If you are using Twitter on a regular or heavy basis the odds are that you have moved away from the basic web-based gateway and using a third party client. The main three that spring to mind are Tweetdeck, Seesmic and HootSuite.
The beauty of using one of these three is that you can tweak them to show you what you want in a series of columns, keep track of tweets, mentions, direct mails, schedule tweets and a whole stack more. As a medium weight tweeter who uses the medium primarily to promote this web site a powerful and flexible tool makes life so much easier. It is particularly important in the social web context where I want to keep track of people and retweet information from them that I think is relevant to people who follow me. As such reliability is key which is why I have suffered some disappointment with HootSuite.
I love HootSuite. Maybe I wouldn’t want it to have my children but for some time I have been blown away by its ease of use, functionality, features and it just suits the way I work. There is one fairly serious fatal flaw – it misses tweets from people I am following that Tweetdeck and Seesmic pick up. Check the following images and time lines. HootSuite misses two tweets from one of my friends Cyberdoyle which are picked up by Tweetdeck. HootSuite doesn’t have anything personal against people, as it picks them up further down the stream. Weird!
In recent weeks when I have had the time I have been running the three Twitter clients alongside each other and HootSuite definitely misses tweets. I did raise it through a ticket with the company’s support team but whoever it was that dealt with it thought that it was limited to mentions rather than the main stream and I don’t have that much time to carry on a long and resource consuming discourse with a company when one of its rivals appears to do the job better and more reliably.
I am not the only person to notice it. My friend Robert in South Africa has reverted back to Tweetdeck for the very same reason.
I feel guilty about complaining. After all the core service is free and my usage doesn’t warrant upgrading to HootSuite Pro. I don’t think it is the way that I have HootSuite set up as both Tweetdeck and Seesmic pick up the complete stream. I like HootSuite so much that I would dearly love to spend a whole day monitoring twitter on all three services and report back with complete timelines and tweets that have gone AWOL, but that is unrealistic.
What galls me is that with all the value added services that the pro version offers I cannot, hand on heart, recommend HootSuite to companies that ask my advice and opinion.
What are your experiences of the three services and have you noticed any inconsistencies?