Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Getting The Hang Of Flock

Social-networking is the leader of the Web2.0 revolution, and for those that use social networking it can be a real struggle keeping on top of all your memberships. Personally I lose a lot of time each day catching up on messages from numerous websites or constantly checking for the latest updates from my friends.

Flock is a Firefox-based web browser designed to make life a bit easier when it comes to working with social networks, such as Facebook and Myspace, sites with social-networking elements, such as Youtube, as well as making it even easier to write new posts on a blog.

In addition, Flock also includes tools for handling RSS feeds and media files, but despite all of these social-network specific tools, it still operates happily as a standard web browser.

Step 1

Download and install Flock.

Step 2

Once installation is complete Flock will offer to import settings Firefox or Internet Explorer. Select the browser from which bookmarks and settings should be imported and click Next. You can then configure Flock to load the Flock website when started, or your usual home page that was already the default from whichever browser you imported settings from – you can be change this within Flock at any time. Click Next followed by Finish to finish the basic configuration of the Flock.

Step 3

The first time you run Flock, it will ask if you want to make it your default browser (this is optional) so make your choice and click Yes or No accordingly.

Step 4

Now the fun starts. Go along to a social-ne

tworking site such as Facebook or Myspace and log into your account. If a supported social network is visited, Flock will detect this and any contacts you have will be displayed in the People Sidebar to the left of the screen. A yellow info-bar at the top of the current page (after logging in) will offer to keep the contacts or this social-network in the sidebar – just click Remember Account to do so.

Step 5

As you visit more supported sites and the account settings are remembered, different information will be displayed in the People Sidebar. In the case of Digg, links to messages from fiends are displayed along with buttons to view stories they have rated or for you to submit the currently displayed page to Digg. Also, you will notice how the People Sidebar is beginning to add tabs at the top of the People Sidebar that allow you to navigate between different services as well as the information and options associated with each of them.

Step 6

Many sites with social-networking elements such as Youtube, include a search ability. Flock will detect this when you visit will offer to add this search engine to the Search Bar. To do this, click the orange icon featuring a magnifying glass that appears to the left of the Address Bar and click the entry in the menu that appears. You can now use the Search Bar in the upper right to enter a search phrase and select a site from the drop down menu to search.

Step 7

Social-networking sites which integrate with Flock provide a quick and easy way to send messages to contacts. Rather than logging into the site to send a message to a contact, Flock provides a faster option. With the relevant tab of the People Sidebar loaded, drag and drop the icon to the left of the site's URL in the address bar on to one of the sidebar contacts. This will open a new message with a link to the current website, to which you can add you own message too. When you have finished typing your message, just click on Send.

Step 8

Most social-networking sites allow the uploading of photos to a profile. Again Flock can this process easier. Batch uploading is much faster than individual uploading. Click the Open Photo Uploader button (which is the last button, displaying an upwards-pointing arrow, in the toolbar just above the People Sidebar). The use the dropdown menu at the bottom of the window to select the social-network you wish the files are to be uploaded to.

Step 9

Now click the Choose Photos button and browse to the folder containing the images you wish to upload, alternatively you can open the relevant folder, then drag and drop images on to the Photo Uploader window. Once done, the Batch tab can then be used to add some tags to all the images, while the Photo tab can be used to assign tags to individual images as well as performing basic edits. NOTE: Check the settings, which will vary by social network.

Step 10

You may also use Flock to post to blogs hosted by services such as Blogger, Wordpress and Livejournal. Visit the site in question, login and opt to remember the account settings. Now click the Open Blog Editor button (the next to last button in the toolbar immediately above the People Sidebar) and use the editor to compose a new post. You may notice that text can be formatted and images added using the buttons on the toolbar. When you have finished editing, click the Publish button to add the post to your blog.

Step 11

RSS feeds, which can be used to keep up to date with the latest additions to the site are also traceable with Flock. When a feed is detecte

d, an orange RSS icon will appear left of the address bar. Clicking this icon, followed by the name of the feed and then the Subscribe button will subscribe you to the feed. Subscribed feeds can be accessed by clicking the Open Feeds Sidebar button in the toolbar. You can then read the feeds by clicking one of the headlines.

Step 12

Using the My World page you can get an overview of everything being tracked by Flock. Access this by clicking the first button in the toolbar. Once the page loads you will see displayed a list of all RSS feeds you have subscribed to, media streams and information about contacts on social-networks.


With all these extra features. It is all too easy to forget that Flock can also be used as a standard web browser to visit any website or maintain a list of favourites – there is even support for Firefox add-ons.

It's easy to forget that Flock is still a plain old fashioned web browser with all the extras that Flock offers. If you use Flock regularly you will probably replace your current web browser with it.

Since I started using Flock I no longer use Firefox on my laptop, not IE or Firefox on my desktop.

I consider myself a heavy web user, so I need a good browser to go alongside my habit, and I now think that Flock is exactly what I have been looking for!

Have you enjoyed this article? Did you find it useful? If you are already a Flock user please let everyone know your opinions in the comments below!


  1. Wow, man this really is a great post, and a great program for any serious social media user.
    Dugg, and Stumbled, I'm sure those folks will love it on SU and Digg

  2. thanks for your kind words, and the stumble and digg.
    I predominantly use Flock on my desktop PC, which runs Vista 64 and on my Laptop, which runs Ubuntu Linux. This shows the versatility of Flock as a cross OS browser, but what I love about Flock the most is how all my social-networking information is pooled together in one place, it makes things so much simpler, and quicker. I think everyone that use more than a couple of social-networks should give Flock a try for 30 days to see if it helps make their browsing a little easier.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing diesel, I'd never even heard of that. I'm going to check it out right now. You've got a really good blog going here. I'm impressed with the amount of comments you've gotten so early into your blog. Keep it up, I'm sure your blog will continue to grow.

    Jonathan Muller
    Make Money Blogging

  4. @ Jonathon.
    Flock is certainly worth looking in to, even if it's nothing but a short trial. The point is that without giving it a trial you will never know if you like it or not!
    As for the comment on my blog as a whole, thank you. Kind words are always appreciated. You blog is also of great value, I will be following it closely.


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