or worked for.

Your LinkedIn profile can be a kind of living online CV, with details of your skills, the jobs you've had and the nice things employers have said about you, and you can use the network to stay in touch with former colleagues, to boost your profile or to stay on top of industry developments.

There are some nice touches including synchronisation with iOS's Calendar app and a Flipboard-style news feed based on your connections' updates, and the iPad app's a much nicer way to use the service than LinkedIn's own website. It's just a shame you can't edit your own profile in the app.

If you like following friends, you'll love Flipboard

Price: Free
Works with: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad

Where most social networks are all about sharing your things with other people, Flipboard takes the opposite approach: it's all about catching up with the things other people are sharing.

Describing itself as a social magazine, Flipboard enables you to mix the content your friends are sharing online with content from professional publishers such as the New York Times, creating a kind of 'Daily Me' newspaper that's unique to you.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.