I have tried a large number of social networking tools, and have remained unimpressed. Twitter's desktop tools fail to move me, and selections for other tools are even more sparse. I have also tried a number of combined IM clients, such as trillian, pidgin, and miranda, and have remained unimpressed. Now, i have found a new tool, called Digsby, and this one has moved me. Read the complete review.
Why Combined tools are Nice
Many people are members of multiple IM, Social networking, and email services, and like to keep up with each of these. Generally, these services offer a download that lets you chat, post, or monitor your account. Their tools are aimed specifically at their product, and don't work for anything else. They tend to take up lots of space, and can lack important features. Enter the combined client. Currently, there is no combined email monitoring/social network monitoring tool apart from Digsby, but that will likely change soon. Most combined clients focus on the IM system, allowing one tool to connect to multiple networks. This is nice, because then you can view all your friends and such in one location.
Why Digsby is revolutionary
Digsby is similar to all other IM combined clients in function, but in form. it goes a step above. It allows you to chat on all the major networks, as well as monitor your email and social network site.
Buddy List and IM service
Instead of segregating each service to its own area, like the other tools do, Digsby mixes them together, removing barriers. You can still tell who is on what network, by a symbol added to their picture, but they are all listed in one large contact group. You can easily start chats with people on multiple networks by double clicking their name, no need to change windows or panes. Furthermore, if your friend is on multiple networks, you can combine all their contacts into one. Clicking that will allow you to start messaging them on whatever network(s) they are online with.
One thing that one client does (AIM) that is quite nice is that it pops up messages when you get a new message, and has an input box on those messages so you can reply to the message. Digsby does this as well, but for every network. In addition to IM, these popups work for social networks and email, so you can catch that message as it hits your inbox.
If you are chatting with multiple people at once, then each chat is put into its own tab. While this isn't revolutionary, it is nice, and deserves merit.
Many people have facebook, myspace, twitter, etc accounts. Updating these can be a chore, usually involving cellphones or browsers. Digsby integrates with many of these, allowing you to update your status, see your friends status, and much more. This is one of the nicer features, and allows for quick status updates, so you can let your friends know EXACTLY what you are doing.
Both Google Talk and Yahoo! Im offer alerts for when you get new emails, but unless you see the alert when you get it, you miss information about it. Digsby shows similar alerts with its popup, but also allows you to view the summaries of your unread messages, and preform various quick actions on them. This is useful if you are waiting for that memo about the company picknic, or just want to stay on top of your email.
One problem of most mixed im clients is you have to configure them separately on each computer you want to use. Digsby doesn't require you to do this. The settings you have on one computer work on ALL computers. This is preformed through a digsby account. You sign up for a free account, and then set it up. Whenever you want a digsby client to mirror your settings, even temporarily, just sign in to that client. All your networks will load, as will all your settings and customization. This really is elegant.
Wouldn't it be nice to allow visitors to your blog/website/social network page chat with you in real time, without forcing you to have a browser open? Digsby lets you do this as well. By adding "widgets" to your pages, people can come and chat with you, without having to use Digsby. The chat client is flash based, so it is speedy and easy to embed, as well as offering several color choices and customization options. If someone you don't wish to talk to starts chatting you up, you can block their ip address.
Digsby is a great tool, and has saved me quite a bit of time. They are in public beta, so more things are likely to come.
- Nice client, clean interface
- Lots of customization
- Ability to take settings to multiple computers is very nice
- Grouped contacs are very userful
- Online chat is useful for talking to visitors
- Social network tools make updating and monitoring easy
- Email monitoring allows me to free up space by uninstaling google gmail alerts and other such tools
- Main interface theme selection is paltry out of the box.
- Occasionally slow interface
- No documentation
- Can be confusing on how to find settings
Rating: 4 out of 5