If you own an iPad or iPad 2, chances are you’ve probably got either the Twitter (iPad) or Facebook (iPhone) applications synched up to it, so you can update friends and family wherever you go.  But believe it or not, there are more programs to choose from, aside from the “big two”.

Some do link up to these existing accounts, while other provide other ways to keep in touch with folks on the digital go, including real-time message chat and location reporting.  So step away from your precious Twitter and Facebook accounts for five minutes (we know how hard it is, just tell them you’re Away From Keyboard) and give these apps a try…

StumbleUpon! (StumbleUpon!, free)

The Internet offers a lot when it comes to discovery, and you won’t find a better tool to do that with on your iPad than StumbleUpon. With the help of this free application, you’ll be able to find favorite things across the Web, through photos, videos and Web pages recommended through other StumbleUpon users, including friends and family. It’s also quite intuitive, using just a few finger swipes to move between choices and mark favorites. The app fully supports full integration with Twitter, Facebook and even email. And all for no additional charge – you simply need to register with the site, which only takes a couple of moments. Stumble to your heart’s content!

AIM (AOL, Inc., free)

Instant messaging is a great way to keep in touch with people, but there aren’t too many programs, outside of iPad 2’s FaceTime, that allow you to talk with them instantaneously. Luckily, AOL has released a version of its popular AOL Instant Messenger that works on the iPad. Here, you can log in to your account and chat with friends as if you were logged in through your PC. In addition, the account can be linked up to other social sites, including Twitter, Facebook, and, if you somehow still have it, MySpace. LifeStream support is also available, in case you want to share photos with your online buddies. This version does come with ads, but a premium version is available for just a few dollars more. This one works just fine, though.

Flipboard (Flipboard Inc., free)

For those of you highly invested in the social media scene, Flipboard is an absolute must. It gathers all the information from socializing sites and puts them into one handy place, including Google Reader, Flickr, Instagram and, of course, Twitter and Facebook. It also organizes them into a magazine layout that’s easier on the eyes, and much more vibrant when it comes to displaying information. In addition, a number of publications are available for news delivery, including Rolling Stone, Wired, The New Yorker, Forbes, and several others. You can also comment on posts and share articles and photos with fellow users with the push of a touch-screen. Chatting with others – and organizing your digital world – doesn’t get much easier than Flipboard.

Gowalla (Alamofire, free)

If you travel a lot or just like telling your friends how much you’re getting around in the world, Gowalla is your go-to tool for sharing your story. This social travel guide allows you to share photos and highlights with others through a solid 3G/Wi-Fi connection, while also creating and completing trips anywhere you go and seeing what get-togethers are happening in your city or state. It also keeps track of nearby friends, logging their goings-on and displaying them with ease on a terrific screen display. In addition to locations throughout the world, Gowalla also strongly supports the listing of sports locales, Disneyland resorts, college campuses, musical venues and more – so you won’t have to go through hours of look-ups just to check in. If you’re getting out and going places, make sure to take Gowalla with you.

WordPress (Automattic, free)

Let’s say you need more room to discuss your daily digital lifestyle – 140 characters or a small Facebook entry simply won’t do. That’s when you’d turn to a site like WordPress, going into greater detail with pictures and other descriptors to discuss what’s happening with you. But let’s say you don’t have access to a computer. Are you stuck? Hardly. Thanks to Automattic’s WordPress app, you can easily create posts to your account. This program easily handles posts and pages, letting you add images and videos without breaking any sort of sweat. You can also check in with fellow WordPress users and see what they’re up to as well – and without the burden of high app costs. Now that’s something worth writing about, we think.

Pulse News for iPad (Alphonso Labs Inc., free)

If for some reason Flipboard doesn’t quite get the job done for your socializing needs, Alphonso Labs Inc has the next best thing with Pulse News. Like that app, it sorts together all your media needs into one easy-to-use browsing tool. It provides a view either on the app or its website for viewing purposes, loading both up within seconds. You can also share your favorites through email, Twitter or Facebook, and save favorite stories for reading later on – even if you’re offline. And if you’re a Reader subscriber, you can sort your RSS feeds for live viewing through the app. Best of all, Pulse News features a Keyword reader, so you can link up to stories you haven’t checked out yet. Pulse News definitely has its heart in the right place.

HootSuite (Hootsuite Media, free)iPadNewsDaily links:

Finally, let’s suppose you’re one of those overly chatty types, one who uses multiple web tools to get their point across. It’s a real pain to switch between Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare apps to explain what you’re doing. Well, Hootsuite makes it relatively easy for you. Simply enter your account information for each site that you’re using, log in, and you’ll be able to hoot away in no time. Hootsuite has all sorts of neat features, including Twitter message translation across 50 languages, custom views for keyword monitoring, real-time searches, friend locating on Foursquare (so you don’t miss those crucial parties) and document saves, so you can read them later on Instapaper without interrupting your social surfing. You won’t find a better way to give a Hoot.


Top Social Apps For Your iPad

Robert Workman, iPadNewsDaily Contributor
02:26 PM ET