How to Better Manage Your Twitter Followers

Twitter has increasingly become a part of my life. In fact, I would say that it is almost more important than email. I find myself using it for nearly everything. In addition, it is fast becoming the center of our social marketing hub here at Thomas Nelson.

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Since I have several thousand followers and am following several thousand, it is critical that I have a Twitter program that helps me manage my Twitter stream (which Twitter refers to as a “timeline”). I can’t afford to give the same amount of attention to all followers. Instead, I have to be able to segment them into distinct groups: family, friends, co-workers, authors, gurus, etc.For the past few months, I have been using TweetDeck. It has the ability to create and manage groups. The interface is simple and straght-forward. It has multiple URL shorteners, including my favorite, tr.im, built in. The program makes it very easy to reply, DM, re-tweet (i.e., “RT”), and even shorten tweets. And, the developers are updating it on a fairly regular basis.

The problem is that you can’t manage multiple Twitter accounts. And lately it seems to be dropping tweets. I have an RSS feed set up of my tweets that picks up everything. Some of my tweets just aren’t showing up on TweetDeck. Others have told me that the program starts missing tweets after you hit about 5,000 users. This may be an issue with my settings, but I am not sure. Regardless, it has shaken my confidence in TweetDeck.

As a result, I started looking for another Twitter solution. I started with PeopleBrowsr. There is both an online, browser version and a downloadable application. I opted for the downloadable version. Like TweetDeck, PeopleBrowsr sports groups (which it calls “Stacks”). It has all the features of TweetDeck, plus scores more, including the ability to manage multiple accounts. But therein lies the problem.

I found the PeopleBrowsr interface overwhelming, complex, and bloated. I got lost in all the features. It was just too much of a good thing. Rather than being designed by a developer with a singular vision, the program seems to be designed by a committee who couldn’t say “no.” Having said that, if you are a Twitter power user and yearning for a specific feature, there’s a good chance you will find it—or can get it—in PeopleBrowsr.

That led me to Seesmic Desktop. For me, it is just the right balance between power and elegance. The program does everything I want a Twitter program to do without getting in the way. I found the user interface simple and intuitive. It also has some very subtle design elements built-in, like shading the tweets you have responded to in a slightly different color.

Seesmic allows you to create groups (which it calls “user lists”) and manage multiple accounts, including Facebook. It provides a handy URL shortener, image integration (including the ability to use your web cam), and tweet shrinker. It also provides the usual ability to reply, DM, and re-tweet a message. In fact, that interface is almost identical to TweetDeck—you mouse over the user’s avatar and the options appear.

So for now, I am going to stick with Seesmic. I am also hoping that they will also develop a version for iPhone.

Update: I have run into problems with Seesmic, too. It seems to be missing tweets. Perhaps this is a Twitter problem; I don’t know. I am taking another look at PeopleBrowsr. It actually comes in three flavors: Lite, Advanced, and Business. As it turns out, I tested the most complex of the three. I am now working with the Lite version and really like it. My favorite features is “threaded conversations,” so I can keep track of the money threads.

Question: What program are you using for Twitter and what features do you particularly enjoy?
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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/jyamasaki jyamasaki

    Michael,
    Just wanted to say thank you for your post and your support for the Seesmic Desktop. It's still in it's early stages, but we're working hard to listen to feedback and adapt to provide the best product that will help users create or take part in building their community. If anyone has any questions, we have a help site and a feedback site or they can go to @askseesmic

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      You're welcome. I am really liking it. I would also like to have a "badge" that shows the number of unread messages in each list and then the ability to mark each message as read.

      Thanks for a great program.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/jyamasaki jyamasaki

    Michael,
    Just wanted to say thank you for your post and your support for the Seesmic Desktop. It's still in it's early stages, but we're working hard to listen to feedback and adapt to provide the best product that will help users create or take part in building their community. If anyone has any questions, we have a help site and a feedback site or they can go to @askseesmic

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      You're welcome. I am really liking it. I would also like to have a "badge" that shows the number of unread messages in each list and then the ability to mark each message as read.

      Thanks for a great program.

  • http://www.danieldecker.net/ Daniel Decker

    Just curious… you say you wanted the ability to manage multiple Twitter accounts… what other accounts do you have? Do you have some super secret account where you share the inner most secrets of Thomas Nelson's success with the world? :)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Actually, I manage @ThomasNelson, along with several co-workers.

