Thursday, February 03, 2011

Tweetdeck wins my heart, all over again

I was a relatively early user of Tweetdeck, a cleaner and more versatile way to access Twitter. Tweetdeck helped me learn a truism among Twitter-lovers: It's great to use Twitter, unless you use it on Tweetdeck keeps proving itself to me over and over again, and you should know about its latest features--options that might well change how you manage all your social media interactions with ease, with fewer limits and still for free.

Tweetdeck initially won my heart with its clean white-on-black interface and multiple columns. It has steadily made loads of upgrades and improvements, step by step. It really won my heart when I had technical problems downloading an update, and found myself trading emails with Tweetdeck CEO Iain Dodsworth--who nicely asked whether I'd mind trying several downloads of several versions so they could isolate my particular issues.Why, yes, I'd love to. Some high-powered help desk you've got there. We talk a lot about commitment and engagement with customers, but rarely experience it as trading emails with the CEO in the wee hours in his time zone. I've been using Tweetdeck's desktop app for a long time and its Android mobile app more recently.

Now, Tweetdeck has rolled out a couple of improvements to which communicators should be paying attention. One is a new and free Chrome web-based application that lets you manage multiple social-media accounts with an ease that even I find surprising, and another is, the Tweetdeck option that lets you go beyond 140 characters with your tweets. News organizations also are using Tweetdeck, both on-screen and behind the scenes, so media relations specialists should be paying attention to this trend.  Here are three updates to note:
  1. My new favorite, Tweetdeck on Chrome:  When Tweetdeck tells you that this new web-based version of the service is different from the desktop application and incorporates features of the mobile app, they're right--and then some. The Chrome version allows me so many more features in terms of monitoring multiple social accounts and posting to them that it's now my go-to social media management platform. (If I had two wishes, it's that I could do everything on the desktop version that I can do with the Chrome version. And scheduling posts isn't as intuitive on the Chrome version as it is on the desktop.) As an example: I can manage my Twitter account, my Foursquare account, my personal Facebook profile and three Facebook pages, and monitor LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare (and there are more options). It lets me add media, create standing searches and more. And it's free. I've played with paid monitoring services and Tweetdeck manages to make them undesirable. Here's an introductory video:
  2., in case you're tempted to overstep the 140-character limit:  This feature means Tweetdeck has figured out how to let you ramble on a bit more--perhaps dangerous. In Tweetdeck, you can see these longer tweets; on other services, your followers will see a truncated tweet with a link to the rest. It's important to note that the longer-tweet feature does not extend to private DMs.Again, a video explains:
  3. Media companies using Tweetdeck:  Major news organizations are starting to use Tweetdeck as a reporting and broadcasting tool, and you can see examples at NBC NewsSky News, and The Guardian. And many networks now use Tweetdeck on-screen: one blog post made fun of how the networks have discovered Tweetdeck as a visual tool. That suggests that communicators, too, can be making use of it--and should be paying attention to Tweetdeck as a media-relations tool.
Are you using Tweetdeck and its new features? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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