Time is short at this time of year so every ounce of technological help you can snag to give your social life a bigger bang for less effort must be warmly embraced. Do you have time to call all your friends to discuss a venue for festive drinks? Well, if you do, maybe you don’t have enough friends.
For the social butterflies among us, however, handheld networking software is definitely Santa’s little helper. Your Android phone packs plenty of tricks that will see you safely through these revelries, even if you are too busy during the working day to get engrossed in the inevitable Facebook frenzy as friends debate the forthcoming night’s shenanigans.
Share photos and experiences with Facebook's Android app
The best-laid plans
Should there still be no settled venue to head towards as you leave work (even the firmest plans are fluid during December) then you can use FourSquare the real-time location software to see where your pals are. Assuming, of course, they are all signed up for this oh-so-trendy service.
Better still, turn to the Android variant of Google Maps which was updated only last month to give you Big G’s super-duper Latitude feature in real-time as opposed to occasional updates. Like FourSquare, this enables you to see which bar your chums are propping up at any given moment. They must have previously given Google permission tog do this but it is a more likely scenario than them all being FourSquare aficionados. You can even place a Latitude widget on your handset’s homescreen. A nice touch.
Should your people still be milling about aimlessly as darkness defends, use Yelp to establish the best bars in the area by reading reviews written by fellow revellers. If you are taking on a recce in unfamiliar territory, Yelp can even present its search results of watering holes or eateries, as icons superimposed on your phone’s live camera-feed. Waft it around, say, the piazza in Covent Garden (trying not get mugged) and you will see links to Yelp reviews of prospective destinations appear to float onto on the screen as you point the phone at the buildings they relate to. Clever stuff.
Let the good times roll
Once you’re comfortably ensconced somewhere promising, you’ll want to tweet your pals and encourage them to pitch up early. The official Twitter app makes it all-too-easy for tipsy tweethearts to stay in touch – and remember to always send a Direct Message or the hordes will swiftly descend
If things aren’t looking so hot, or you fancy a change of scene, TweetDeck excels at coalescing the live feeds of your various social networks - Twitter, Facebook, and FourSquare, for starters – into one easy dollop. Beware, though, as ostentatiously gawping at your phone in the hope of a better offer is plain rude. In addition, a word to the wise: anyone who is regularly updating their feed with ripe details of a wild night out simply has too much time on their hands for this to possibly be true.
Thanks for the memories
There was a time when an indiscretion at a Christmas party stayed strictly between you, the recipient of your affections, and possibly the photocopier. Those days are gone, friend. Within every phone lurks a lens and inside every owner are several cocktails and a large spoonful of devilment.
If you cannot resist the temptation to unleash these treats yourself, then PixelPipe is a seriously dangerous weapon for instantly uploading photos or *shudder* video clips onto just about every online repository. It will do so faster than it’s humanly possible to say: ‘but it was just a bit of fun’.
On this note, it’s worth mentioning that the Android flavour of Facebook shows a strip of photos recently posted by your friends across the base of the delightfully clear homescreen. Glancing at this will, at the very least, give you a heads-up should your own face unexpectedly appear. You can then work at your excuses on the way home.