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.
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.