Death of Third-Party Twitter Clients?

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Full story at TechCrunch discusses the tweet above from a Twitter engineer hinting at some big changes coming to Twitter that could possibily reduce or eliminate the need for a desktop client.

What? Hard to believe the very simple system Twitter is known for will soon be packed with features – enough to make me abandon TweetDeck & HootSuite. Though I LOVE Twitter, I have not been at all impressed with their user interface — it’s due to the brilliance of 3rd party clients that I have embraced the Twitter craze.  But not so for many who “don’t get” Twitter.

To foster the widespread of adoption of Twitter these guys realize they need a tool that is much easier and more intuitive to use – hats off to them if they can get it right. But unless they steal all that is good from TweetDeck, Seesmic, HootSuite, etc and wrap it burrito-style into one killer app (something the aforementioned companies have yet to do) I think I’ll still be placing my bets seeing the best stuff emerge from the desktop client race.

Announcement about the monthly sdGNO meetups

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Thanks for being a part of San Diego Girls’ Night Out / #sdGNO! Over the past several months we’ve enjoyed the many connections we’ve made with you and eagerly look forward to seeing you at the monthly events, usually held the last weekend of the month. As a way to keep growing and sharing together and to continue fostering a vibrant San Diego community, we are changing the name of the group to one that better reflects our vision: “San Diego In Real Life Connections.”

San Diego IRL Connections aims to unite, support, & grow a community of San Diego professionals interested in tech, local business, and new media by providing fun & professional opportunities to connect In Real Life.

We’ll still plan to organize ladies-only events periodically since they are so well-received, but won’t be calling them “San Diego Girls Night Out” anymore, as there is a new San Diego group using that name which doesn’t refer to the monthly sdGNOs we’ve been a part of. We will make a clear transition and use the #sdGNO hashtag to direct our followers to our new Twitter username, @sdIRL. Please follow @sdIRL and DM us with your suggestions and ideas for how to make this group something we can all benefit from!

Thanks again and we look forward to seeing you soon IRL,
Stacey (@sdbargainmama) & Liz (@iizLiz)

Follow us on Twitter: @sdIRL
Join us to be notified about monthly events: www.sdIRL.com

SPECIAL OFFER FROM MOO CARDS As a way to kick-start your IRL connections, get 50 FREE MOO Business Cards with a MOO Watermark (all you pay is shipping). The code to use on the sdIRL.com web site and it expires March 19.

Four perspectives on SVMomsBitMoms Blogging Event with Brands

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Photo: TechMama, SugarJones, iizLiz taken by photographer Carla Duharte-Razura, http://wwwbabyjidesign.com

I often joke about having a case of “twitsophrenia” when I tweet from multiple Twitter accounts, but my issue of being a multi-faceted gal becomes more apparent in real life gatherings. Case in point: I had the absolute honor of being invited to participate in the Silicon Valley Moms LA/Orange County event held last weekend at the Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel – and the many sides of me took interest in the event, but for four very different reasons.

As the publisher of BabyBlooze.com, the BEST part about this event was getting to meet so many of the legendary bloggers from LA and Orange County, as well as Silicon Valley Mom founders. Congrats to the SV Moms Group for launching their latest blog – the Orange County Moms Blog which was announced as part of the event. It was fun to talk about blogging and share stories (even some bloozy ones) about our kids. A list of all of the bloggers who took part in the event is here and special thanks to Momfluential and TechMama for the warm welcome.

As the techy geek of iizLiz.com, I loved interacting and learning about some of the tech products brought by the sponsors. Of particular interest was iGO – a one-stop power management system (i.e charger) for your devices. They gave me a two-device charger and the adapter for my iPod Touch which was the gift I was most excited to use but somehow it didn’t come home with me – grrr! But, I will totally have to buy one because this product would be ideal, especially when I travel for work.

Another cool tech gadget was litl – not a netbook, not a Chumby (if you know what that is) but a “webbook” – a tablet-sized device you can prop up and view and experience all kinds of web content. I love the user interface and feel they designed the product with moms in mind. The price will be $600 or so when it starts shipping.

The techy side of me enjoyed seeing Heather Meeker of Whrrl.com who was there to get the Whrrl photo sharing party started for the event – it was nice to say hi.

As a marketing professional for a Fortune 10 company (though this is my personal opinion and not that of my employer’s), I found this event to be fascinating. Every brand right now is trying to figure out how to interact with and engage with new media influencers. This event is one of the best I’ve seen – well organized and well run, bringing together companies that absolutely are the right fit for the mom audience and bloggers who are willing to listen to brands for a no-strings-attached chance to talk. There are no agreements of “you must blog about this” or “write your review of this product” because smart people know – reputable bloggers (thus the ones who hold sway) will write about things they care about only if they genuinely want to. And if they receive anything for free or compensation of any kind, they must disclose it on their blog.

