I’ve used and enjoyed HootSuite for about six months. Initially, this was entirely at work, because the platform is (comfortably) the best and most feature-rich way to manage multiple social media accounts, notably on a multi-user basis. It’s web-based, works out of the box, is fast and efficient, and gives you tons of control over your columns, allowing the end user – and their business – to see exactly what they want to see.
Lately, I’ve found myself drifting over to HootSuite at home, largely because of issues I’ve been having with Seesmic Desktop, which had been my Twitter client of choice for as long as I can remember.
Earlier today HootSuite was down momentarily while they added some new features to the platform. This included a welcome People tab, which allows you to quickly manage your new followers, as well as those you have recently followed yourself.
Interestingly, it comes with integrated support from Klout, which while not a flawless system is probably the closest thing we have right now to a reliable measure of an individual’s online influence and social status.
For example, here is the list of the latest people I’m following.
And here are my latest followers:
(click either image to enlarge)
You can see the Klout score on the right-hand side, which is a rating out of a maximum of one hundred. Why is this useful? Well, it’s one way to determine whether you want to follow somebody back. If the person has a reasonable Klout score, like Danny Brown or Cory O’Brien, then there’s perhaps less risk in instigating an immediate follow.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that the tweets of users with high Klout scores are going to be of interest to you, nor does it mean that individuals with a low Klout score are to be tarred and feathered and dragged back over to MySpace. Indeed, because Klout is still a relatively new service, the majority of users on Twitter don’t have any kind of score at all. Over time, this, and the algorithm they use will hopefully improve, as this has definite value.
(You can do your part by generating your own Klout score here.)
The People tab within HootSuite also provides additional data, including when a user joined Twitter and how often they tweet per day. This is also useful information when deciding whether to follow somebody, or not.
With the new build, HootSuite also announced an easy way to convert your existing HootSuite groups into authentic Twitter lists, as well as an interesting feature that allows you to save tweets as ‘drafts’ for publication later.
In my opinion, all that’s missing from HootSuite is being able to choose the URL shortener you want. It defaults to ow.ly, HootSuite’s own shortener, and while that has some nice stats it’s not as credible or accepted across social media as bit.ly, which means using ow.ly exclusively can hurt your click-throughs.
That said, I’ve noticed that one can now permanently opt-out of ever seeing the (unpopular) ow.ly bar on any given computer, which is very welcome indeed. Still, let us choose which URL shortener we prefer, and HootSuite would easily be the greatest way to engage with your Twitter network.
Well, almost. Ideally, the ultimate Twitter client would be plugin-supportive, and maybe that’s something the owl can think about for the future, but HootSuite is the closest thing we have to perfection right now.