Archives for October 20, 2011


Boxcar: Aggregating Your Social & More

Like many, I’m constantly trying to optimize any time invested in social media lest it suck up more than it already does. One of the more useful apps for aggregating my social is one I have on my iPhone, iPad and now Mac (Mac version is in beta but you can download it here) is called Boxcar.

Once you download the app you can configure your accounts (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, email, and many others) and receive instant notifications in one place, the app itself. It’s incredibly efficient since it enables one to respond in a timely fashion without having to launch and respond within multiple apps or on multiple websites.

That’s the upside and I use it often for just those purposes. The downsides?

1) Notifications still appear within each app and you have to deal with them when you open ’em up. Even though I view, for example, a DM in Twitter within Boxcar, the Twitter app on my iPhone and iPad (and now Mac) each show a “non-viewed notification”. So I have to tediously open the app, view the notification, and close the app to make that specific notification go away. What a pain.

I wish for an API from all of these social services that allow a notification service to toggle-off a notification once it’s been dealt with by a user. I suspect no services do that since they want you to login to them and use them directly.

2) Credentials, and their security, are another issue. Since the key to my digital life is my email repository within Gmail — everything from site passwords to application licenses to sweet somethings between my wife and I — I’m using Google’s 2-Step Verification to harden the security surrounding my Google related accounts (especially email).   Though it was a pain to setup (especially to authorize all the apps that require Google logins like RSS reader apps) the peace-of-mind I have knowing there’s one more layer of security to protect it is an imperative so I can sleep at night.

So do I want to login to any aggregator and authorize their app to with my Google credentials? Nope. I don’t care what they say about their use of OAUTH, that they “pass-through” credentials, or anything of the sort. It’s too valuable and, of course, if someone attempts to change a password on Facebook, Twitter or any other social site, I’ll get email notification unless that’s been hacked too!

If you want to enjoy a one-stop-shop for all your social media interactions, give Boxcar a try but (in my opinion) don’t aggregate your email in there too.