Then throwing on my woman and baby mama of two kiddos hat, I must say I could relate to all of the companies that took part in the event. All the brands are listed in the recap post, but here are my personal favorites:
  •  Skechers Shape-ups: there;s no getting around the fact these shoes are a tad bulky (dare I say ugly? no, I dare not) on the outside, but heck, if they actually make my body tighter just by wearing them, then Im game. As soon as I can get going on a regular walking program (of which my dog will be a beneficiary), Ill report back. I should state for the record however, I am highly skeptical of the claims though other moms swear by the shoes.
  • Ju-Ju Be: really cute bags amazing patterns and the best part, YOU CAN WASH THEM. Even the new leather ones they offer.
  • Taga: Taga is part-stroller, part-bicycle it is something I would buy if I were a rich mom with two kids, preferably twins, living in a city where getting around by foot is the norm. Or if I were an outdoorsy mom who lives in a great climate. Wait. That second description was a little me but I dont have $1500 to shell out on this and the thought of peddling my preschooler + toddler around while they hit each other would probably be the death of me. The Taga launched in the US at this blogger event (wow!) and is made by a Dutch company (love the Dutch! cc my colleague @Arvid).
  • Stride Rite: Unfortunately, I didnt get a chance to hear about the newest cute SR shoes theyve launched (evidently Jessica Simpson designed some of them) but most moms LOVE Stride Rite and I’m excited to see that they are now selling Robeez the only shoes my kids wore when they were pre- and newly-walking.
  • Stonyfield Farm: Organic yogurt. Our family is a big fan of this yogurt company Yo Baby all the way!
  • BusyBodyBook: I dont remember talking with anyone at the event but afterwards, I found an AWESOME weekly grid planner in my swag bag. Basically its a calendar with 5 columns so you can organize your weeks by family member activities. Its actually quite brilliant and I like it so much Ive taken it to work each column refers to one of the parts of my job; community manager, mobile go-to-market co-lead, etc., etc. Very handy

All of the perspectives I brought to the event made me appreciate it even more. Again, I was absolutely honored to be invited to this event and plan to continue watching the power of new media rise along with the coordinating efforts of folks like those of SV Moms Group.Thanks again!

Disclosure: I was an invited guest of this event where about 20 sponsoring companies were on hand to talk with bloggers, hand out samples, provide prizes. As for the companies mentioned above, I received: a iGo charger (value: $50) but I lost it before I even got home, a pair of Sketchers Shape Ups (value: $80?), Ju-Ju Be diaper clutch (value: $30?), a cup of yogurt that I ate on site, a Busy Body Book (value: $15?). In the future if I blog about any of the other companies that were there that I received a sample or gift from, I will disclose as I always do. The companies and/or SV Moms Group did NOT ask me to post my thoughts about this experience but I chose to share freely. The opinions expressed in this post and on this blog are my own and my disclosure policy is here. 

How Twitter and Facebook Make Us More Productive | Wired Magazine

How Twitter and Facebook Make Us More Productive (Wired March 2010) – Your random tweets about Android apps and last night’s Glee are stifling the economic recovery. At least, that’s the buzz among efficiency mavens, who seem to spend all their time adding up microblogging’s fiscal toll. Last year, Nucleus Research warned that Facebook shaves 1.5 percent off total office productivity; a Morse survey estimated that on-the-job social networking costs British companies $2.2 billion a year.

But for knowledge workers charged with transforming ideas into products — whether gadgets, code, or even Wired articles — goofing off isn’t the enemy. In fact, regularly stepping back from the project at hand can be essential to success. And social networks are particularly well suited to stoking the creative mind.

Studies that accuse social networks of reducing productivity assume that time spent microblogging is time strictly wasted. But that betrays an ignorance of the creative process. Humans weren’t designed to maintain a constant focus on assigned tasks. We need periodic breaks to relieve our conscious minds of the pressure to perform — pressure that can lock us into a single mode of thinking. Musing about something else for a while can clear away the mental detritus, letting us see an issue through fresh eyes, a process that creativity researchers call incubation. “People are more successful if we force them to move away from a problem or distract them temporarily,” observe the authors of Creativity and the Mind, a landmark text in the psychology and neuroscience of creativity. They found that regular breaks enhance problem-solving skills significantly, in part by making it easier for workers to sift through their memories in search of relevant clues. (Read the rest of this article here)

Your Twitter Desktop Client: HootSuite or TweetDeck?

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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.

Barbie as a Computer Software Engineer

Oh wow. Barbie has come a long way from the days when she thought math class was tough – she has graduated to become a bonafide software engineer complete with chic-geek glasses, a smartphone, and a netbook to boot (all pink of course). This doll was unveiled this week at ToyFair2010 and I’m already cringing wondering what the real geeks of femaledom will think of this… RWW’s Jolie O’Dell recently discussed the topic of gender issues when it comes to tech. I’d love to hear her take on this.

My take? Kudos to Mattel for celebrating women in a variety of roles – a techy Barbie… YAY! But while I don’t take issue with the bubblegum pink accessories (Mattel DOES have to sell these dollies to girls after all *sarcasm intended*) I take issue with the fact that this Barbie looks like more like a fantasy some nerd who lives in his mom’s basement dreamed up versus a realistic-looking software engineer. Improvements? Besides adding the Coke and Doritos as the article mentions, dress her in a t-shirt, jeans, and flip-flops (I am speaking of the unofficial dress code in our Southern CA offices, btw). Lose the trendy glasses (this is software Barbie, NOT marketing Barbie) and give her some REAL computer hardware. The mismatch of computer hardware, in my book, is the most egregious thing about this product.

Computer Software Barbie is set to hit toy store shelves this Fall. Wondering what your take on this is!