Twitter is becoming more and more similar to an open-source application, especially when you look at the integration of its services with millions of products from the open-source community. I have previously discussed TweetDeck, which allows you to efficiently utilize the Twitter service (and for that matter, you can check out the post introducing Twitter to the people in the outside world). TweetDeck is a desktop application built on Adobe’s AIR, HootSuite is a website, or online application. Either way, you need a constant connection to the Web if you are to tweet or follow other people do it. Therefore, they could both be placed in the same category.
HootSuite 2.0 is a free “professional Twitter client” that is ideal for a group of professionals maintaining a joint Twitter account, and taking their tweeting seriously. It gives you a personalized view so that you can group the people you are following the way you want. In that aspect, it is similar to TweetDeck. However, what distinguishes it, or rather pushes it towards a slightly different crowd, is the fact that it is set-up to allow several users to access it simultaneously and to accurately measure the effectiveness of each one of the tweets.
The following is a summary of the main features:
- Create tabs and columns to organize the way you follow other twitterers
- Manage multiple Twitter accounts via the same interface
- Several user accounts to the same Twitter account, with each person customizing his or her views freely
- Tweet directly, with a built-in URL shortener, and the ability to schedule tweets
- Detailed statistics for each of your Twitter accounts
The most significant feature has got to be the ability to follow the stats associated with your account:
The interface is very intuitive, and while you might not be able to skim through the tweets as swiftly as you are used to, it’s only a matter of time before you become a native user. It would’ve been nice to be able to automatically refresh the tweets more frequently than every two minutes (the minimum time offered), especially for those with over a thousand followers, but we won’t lose much sleep over it.
In comparison to TweetDeck, it seems to be more powerful and flexible, simply due to the tab system offered by HootSuite. You can also open it in a Firefox tab along with other websites, or in it’s own browser, while with its AIR counterpart, you are limited to a stand-alone desktop application. If you and at least one other person are managing a Twitter account, HootSuite would be the obvious choice. However, if you’re tweeting on your own, and not that frequently, then it would be another case of advanced, unused features – you’re better off relying entirely on the original website.