Singing all the way from TweetDeck to HootSuite

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I manage three Twitter accounts and a couple of Facebook pages. I had long time ago resigned to using TweetDeck as my twitter client, as the only one supporting multi column layout, functioning decently and giving some kind of support to multi Twitter account management.

But a few days ago my colleague Matteo pointed me to HootSuite, and so I tried it in Chrome, and I’m happily using it since.

Unhappily married with TweetDeck

I was never happy with TweetDeck – not because it is a bad client, it is just built in a style that doesn’t fit my taste – I give some details below going through what I like of HootSuite. And of course I should be very thankful to TweetDeck creators – all their stuff is free.

One thing of my TweetDeck experience that really pissed me off is that for a long while it was impossible to verify their own accounts, and also syncs across different installations never worked. After asking on their support forums, complaining (with hundreds of others) and not getting a reply, I stopped trying.

Reasonable Hootsuite’ choices

imageThe first great thing about HootSuite is that it syncs everything appropriately across installations and versions.

So if you use the Chrome app, and then open it in Firefox or the (fantastic) iPad client, all configurations are synched.

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The second great feature is tabs: with them you can create regions of interest. In a tab you can collect the full union of streams relative to a theme, where a stream is a Twitter stream, but also a search, a topic by keyword and more. And the great touch is that they didn’t overdue it, so for example posting news is not relative to a tab. Great usability design.

The third great experience I had was when I installed HootSuite on my iPad client. A problem that you have in touch devices but also on the web when working with status updates is that you are never sure that what you do will succeed. in this application they worked on design in order to give you discrete feedback on every action. This is great in the whale-infested world of status updates .

And more design choices contribute user interface (UI) clarity : when you have to pick from which account to send updates, the buttons are relatively big and clear. When you favorite a Tweet, it always asks you from which account you are doing that (a nightmare in Tweetdeck, where you never know from which account you are acting).

Another good UI choice is to have new searches as a region on top of the rest, so that an occasional search can be seamlessly disregarded (instead of the damned additional column at the very end), or added to the stream of choice. Clear choices when needed Smile

More gems are the tweet drafts, scheduled tweets, clickable hashtags, all integrated in the “right” way; my point is that its not as much having loads of features, as how they are integrated in the UI. I keep discovering new useful stuff, like Klout integration.

So on the iPad I actually removed the Twitter official client, and there too I’m using HootSuite. I don’t own an iPhone, but I checked it on a friends one, and there too the specific client looks great.

It is a tool structured to fit both basic and users with more complex, multi account need. Moreover it is web based, which is great-beautiful-fantastic.; this facilitates copying /pasting / sharing stuff with other browser tabs, where I have my e-mail and my Licorize bookmarking web app. Complex web applications may have stability problems – but somehow this is not the case with this app.

I here focused on usability, but HootSuite is also a powerful tool for tracking and exploring social network of connections. It has a powerful analytics structure,  allows you to work with WordPress (!!!) and share account management with other users –  these are parts I didn’t explore yet – but see this blog post.

Who is the UI designer? No idea, but she knows what she’s doing. Thank you HootSuite!

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