I’ve recently gotten more active with tweeting, and I’m trying out twitter clients such as TweetDeck and HootSuite. I think they’re great ideas, and what they’re doing currently is great.
What I found was that the two applications were pretty similar. TweetDeck is a Rich Internet Application built on Adobe AIR, which allows it to run on pretty much any platform that supports Adobe AIR (meaning Mac, Windows, etc). HootSuite is an application that you access through your browser, but they made it possible to have a Mac desktop client using Fluid for the Mac.
Functionality wise, I think Hootsuite is clearer and more straightforward to use. I manage a couple of twitter accounts (work, personal, etc), and sometimes I would find myself tweeting from the wrong account on TweetDeck because it’s so easy to select the wrong account. With HootSuite, this isn’t a problem because no default account is selected when you’re composing a new message, and you can choose the account that you want to tweet from.
The other thing that got me to try these apps was that they had integration with Facebook. I thought it would be pretty cool to have a central location where I could manage all my social media activity. Turns out it’s a good concept on paper, but pretty bad in reality.
I have problems with TweetDeck’s Facebook integration – most of the time I wouldn’t have updated feeds from Facebook, so that makes it pretty useless. With Hootsuite, I can’t even get a good handle on my Facebook activity, such as targeting only my activity.
Without that, it becomes a problem using these Twitter clients because at best, it just allows me to keep updated with what’s happening on Facebook, but not be able to respond effectively.
One issue I had with Hootsuite is that it only allows statistics if you use their own owl.ly URL shortening service, which is horrible because I’m using bit.ly and their statistics tracking in all my other social media usage.
Conclusion? I’m leaning towards TweetDeck, but only as a pure-twitter client. Hopefully there’ll be an improvement in the integration with Facebook soon.