There are many HootSuite vs. Tweetdeck matchups on the web – just came across this one tonight. I’m constantly in search of the best desktop client for my needs… a good client is critical; it will make or break your Twitter experience.
For me, I started with Seesmic desktop – and loved it. I liked the interface and some of the usability features — quick tabs on left for @replies, DMs, etc as well as easy integration with mutiple accounts. The showstopper for me, however, was the fact that all of my hard work in setting up my columns, lists, etc was for naught when I computer-hopped to my Mac and other PC at home. Someone pointed me to a work-around to import profiles/tweets (or something) but I needed a solid solution for computer-hopping and Seesmic didn’t have it at the time.
On to… Tweetdeck. The beef I keep hearing from the techies is that TD runs on Adobe Air – I have no idea why this is important. To the average Jane, a piece of software is a piece of software. I found what I was looking for in Tweetdeck with the abillity to have one login that would import my preferences across multiple computers. I also found so much more!
The things I love best about Tweetdeck:
- Slick integration if you have multiple Twitter accounts (though sometimes I still make mistakes – though it’s all user error, baby)
- Integration with URL shorteners (SUCH a time-saver!), photo sharing platforms (like TwitPic and Tweetphoto) and multiple social media platforms like Facebook, Linked In
- Easy imports/exports of Twitter lists
- Quick profile look-up – I use this all the time
- Auto-fill for user names (a lifesaver)
- Can enable a column to see all the new followers and add them directly
- Can see the number of followers someone has directly next to their tweet (I don’t treat people differently if they have 100 vs 10,000 followers however if someone with 1 follower is trying to tell me my teeth need whitening, I can casually dismiss it 😉 )
- Can easily filter certain words by column
- LOVE managing List and Group additions… the interface brings up the list of everyone you follow from all of your accounts so you can easily add/delete list members
But I also found things I don’t like about Tweetdeck:
- If you have multiple accounts, you are likely to have a lot of columns. I have about 30 and really could stand to add more but the left-to-right scrolling gets to be tedious. Your eye can get lost
- Wanted ability to schedule a tweet — this is a practice I generally avoid however I explore the web at odd hours and some of the stuff I find would be useful to people during regular, waking hours. For those tweets that are not time-sensitive, I want the option to post at a pre-determined hour.
- Seems like all of the tweets don’t make it from my Twitter stream to Tweetdeck. I have found this to be the case on numerous occassions and I hate to think I might be “ignoring” someone simply because I didn’t read the @ or DM. I don’t know if this is so much of a Tweetdeck problem or API problem (or something else – this is a marketing person speaking after all) but it is a concern
- Refresh rate can kinda feel slow
So… I set out on my quest to find something new.
I had heard great things about HootSuite… people generally refer to HS as the best client for professionals/organizations and I can see why. They have some bells and whistles for manging multiple users on multiple accounts and great analytics. They also have the abillity to have each of your accounts organized at tabs (which makes for a HUGELY better user experience versus the “column eye-chart-hell” I referenced earlier). AND with HootSuite you can schedule tweets. The other two things (not dropping tweets and fast refresh rate) seemed to meet my expectations with HootSuite and as a bonus – the online HS community manager @atomicpoet is awesome… and I really respect that.
As much as I like HootSuite and I’m glad it met the things Tweetdeck was missing for me, I find myself drifting back to Tweetdeck. And this is why:
- At a glance, I can see many more individual tweets in my TD column versus HS just due to the fact that HS is web-based and my browser takes up precious screen room. To me, this is a big difference… on my laptop with TD I can view 30 tweets without scrolling. On HS, I can only see 16 without scrolling.
- Auto-fill of user names is such a bonus with Tweetdeck and while HootSuite offers this as well, I think you would have have to have tweeted something to someone before it will suggest an auto-fill.
- I’m not crazy about the ow.ly shortener that is tied with HootSuite
Again, both platforms offer a LOT of benefit to the power or even casual Twitter user. And the fact that they are FREE is even more amazing. In fact I feel a little spoiled to complain about missing features when the overall solution (for all three clients – Seesmic, TD, HS) offers so much value to people. But in the spirit of feedback and continuous improvement, here is what I think could make each platform better:
Seesmic: Offer one universal login so people can computer-hop – and that includes a mobile client
Tweetdeck: Please make it easier for us to deal with a massive number of columns (and make it easier for us to MOVE the columns around). You already offer the ability to change colors – if I could even just color-code the individual columns to represent the different Twitter accounts I have, that would improve things. Also, if you can add in scheduled tweets that would be perfect! And, lastly, I would love some confidence that all my incoming Tweetstream from Twitter are actually also coming into Tweetdeck, without dropped tweets
HootSuite: Can you redesign the interface so I can see more tweets at once? Can you enable auto-fill of names without having to first type them in their entirety?
So what does that mean for me? I mostly use Tweetdeck but open Hootsuite when I need to send a scheduled tweet (very rare). Would love to hear your experiences using any of these clients – or others. I’m hearing CoTweet is a nice one to use as well – even for professional organizations. That may be my next client to check out when I have time.