Thursday, December 30, 2010

9 Great Tools for Twitter From SmartBrief on Social Media

  • Hootsuite, a browser-based client, comes in both free and paid versions and allows you to post to several popular networks, not just Twitter. It’s functionality isn’t especially deep, but it’s fairly intuitive. You can set up a variety of columns listing your timeline, your posts, mentions, etc. It’s easy to monitor several aspects of your social presence this way. Users can schedule posts, attach images and use a built-in link shortener.
  • TweetDeck can either be installed or run through Google’s Chrome browser. TweetDeck’s interface can be a little daunting at first, but with a little practice it can be an exceptionally powerful tool. It uses a multi-column format and boasts a number of really swanky features, including the ability to to automatically shorten any link you paste into its update window. Multimedia is a focus, as posting photo and video to your Facebook accounts is just as easy as posting a link to Twitter using this service. The client also has a translation feature, but I’d be cautious about entrusting my tweets to a machine’s ability to transliterate idioms.
  • Seemic comes in both browser-based and installed flavors. Its features are plug-in based, so it can be easily customized. The default version can seem a little basic — especially since it lacks the ability to schedule updates. The user-interface is very clean, however, and makes a great stepping stone from the default Twitter client to some of the more advanced fare.
  • CoTweet is trying to carve out a niche as the platform of choice for accounts that are managed by several people. It lets users assign tasks to each other, so that no work gets duplicated or left behind. And the ability to forward a tweet via e-mail could be useful for situations in which you want a boss’s feedback before responding to a contentious tweet or direct message.
  • Echofon is great if you want a lightweight client and you use Firefox. Echofon runs right in the browser as a plugin, rather than a separate window. It lacks some of the bells and whistles that many of the other services on this list provide, but it’s simple, clean and it stays out of your way.
  • Twhirl is probably your best best for a lightweight client if you prefer installed clients or if you’re not a Firefox user. Again, the functionality isn’t too deep, but it’s crisp and clean and easy to use.
  • Slipstream is still in beta, but the site’s focus on helping make Twitter more manageable is laudable. Better query technology is something every client should be investing in.
  • BirdHerd takes a different approach to managing multiple accounts by allowing you to use direct messages from one account to control several others. While it’s not as intuitive as some other systems, it could prove more efficient if you’re working with a large number of accounts all day long.
  • Brizzly is the Twitter client for people who miss Google Wave. Users can create “picnics” — private conversations between multiple users that can integrate multimedia and be split off into side chats. Sound familiar?

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