By: Hillel Fuld
As time goes by, and more specifically the time by which most skeptics predicted that the “Twitter trend/fad” would end, I am only growing more dependent on Twitter (Follow me here) and using it more and more often for new purposes. I now use Twitter as my primary professional networking tool (yes I use LinkedIn, but somehow they compliment each other perfectly), my almost exclusive source of breaking news, my main online communication tool (replacing email almost), not to mention the inspiration for almost all blog posts that you see here.
The way I use Twitter has completely changed over the past year. Back then, I followed a few hundred people, so following their tweets was a simple task. Today, I follow close to 10,000 (9,937 to be exact) and without a reliable and efficient Twitter application, handling that amount of data would be close to impossible. The Twitter industry is overflowing with options, whether it is iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android Twitter apps that are available by the hundreds, or PC applications that compete heavily for the top spot, a Twitter user has a wide variety from which to choose.
Before I talk about Tweetdeck and its features, I want to mention one thing that really puts me over the edge when it comes to my Tweetdeck loyalty. The Tweetdeck team, specifically Richard Barley, as busy as they are, somehow always find the time to respond on Twitter, whether it is a thank you for a compliment, or answering technical questions, they are always available. In today’s day and age with the tools the internet provides combined with the increasing competition, every company should have a constant search in place for their brand and be prepared to open dialogue with their customers. Tweetdeck does it and they do it well.
As for the application itself, if I was to write a blog post every time there were some new features, that would be all I would ever write about. The Tweetdeck team seems to not need too much sleep, as they push out more updated versions than almost any other software company I have ever seen. However, the newest edition includes some features that deserve a special mention as they will fundamentally change the way people use Twitter.
The new Tweetdeck has many new features such as Foursquare and Google Buzz integration, flexible RT options, and a whole lot more. However, besides the addition of another column in Tweetdeck for Facebook or LinkedIn, all these recent additions are just that, nice additions. The newest version has two features, however, that have already changed the way I use Twitter, and they were only introduced three days ago.
- Scheduled Tweets: Scheduling tweets is a debatable topic. Many people have issues with any kind of automation when it comes to tweeting. That includes auto follows, auto DMs, and auto tweets. These concerns are very justified since Twitter is at its best when there is true dialogue, and not when you are just blasting your followers with tweets and not following up with conversation. In all the time I have been on Twitter, I have never automated anything. However, there is one problem with my technique, and that is that people who are not in my time zone will not be seeing those tweets. If I send out a tweet in the morning, people in other time zones are sleeping, and when they wake up and log in to Twitter, I will most likely be sleeping.
With the new Tweetdeck, I can schedule tweets, which will ensure that more people see my tweets. I tried this last night for the first time, and it worked like a charm, both in setting it up and in reaching a wider audience. Generally speaking, Tweetdeck is not considered to be a heavy business tool and businesses that use Twitter like to use tools like Hootsuite and others. However, with Tweetdeck’s search capabilities (brand monitoring), its phenomenal Twitter list integration (finding targeted audiences), and the new scheduling capabilities, Tweetdeck can most definitely compete with the best of the Twitter business tools out there.I have not yet decided if I am going to be scheduling tweets every night, but it is important to emphasize that the first thing I do when logging in to Twitter in the morning, is respond to all the comments, replies, and RTs I got to my scheduled tweets. If you are going to schedule tweets, and thereby surpass the need for engagement and interaction, well that kind of defeats the purpose of Twitter and social media in general.
- Global Filter: We are all familiar with Twitter search and the ability to find information or people who are tweeting about any topic, but with this new Tweetdeck filter, you can do the opposite as well. One of the down sides caused by the Web is the free flow of information even when that information is not wanted. The most common example of this is spoilers.Who has not experienced the annoying phenomenon of finding out the score of a sports game, the winner of a reality TV contest, or the conclusion of a TV series you wanted to watch yourself? This week, with the conclusion of LOST, there were hundreds of people in my online network alone, warning against spoilers. Tweetdeck now allows you to add any words, users, or hashtags to a filter and any tweet including that term or from that user will be hidden from you. This is a very useful feature for people who do not want Blips, Foursquare/GoWalla checkins, or spoilers to show up in their Twitter stream.
This week, I had all words pertaining to the American Idol finale filtered out of my wife’s Twitter stream (OK, who am I kidding? I filtered it out on my own too.) for example. I am seriously considering adding some other words to the filter such as “Get followers”, “Social media expert”, and some other annoying things people say on Twitter.
In conclusion, I was already a huge Tweetdeck fan, but between the support for all my social networks, the ability to add multiple Twitter accounts, the new scheduling mechanism, and the global filter, I really do not need any other tool, Tweetdeck now does it all. This actually leaves me wondering, what could possibly be next? Wahtever it will be, I am sure it will be great.
What Twitter application do you use? Would these new features make you consider Tweetdeck as your primary Twitter tool? Please let us know in the comments.