Social networkers don’t like to work hard at staying in touch. If it’s too time-consuming to post status or follow others’ updates, people won’t use it. That’s why the new *Spark (Beta) app is useful.

*Spark acts like a home-screen replacement for your Android. From its main app menu, you can check the weather, post your status to Facebook and Twitter, read updates from your friends on both of those networks, browse a news feed, and also call, email, text, or browse. The idea is that you leave this app running as your phone’s home screen most of the time. When you unlock your Android, it takes about five seconds to catch up on what your friends are doing, or post your own status.

It’s super easy to set up. As you install the app, enter your Facebook and Twitter user names and passwords, and it does the rest.

The app isn’t perfect. You can’t upload photos or video. As soon as you drill deeper than status post snippets, *Spark pushes you off to Facebook and Twitter themselves to use their interfaces. The same goes with the news feed. However, the app does deliver a useful home screen. I found I could glance at my phone and get a good handle on the important information and people in my life. And, I could make a fast call or check email with one tap.