Tag Archives: tweetdeck

Managing social media the easy way…

Let’s face facts, Twitter’s website is awful to use. It’s clunky, you’re confronted with that Fail Whale constantly and keeping up with conversations is virtually impossible.

But did you know that there are some free-to-use clients out there which help manage your tweets and overall social media experience in easier way?

The three big players in this sphere at the moment are TweetDeck, Hootsuite and Seesmic. All three have their advantages – but which is best for your needs?

TweetDeck

By far the most established and perhaps most popular client out there is TweetDeck. It is a downloadable desktop programme that enables a user to organise and manage multiple Twitter streams using easy-to-view columns. You can customise which columns are displayed (sent items, @replies, direct messages) and view a scrollable timeline of tweets. 
 
TweetDeck not only looks smart, it is a nice and easy platform to use and has some good features such as the ability to retweet or quote a tweet (using the RT standard). It also shows you instantly who’s retweeting your tweets which is another nice feature. However, although there are plans to make it web-based you need to download the TweetDeck client (which could be impossible if you have a strict IT Policy) and the column functionality is a bit limited, especially when compared to others available.
 
Seesmic
 
Like TweetDeck, Seesmic allows the user to organise one or multiple Twitter streams and Facebook feeds into columns, but Seesmic benefits from a bit of a more open user interface that enables the user to see more of the timeline in a clearer format. It displays many more tweets in each column compared to TweetDeck, making keeping track of conversations easier.
 
Unlike TweetDeck, you don’t need to download the client as it offers a web-based service. The interface is clean and you can customise it to your liking – not to mention the additional features such as ‘mail mode’ for pure text updates. With its constant software updates and enhancements (a newer, better version seems to be available every few weeks), I think Seesmic has edge over TweetDeck for me.
 
HootSuite

Being entirely web-based, HootSuite is accessible from any computer hooked up to the internet, and has several additional features over the others that make it an attractive option to consider.
 
The first is the scheduling function that enables tweets or status updates to be timed for future times and dates in a single session. This makes it perfect for things like job vacancy announcements of shared ownership open day or event reminders.  The integration of this functionality, combined with instant URL shortening, is a fantastic addition that removes the need to use a separate website like tinyurl to schedule future updates. You can also click ‘view conversation’ on one of your follower’s timelines, allowing you an instant ‘at-a-glance’ view of what they’re talking about.
 
However, where HootSuite falls down is the user interface and notifications. The interface can feel a bit cramped and overcrowded and together with a poor update notification system (due to the platform being web-based) it can feel frustratingly lacking at times.
 
Which is best?
 
For Flagship, we’ve found that Hootsuite is the best for us. We can sign in online, see instantly our @mentions and Direct Messages and respond accordingly. The ability to schedule tweets is a godsend, and so is the ability to view conversations.
 
In general, the right client for you will depend on your needs.
 
Do you want to receive automatic notifications 10-20 seconds quicker than web-based clients? Go for TweetDeck.
 
Do you want to have many columns of information (@ replies, DMs, searches, plain text, lists etc) displaying simultaneously? Go for Seesmic
 
Do you want to keep track of conversations easily and schedule tweets for future events? Go for Hootsuite.
 
To sum up…
 
There’s lots of choice out there, but the right client depends on your needs. By all means have a play around with all three to work out which one suits you – but if I had to part with my cash for a client I’d opt for HootSuite, every time.
 
What do you think?