In spite of its promises to make our lives easier and more connected, social media can sometimes be downright overwhelming. With all of the options and settings and sharing features available, it can be hard to wrap your head around all of the choices that you really have when you’re trying to stay in touch with friends and coworkers online. Switching between Facebook, and Twitter, and LinkedIn, and everything else to make sure that you’re not missing anything is an almost surefire way to miss everything. If you’re anything like me, even knowing where to begin organizing all of this social media data probably gives you a headache. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just have all of this stuff in one place? Do you use Microsoft’s Outlook to corral your daily assault of email messages into a semblance of order? Then you may appreciate this. One way that Microsoft is doing its part to help us declutter the noisescape is with its Outlook Social Connector.

The Outlook Social Connector is a set of features that lets you keep track of your friends, colleagues, and family by seeing information such as Facebook updates, Windows Live Messenger instant messages, Viadeo networking, and LinkedIn pictures for your contacts all within the confines of your Outlook client. Furthermore, it lets you add contacts as friends on social networking sites.

Connect Social Media to Outlook

You’ll need to download add-ons to this add-on according to the social media that you’d like to connect to Outlook, but to get started, you can download the main Outlook Social Connector from the Microsoft Download Center. To install the connector:

Download the setup file (OSC.MSI) by clicking the Download button, and save the file to your hard disk. Double-click the OSC.MSI program file on your hard disk to start the setup program. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the installation.