There are a plethora of apps available for managing your Twitter life, and I’ve used a few but keep coming back to TweetDeck.
Well, a few reasons. It depends a lot on how you use Twitter, but I find TweetDeck suits me.
Here are my top 5 reasons for using TweetDeck:
1. It has an autocomplete/lookup function for Twitter names of all the people you are following. No need to guess someone’s Twitter handle and have your tweet go off into a black hole because of a mis-spelling (on Twitter, there is no bounce back to tell you that you got the address wrong!). And really, who can be bothered to go and lookup the correct name somewhere else? That’s one of the drawbacks of Twitter web (which only shows 500 names – and its never the 500 you want) or Twitter for Mac (which shows absolutely none thank you very much).
2. There is an automatic url shortener which can use your bit.ly account (or tiny.url and a few others). Makes it super easy to copy and paste a url, have it shortened and still be able to access the analytics. If you share a lot of links to content (as I do) then this is important. You can also use your Twitpic, Yfrog or Posterous accounts for uploading images.
3. Its got a built in spell check. Admittedly it is American spelling, but its better than none. Might save your bacon one day.
4. You can use the old and new style retweets – you can choose each time you RT. Love that flexibility – sometimes you want to add a comment onto the RT (if there is sufficient room) and being able to choose how you RT is excellent.
Extra Tweetdeck Features
There are also a lot of extra features in TweetDeck that you may not be aware of, even if you are a long time TweetDeck user. Here are my favs:
1. You can see and post to your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Buzz and MySpace accounts all via TweetDeck, which makes it more and more like your own personal social media command centre (take that Dell and Gatorade!). To add your other accounts just go to Settings > Accounts. You can also add your lists or searches into TweetDeck columns so you have a complete view of all the Twitter activity you are interested in.
This doesn’t work when a tweet is Favourited with every Twitter app – and strangely not with TweetDeck itself – but when the Favourite function is used in Twitter web and other apps it will display in your mentions column. Great as another indicator of engagement from your followers.
4. Twitter only shows you the tweets where the tweet is sent to all followers, or where you follow both the people in the tweet. However if you want to see ALL tweets sent by the people you follow, you can switch this on in TweetDeck. Warning – your timeline will get A LOT busier!! Go to Settings > Twitter and select ‘Include @ replies from your friends to others’.
6. Ever worried about inadvertently finding out on Twitter the score of the game you missed watching live? Or a spoiler for the final episode of your favourite TV show? Or are you just sick of hearing about Rebecca Black or Charlie Sheen? You can block specific words, people or sources within TweetDeck. Go to Settings > Global Filter to set this up.
7. TweetDeck is also available via the Chrome App store meaning that you can access it everywhere via the Chrome browser (you need to have a TweetDeck account set up).
There are a couple of niggles I have about TweetDeck:
Conversations can be difficult to track due to the column width not able to display ‘in reply to’ when the app name is lengthy (eg Twitter for Blackberry).
Automatically invoking deck.ly for tweets over 140 characters is not good. Thankfully there is now an option to turn it off (under Settings > General)
However, TweetDeck kept working fine last week when tweets were delayed for up to an hour, while other apps suffered a meltdown. Its API settings mean you get tweets in realtime – watching the #eqnz column in February was like standing in front of a poker machine – it was spinning so fast it was almost out of control. Its a powerful tool and can help make sense of the increasing volumes of people and tweets on Twitter.
Still need convincing? Which Twitter app do you use and why?