It seems sometimes the best solution is the easy one we overlooked. I have struggled to find the best way to monitor my social networks and communications. The 4 applications I have been trying to keep tabs on seamlessly are Twitter, FriendFeed, eMail (Gmail) and Google Talk.
I liked some of the 3rd party offerings such as Twhirl for Twitter, but I am tired of being tethered to my desktop with software and having all these different tones to announce a new Tweat, or a friend logging into GTalk.
Rediscovering iGoogle was the best thing that has happened for me.
With iGoogle I utilize several widgets to load each application and with one glance I can keep up with everything. Most of these widgets have options for amount of data and refreshing. Also, no more annoying bells and whistles.
The Widgets I am using are :