February 19, 2009 7 Comments
I will be the first to admit that when it comes to software/services and user design, I’m very hard to please. Chalk it up to years of wrestling with software from all the way back in the early DOS days to the bleeding-edge present – AND from working with technology and software development firms.
So when I say I’m seriously impressed with HootSuite (formerly known as Brightkit, which was an awful name) that’s no light recommendation.
I’ve struggled with Twitter productivity tools over the past year, trying to streamline, simplify, and maximize my use of Twitter as a resource-sharing platform and communication engine. TweetDeck, for me, solved the problem of managing the Twitterstream through a flexible (desktop) client interface – it’s a great tool, getting better by the month, and I loved it right after Iain Dodsworth put it out for launch.
But I also make use of timed tweets (to share resources across different time sectors – I do most of my information gathering and publishing early in the morning). And, I like the automation of using one-click toolbar tools to rapidly create a tweet on the fly. Plus, I enjoy auto-shrinking or URLs into trackable mini-links.
I have used TweetLater extensively for timed tweets but found its interface cluttered and difficult. BigTweet is a great toolbar app that lets you actually create 240-character tweets (if desired) and splits them into two tweets – nice. TwitPwr, bit.ly, all the other URL shrinkers and trackers – been there, done that (I do like how bit.ly allows you to create a custom-spelled URL instead of nonsense characters if desired).
Good-bye to all of those, for the most part. HootSuite wraps it all together, and even allows you to swap between different Twitter personas if you have more than one. When you’re on a blog post or article that you want to tweet, it even auto-suggests wording from the title, it auto-assigns a shrunken URL (owl.ly), AND – very neat – it gives you a countdown of available words minus the characters of the shrunken URL as you type. Wonderful time-saver.
If you’re a power tweeter, your life can get a whole lot easier with a TweetDeck/HootSuite double play. Mine just did!