As the number of Web sites offering status updates -- such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., etc. -- proliferates, it can get tedious, not to mention time consuming, to log in to each one and post the same information.
Have no fear -- there are a number of multiple posting services that can help you send a variety of information to a collection of sites, including blog posts, photos, videos and status updates.
For this roundup, I looked at three: Ping.fm, Pixelpipe and the unpronounceable Quub. (A fourth, the recently introduced Posterous, has been covered in a separate review.) All are free, all are very much works in progress and all can be either extremely useful or dangerous: It's just that much easier to mistakenly post something on the wrong site.
The services all work similarly: You sign up with a basic e-mail address and password, and then start adding your connections (Pixelpipe calls them "pipes," Ping.fm calls them "networks" and Quub calls them "services") with their separate username and login combinations.
This means that your credentials for each connection are stored by the multi-posting service. If that makes you uncomfortable, then it may be a good idea to steer clear of these sites altogether. Some of the connections require you to download specific applications, such as a Facebook application, but for the most part they don't take much time or effort to get going.
Once you have your connections set up, you can begin broadcasting your content, such as a blog post, a status update, or photo. Note that you still need to go to each service and use your regular log-in to do other tasks, such as editing your posts or searches.
Pixelpipe and Ping.fm allow you to send status updates to your connections via e-mail, instant messaging or SMS, but these are relatively crude connections. If you are looking for ways to update your blogs or status when you are mobile, then these deserve some scrutiny. For the most part, though, I preferred using the services' Web interfaces and being more selective about which sites I wanted to post to.
There is, of course, a downside to sending the same message to a variety of connections. For one thing, your friends, or social network correspondents, can quickly tire of your updates if they subscribe to the same multiple networks as you do.
Finally, no single service offers a connection to every social network out there, although they do cover the more popular ones. And keep in mind that this is constantly changing; the number of services each of these sites covers is likely to have changed between the time I wrote this piece and the time you are reading it.