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Windows Phone 8.1 has a lot going on under the hood, from unified app stores with Windows 8.1 to new tools for developers. One of those tools is dubbed the ‘Social Extensibility Framework’ and while an odd term, it will have vast consequences for Windows Phone users going forward.

In case you’re wondering, this is the ‘What happened to Facebook in Windows Phone 8.1?’ discussion. While some of you have lamented the changes, no doubt due in part to habit, in the long run this improved architecture alteration will give companies a more consistent and unified approach to Windows Phone.

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Update 7:45 PM ET: As predicted, the beta app has now been unpublished from the Store

After the dust has settled with the Preview of Windows Phone 8.1, early adopters are noticing quite a few changes, some of which are causing some speed bumps. For instance, Twitter. The app works quite well on 8.1, but the ability to Share to the app has disappeared and it doesn’t fully leverage the capabilities of the 8.1 operating system.

The beta build of the app is circulating in an open beta, though it's sure to be closed now that it has leaked publicly. Regardless, here’s what to expect in Twitter for Windows Phone 8.1...

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Twitter apps are pretty invaluable. They’re also highly personal. What’s super important to you may be trivial to me. That’s why it’s important to find the app that fits your needs. That’s also why it sucks when that app gets killed off. Today, that app is MetroTwit for Windows 8 and desktop.

The culprit? Once again it’s the access token limit imposed by Twitter on third party developers. We’ve seen this system kill off apps before, recently Rowi on Windows Phone.

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The official Twitter app on Windows 8 sucks. It hasn’t seen an update in months and it doesn’t even fully take advantage of the unique new features in Windows 8.1. It’s just not that great, which is unacceptable for an app and company with over 2,000 employees and a market cap of $31.44 billion. Twitter claims north of 230 million users and we think those users on Windows 8 deserve a great Twitter app. Thank heaven for Tweetium.

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The popular Twitter background creator for Windows Phone has been bumped to a new version, opening up high quality PNG formats for use. Tile Me! is a sweet little app, which allows you to enhance your Twitter profiles with multiple elements. Show your support for Microsoft's new UI and mobile platform with some added Live Tile effects. Pass the break to see what else is new.

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There are a handful of official apps on Windows Phone for all the various social networks out there. Google+ is of course notably absent, but why use that when we’ve got Twitter and Instagram. We have official apps for both Instagram and Twitter, but we also have solid third-party clients from the strong developer community on Windows Phone. Be sure you never miss a moment of Windows Phone news by following Windows Phone Central across your social networks.

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Need to keep track of your followers and who you follow on Twitter? Maybe you’re not that narcissistic and instead manage an account for a brand. Whatever the reason, UnfollowSpy is the app on Windows Phone that we really like for managing who we follow on Twitter. The app just received a pretty big update. The big change? Support for managing your Instagram account. Let’s check out what all is new in UnfollowSpy for Windows Phone.

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This new app we’re writing about is either really cool or really creepy. Alphega for Windows Phone shows the status updates and check-ins near you on a map. Updates from social networks that take place in your vicinity will appear in the real direction relative to you. The app is currently in open beta and it’s also available on Android devices.

Head past the break to watch our hands-on video and walkthrough.

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If you want a chance to score one of Toshiba’s Encore tablets than you must act fast. A contest is being held on Twitter known as “Get a Smile, Share a Smile”, and if you want to take part in the action then check out the contest instructions below. Be sure to do so now, as the contest closes at midnight PST tomorrow!

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We first looked at Hashtastic in early November. The app is a much for any power Twitter user who really gets into things like Follow Friday or any other Twitter trend. Hashtastic has been updated to version 1.8 and brings a few new features to the mix. Plus the app went through a really nice UX refresh. Let’s check out Hashtastic for Windows Phone.

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Twitter is an interesting social network. Since it began almost a decade ago, millions of tweets have been fired into cyberspace and many of us have carefully managed who we follow to prevent clutter on the timeline, which is inevitable as one becomes more popular and interacts with other Twitter profiles.

There's a free, easy solution to the above problem, in the name of a sweet little Windows Phone app called UnfollowSpy, enabling you to keep up-to-date with new followers, those who have unfollowed you, as well as inactive profiles you follow and those who don't return the favour.

Ever had a quick browse through your lists and thought, "Why am I following them?" With UnfollowSpy, you'll now be able to easily manage exactly who you're interacting with.

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If you're frequently online using multiple social networks, you may feel overwhelmed at times when looking at main feeds, especially if you're following numerous sources. Luckily, there are some services out there that enable you to group, filter and manage your social accounts. One of said services is iSwarm (www.iswarm.com), which has just launched on Windows Phone 8.

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The latest update for Tweet It!, bringing the popular Windows Phone Twitter client up to version 7.3, introduces new personalisation options for how elements are displayed and more. If you're not a fan of the whole 'everything is square' UI design in most of your installed apps, Tweet It! enables you to switch between squares and round designs.

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On Twitter more than you should be? Then you’re probably familiar with and either love or hate Follow Fridays. What’s that? On Fridays, Twitter users will usually share a bunch of users they think their current crop of follows should follow. You’ve probably seen us do it a few times with the @wpcentral account on a Friday here and there. It’s popular among those social butterflies and especially anyone who manages an account on Twitter for a brand. Hashtastic is an app for Windows Phone users that makes #FF super simple. Let’s check it out.

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UPDATE: Check out the highlights from Tuesday's Reddit chat by clicking here.

Today is an exciting day that marks the release of Windows 8’s first upgrade – Windows 8.1. The free software update for existing Windows 8 users can be picked up from the Windows Store or purchased from your favorite retailer, if you are running an older version of the operating system (for more details on getting the update, click here).

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