It’s 2 am. You’ve already put your 2-year-old and your missus/hubby to sleep, taken the dog out for a stroll and watched the Midnight News (why??). The kettle is whistling away and as you’re adding sugar to coffee powder, the glowing screen of your notebook seems more inviting than ever. These are your fifteen minutes of fame. And boy, do you deserve them… Twitter.com is called into action. But what started as mental fun quickly evolves into a digital nightmare. The web platform is sluggish. Want to watch your timeline, tweets, favorites, sent tweets and mentions at the same time? No problemo – just open 5 browser tabs and you’re all set! How about spacing out (timing) your replies, so you don’t sound like a frantic squirrel on caffeine to your (past) followers? Too much for the blue birdie, it seems. “There has got to be a better way”, you’re musing while sipping from your steaming cup of java…
Launched in Dec. 2008 by Invoke Media, HootSuite is a web and mobile social media dashboard that helps individuals and organizations spread messages, monitor conversations and track results across multiple networks including Twitter and Facebook. The Vancouver-based company’s rapidly growing user base includes governments, artists and organizations like The White House, Martha Stewart Media, SXSW and Zappos. Accolades include awards from Mashable’s Open Web, Canadian New Media, and Shorty Awards. (source – HootSuite media kit). I’ve been using the free version of HootSuite as my social media (mainly Twitter) dashboard in the last few weeks, and I can’t recommend it enough. Here’s why:
HootSuite is fast and snappy. I’ve tested the web-based version on all major browsers and on various machines, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised time and time again by how fast it takes the dashboard to load. Considering that I open at least 6 Twitter tabs simultaneously, and that I’ve got a few thousand followers and a lot of activity going on, I find it impressive.
With HootSuite, being a control-freak has never been more fun. Getting the basic details on any of your contacts (including their Klout score when applicable), is just a matter of clicking on their thumbnail/user name. Changes in contact details are updated almost on real time so there’s no need to refresh your dashboard. Under any tweet you’ll see the number of retweets, if it’s been shared around. Above any Facebook post the number of Likes and comments will appear, and reading the comment thread is only a click away. Creating custom reports is a breeze, and even with the free version you can quench your data-thirst with impressive analytics, to include beautiful charts on traffic sources, link sharing and a lot more. Heck, you can even share reports and have them sent to your email regularly.
As its name implies, HootSuite is indeed a suit to fit your social needs. While I think it’s no Facebook replacement yet, it would certainly meet most of your Twitter demands and then some. As you start using it, you get the reassuring feeling of a true social management deck, where all you need to see takes place under one roof. Viewing your Twitter timeline, list streams, Facebook news feed or any other social stream is as simple as clicking a tab or sliding over to the right column. Everything just flows, no sluggishness and no moving parts.
If you’re like me you tend to switch your column tabs over every 2 seconds. Maybe you like retweeting your favorite messages, but before you do so, add a few words before the original tweet, like “Good stuff >>”. How about scheduling your message before you retweet it, so you don’t create too much noise for your followers? Or adding another stream without going through hoops? Making sense of your contacts by simply dragging and dropping them in the right lists? All of these options are just a fraction of what you can do on HootSuite. And it’s all nice and easy, in a way that makes you feel at home.
HootSuite is web-based at its core. Nonetheless they’ve taken the extra mile to accommodate desktop users with apps for all 3 major platforms, including extensions for Firefox and Chrome. Those of you on the go can download feature-rich versions for iPhone, Android and Blackberry, as well as iPad and Keitai.
How about you?
Are you using HootSuite?
What’s your favorite social media platform?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments…
If you liked this article, why not share the love by tweeting it, sharing it on Facebook, digging it or stumbling it? Thanks…