  • http://www.danieldecker.net Daniel Decker

    Just curious… you say you wanted the ability to manage multiple Twitter accounts… what other accounts do you have? Do you have some super secret account where you share the inner most secrets of Thomas Nelson’s success with the world? :)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Actually, I manage @ThomasNelson, along with several co-workers.

  • http://www.petersopinion.com/ PetersOpinion.com

    I agree that Seesmic is really powerful. I love it for the same reasons. Since several weeks I am testing CoTweet. A great tool as well. The advantage of CoTweet is that it is easy to share f.e. a company account with some cowriters. Anyhow grouping the people and following what they are sending is for sure a lot easier with Seesmic. On the iPhone I did not find anything better than Tweetie. I really love that app.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I have heard good things about Co-Tweet. I guess I'll have to check it out.

  • http://www.petersopinion.com/ PetersOpinion.com

    I agree that Seesmic is really powerful. I love it for the same reasons. Since several weeks I am testing CoTweet. A great tool as well. The advantage of CoTweet is that it is easy to share f.e. a company account with some cowriters. Anyhow grouping the people and following what they are sending is for sure a lot easier with Seesmic. On the iPhone I did not find anything better than Tweetie. I really love that app.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I have heard good things about Co-Tweet. I guess I'll have to check it out.

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/thejeffbrown Jeff Brown

    I've been planning a pro-Seesmic post myself, but I think you've been either stealing my notes or reading my mind. :-)

    I've been using Seesmic for a few weeks. Never thought I'd leave TweetDeck, but I keep finding myself going back to Seesmic. Like you, I attempted PeopleBrowsr and came to the same conclusion you did.

    Any suggestions for what I write about now?

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/thejeffbrown Jeff Brown

    I've been planning a pro-Seesmic post myself, but I think you've been either stealing my notes or reading my mind. :-)

    I've been using Seesmic for a few weeks. Never thought I'd leave TweetDeck, but I keep finding myself going back to Seesmic. Like you, I attempted PeopleBrowsr and came to the same conclusion you did.

    Any suggestions for what I write about now?

  • http://themusicgardener.com/ Keith Stancil

    I just downloaded Seesmic. Only downside I see is it doesn't seem to have the function of making a subject search a column so you are able to see all tweets regarding the subject. (similar to Google alert) That is something I use frequently with Tweetdeck.

  • http://themusicgardener.com/ Keith Stancil

    I just downloaded Seesmic. Only downside I see is it doesn't seem to have the function of making a subject search a column so you are able to see all tweets regarding the subject. (similar to Google alert) That is something I use frequently with Tweetdeck.

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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

    Look in the upper right-hand corner. There's a search box there.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

    Look in the upper right-hand corner. There's a search box there.

  • http://www.jondale.com/ Jon

    Hey Mike,

    Great reviews. I've worked closely with the team at PeopleBrowsr since the beginning.

    Let me toss out a couple of other reasons people might want to consider PeopleBrowsr:

    1. No API limits (this is something that most power users have bumped into with other clients)
    2. Unlimited stacks
    3. Cloud based, so you have exactly the same stacks at every computer you use and (fingers crossed) hopefully one day soon an iPhone app.

    You're right, PeopleBrowsr was primarily designed as a power user tool. And as such can be a little overwhelming.

    To help address this, they've just started offering three different modes: Lite, Advanced and Business. My suggestion, start with the Lite Mode. Jumping into the advanced or business mode can be a little like sitting in cockpit of a jet. It looks really cool, but there's a reason they usually teach people to fly in a small Cessna :-).

    Keep up the great work!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Jon, I actually am giving PeopleBrowsr another look. (See my update in the last paragraph of the article.) I am having some issues with Seesmic as well. It seems to be dropping Tweets. The developers have been very responsive, but the issues are still unresolved. Thanks for dropping by.

  • http://www.jondale.com Jon

    Hey Mike,

    Great reviews. I've worked closely with the team at PeopleBrowsr since the beginning.

    Let me toss out a couple of other reasons people might want to consider PeopleBrowsr:

    1. No API limits (this is something that most power users have bumped into with other clients)
    2. Unlimited stacks
    3. Cloud based, so you have exactly the same stacks at every computer you use and (fingers crossed) hopefully one day soon an iPhone app.

    You're right, PeopleBrowsr was primarily designed as a power user tool. And as such can be a little overwhelming.

