How to kill time without a mouse, trackpad or touchscreen: Keyboard shortcuts for 8 social media web sites

Many popular social media sites provide keyboard shortcuts to make navigating them easier for power users and those with physical issues

Logical web shortcuts

Navigating web sites using the keyboard isn’t something done only by people with broken trackpads or strange aversions to computer mice. Such keyboard shortcuts are also required by people with disabilities or physical problems that make using a mouse difficult or impossible. While browsers usually come with a number of generic shortcuts, web developers can also choose to add shortcuts specific to their site or app, as many social media sites have done. Here are keyboard shortcuts for 8 popular social media web sites for people that rely on them either by choice or out of necessity, including cheat sheets that you can download and print out to keep handy.

Twitter shortcuts
Credit: ITworld/Steve Traynor
Twitter shortcuts

Twitter recently revamped their keyboard shortcuts. Unlike earlier versions, the new ones set the DOM focus properly as users scroll through tweets using the j and k keys. By doing so, users can now also use keys like Tab to navigate elements within the selected tweet. Previously, a user might have been taken somewhere else on the page when hitting Tab to try and navigate within a tweet. (Continued on next slide)

Click here for a full, printable version of Twitter’s keyboard shortcuts.

Twitter shortcuts (continued)
Credit: ITworld/Steve Traynor
Twitter shortcuts (continued)

The improved shortcuts are the work of Twitter’s accessibility team, which also now has its own Twitter account - which, of course, you can navigate using their shortcuts.

Click here for a full, printable version of Twitter’s keyboard shortcuts.

Tumblr shortcuts
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Tumblr shortcuts

One of Tumblr’s main attractions has been always its ease of use; David Karp and company made it very simple to post a picture, video, link or simply a chunk of text in a minimal number of steps. Unbeknownst to many (most likely) are their keyboard shortcuts which can make it even easier to use. So, learn them and fumble no more with your mouse when reviewing the latest animated GIFs or Angry Cat pictures.

Click here for a full, printable version of Tumblr’s keyboard shortcuts.

Facebook shortcuts
Credit: ITworld/Steve Traynor
Facebook shortcuts

The social media site everybody loves to hate also has its own keyboard shortcuts, which may make you hate it less. While you can navigate through your Facebook feeds using fairly standard shortcuts, things get a little hairier when navigating to other pages on the site, such as your messages or account settings. In those cases, the shortcuts require an additional platform-specific key sequence. (Continued on next slide)

Click here for a full, printable version of Facebook’s keyboard shortcuts.

Facebook shortcuts (continued)
Credit: ITworld/Steve Traynor
Facebook shortcuts (continued)

The good news is, you can use these shortcuts to navigate to Facebook’s latest privacy policy, but the bad news is there’s no keyboard-only shortcut for expressing your confusion or displeasure over it.

Click here for a full, printable version of Facebook’s keyboard shortcuts.

Google+ shortcuts
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Google+ shortcuts

Google+ provides a pretty standard set of keyboard shortcuts to let you navigate around, none of which, unlike Facebook, require platform-specific key combinations. While you can always access the list of shortcuts, as on most sites, by typing ?, there is at least one shortcut that’s not on that list. (Continued on next slide)

Click here for a full, printable version of Google+’s keyboard shortcuts.

Google+ shortcuts (continued)
Credit: ITworld/Steve Traynor
Google+ shortcuts (continued)

As Google+ virtuoso JR Raphael pointed out, there’s a particularly funky one to open the notifications window: / then TAB then TAB again then ENTER. Go ahead and give it a try and impress your friends at the next cocktail party you attend. You’ll thank us (er, JR) later.

Click here for a full, printable version of Google+’s keyboard shortcuts.

YouTube shortcuts
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YouTube shortcuts

YouTube’s engineers have made it possible to navigate through its endless collection of material using keyboard shortcuts. These shortcuts are in addition to media control keys you may already have on your keyboard, and most require that the seek bar be in focus for them to work. One other important thing to note is that most of the controls don’t work in full-screen mode and they can be turned off completely when a video is embedded on another site. The important thing, though, is that you don’t need a mouse to waste hours of time on YouTube’s site.

Click here for a full, printable version of YouTube’s keyboard shortcuts.

SoundCloud shortcuts
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SoundCloud shortcuts

SoundCloud, too, offers keyboard shortcuts to control what you’re listening to, many of them similar to what YouTube offers. Unlike most sites, in order to pull up the shortcut help, you type h (instead of ?). Number keys (and arrow keys) can be used to seek forward and backward, and there are also controls for navigating through lists of sounds. Additional keyboard shortcuts can be added with browser plugins. So, go ahead and use your fingers to navigate through the sea of music by unknown artists as you search out the next Justin Bieber.

Click here for a full, printable version of SoundCloud’s keyboard shortcuts.

Flickr shortcuts
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Flickr shortcuts

Long before Instagram was big, Flickr was the place to share photos and, believe it or not, it’s still going. Unlike Instagram, Flickr offers keyboard shortcuts to help you navigate through photostreams and sets. They also provide keyboard controls for actions related to individual photos, such as favoriting and adding tags or comments. If these aren’t enough for you, third parties have created scripts to provide enhanced controls. The basic shortcuts, though, should be enough, for example, for you foodies to scroll through pics of food.

Click here for a full, printable version of Flickr’s keyboard shortcuts.

Feedly shortcuts
Credit: ITworld/Steve Traynor
Feedly shortcuts

Feedly has had a big year, with its popularity taking off in the wake of the demise of Google Reader. Perhaps some of the reason for its growth can also be attributed to its large offering of keyboard shortcuts. Not only does Feedly provide standard shortcuts for scrolling through articles and feeds, it also offers a full set of shortcuts for global navigation and article-level actions, including sharing content to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. (Continued on next slide)

Click here for a full, printable version of Feedly’s keyboard shortcuts.

Feedly shortcuts (continued)
Credit: ITworld/Steve Traynor
Feedly shortcuts (continued)

If keyboard shortcuts matter at all, RSS should not only live on, but thrive so long as Feedly is around.

Click here for a full, printable version of Feedly’s keyboard shortcuts.