In recent years I have found myself joining and using more and more web applications that encourage users to provide a ‘current status’ update. I use Facebook for organising and staying in touch with friends, LinkedIn for managing my work connections, Google Talk for communicating with friends and recently I’ve started to play with Twitter. Each of these applications has at least one feature in common: the ability to ’shout out’ whatever it is that you’re currently doing/thinking/missing/wanting etc etc.

To begin with I only used to find the time to update Facebook, but as my LinkedIn network started to grow I also began updating that. Twitter’s entire framework is based around providing regular personal updates, so signing up to this also effectively locked me into updating another application on a frequent basis.

The problem with signing up to all of these various social networks, with their different communities and reasons for use, is that eventually you find yourself updating 3 or more different applications everytime you want to post a message. Like most application developers I have a small area of my brain that is always ticking over thinking of cool little ideas for applications it would be fun one day to develop. One of these ideas was that it would be pretty neat to write a little tool to update your status in as many different social networks as you wanted. However, again in common with most application developers, not a great deal in terms of real development had come of this thought and also someone else had already thought of this idea and written a pretty cool implementation of it: Ping.fm.

Ping.fm is a web-based application that, once you’ve signed up, allows you to update as many different social networks simultaneously as you wish using just one post. It supports Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Brightkite, Myspace and a ton of other networks, I confess a number of which I’ve never even heard of. This idea in itself is pretty neat, but the real bonus (for me at least) is the multitude of ways that Ping.fm allows you to send this update. Obviously you can fill out an update form on the Ping.fm site itself, but additionally you can e-mail your update, text it, Google/MSN/Yahoo-IM it or even send it from a Facebook app.

Personally I use the Google Talk option as I tend to be signed into this almost all of the time. Setting this up is really straightforward. You simply add Ping.fm as a friend:

Google Talk

Google Talk

Each time you want to update your status you initiate a conversation with your pingdofm contact, post your message and then Ping.fm will update all of your social networks with your message. Quick, easy and simple. Now, I wonder if anyone’s actually listening?