    To help address this, they've just started offering three different modes: Lite, Advanced and Business. My suggestion, start with the Lite Mode. Jumping into the advanced or business mode can be a little like sitting in cockpit of a jet. It looks really cool, but there's a reason they usually teach people to fly in a small Cessna :-).

    Keep up the great work!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Jon, I actually am giving PeopleBrowsr another look. (See my update in the last paragraph of the article.) I am having some issues with Seesmic as well. It seems to be dropping Tweets. The developers have been very responsive, but the issues are still unresolved. Thanks for dropping by.

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  • http://peoplebrowsr.com/ Priscilla Scala

    Michael,
    Thanks very much for this review.

    We're happy that you like the three PeopleBrowsr modes.
    There's also a very simple version of PeopleBrowsr http://search.peoplebrowsr.com/ for quick searching and conversation.

    You can find several PeopleBrowsr options on http://peoplebrowsr.com/

    Best browsers for PB are Chrome2 and Safari4.
    Thanks for your feedback – welcome your suggestions.

    Cheers,
    Priscilla
    PeopleBrowsr Product Manager

  • http://peoplebrowsr.com/ Priscilla Scala

    Michael,
    Thanks very much for this review.

    We're happy that you like the three PeopleBrowsr modes.
    There's also a very simple version of PeopleBrowsr http://search.peoplebrowsr.com/ for quick searching and conversation.

    You can find several PeopleBrowsr options on http://peoplebrowsr.com/

    Best browsers for PB are Chrome2 and Safari4.
    Thanks for your feedback – welcome your suggestions.

    Cheers,
    Priscilla
    PeopleBrowsr Product Manager

  • http://disiniadaebook.uni.cc/ kerja keras

    hi, great tips brother. its very helpful, thanks for share.

  • http://disiniadaebook.uni.cc/ kerja keras

    hi, great tips brother. its very helpful, thanks for share.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/amac44 amac44

    Seesmic released an iPhone app in May I think it was.

  • http://www.sideofsneakers.com Heather @ Side of Sneakers

    I love Hootsuite- multiple twitter accounts separated by tabs, multiple personalized columns for each account (includes searchs, hashtags, lists, etc.) Easy to understand & works on mobile devices too.

  • http://www.kristievosper.com Kristie Vosper

    I’m looking through your archives for any hints that can point me towards the best Twitter manager. I realize this is a fairly dated post…and you may have a new program that you like by now. I’m looking to pre-schedule some tweets as well as organize things a bit. Are you still using PeopleBrowsr?  Thanks! :)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      No, I have been using HootSuite for about a year now. Love it. (I need to do a fresh article on this.)

      • http://www.kristievosper.com Kristie Vosper

        Great! I’ll check it out right now. Thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly. Very kind of you. :) 

  • http://bit.ly/brandonrobbins Brandon Robbins

    Hey Mike. A fresh article on this topic would be great! I was curious about what you use to manage Twitter and saw this post just in time. I started out using TweetDeck not that long ago, then read on another blog I follow that the blogger switched to HootSuite for a number of different reasons, so thought I would give it a try. I have been using it for a week or two now.  I like being able to switch between accounts (I have a few).  Having things separate like that makes things a bit easier. I like the columns where I can see the home feed, as well as mentions, DM’s & my pending posts, but overall, it just seems like too much. I feel overwhelmed. Everything seems so much smaller & tighter in HootSuite and so makes it harder for me to follow. I do like many aspects of HootSuite but I think I like the simplicity of TweetDeck  more. I am considering switching back. Should I give it some time maybe? Any thoughts?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think it’s totally a preference thing. I am used to HootSuite and love it. Gail, on the other hand, doesn’t like it and uses TweetDeck. I don’t think there’s a right answer here. Both are excellent programs. Thanks.

      • http://bit.ly/brandonrobbins Brandon Robbins

        Great! Thanks Mike.

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  • http://www.thefantasticlaurab.com/ Thefantasticlaurab

    Hi Michael, I have been using Hootsuite for over a year now, it’s simple, clear, it works well online and on my android phone (and on iPhone but I don’t have one so can’t say anything critical about it). Hootsuite is free for up to 5 social networks and $5.99 for more. I’m not a power user, more a music artist and I use Hootsuite to post ‘tweets’  simultaneously on Twitter, Facebook, Facebook artist page, MySpace and LinkedIn. It works a treat. The home page allows me to see all these streams in one page which is nice.
    I really like it and recommend you check it out :)