In the past 2 weeks I’ve had two major Twitter events happen in my life (OK so maybe “major” is overstating it). A few people have noticed and asked me to tell them more about it, so I decided to share it all here.
The first thing is that I’ve switched from TweetDeck to HootSuite as my Twitter management tool. When TweetDeck released its upgrade, I upgraded along with everyone else, and TweetDeck promptly deleted all the columns I’d set up. (It’s probably because I never registered with them, although they never said it was a requirement.) Given that I have over 4,000 people in my tweet stream, this was no minor thing. I had spent a LOT of time setting these up, assigning people to columns, and the fact that they were gone was rather upsetting. I spent time resetting all of them, and then the next time I opened TweetDeck the same thing happened. That did it for me. It was time to move on.
So I had heard good things about HootSuite, and decided to try it out. The first major difference is that I didn’t need to download anything. HootSuite runs right in the browser. This is good. The other thing I like is that now I get more columns. TweetDeck only gives you 10 columns, so I was limited in the number of terms I could search on, the number of ways to group my friends, etc. HootSuite gets around this issue with tabs. Each tab permits you to add 10 columns. So recently when I attended a conference, I set up a tab specifically for the conference, and added columns just for the conference hashtag, mentions of the brand I was representing, particular categories of folks attending the conference, etc. During the conference, that made it easy to track what was going on.
The other thing that’s great about HootSuite is that you can use more than 1 Twitter ID at a time. I had long had a second Twitter ID, @JenFongSpeaks, but I had never done much with it because I had built a large following on @liajen, and tracking @JenFongSpeaks involved logging out and logging back in to check the other account. With HootSuite, I suddenly could see responses and tweet from both accounts at the same time! And that led to my second major Twitter event.
Now that I could actually use @JenFongSpeaks without a lot of additional effort, I decided to switch to it. After all, since I’ve switched to my own domain at http://jenfongspeaks.com for this blog, it made sense to use @JenFongSpeaks for more consistent branding. The @liajen ID was set up long before I began doing the social media consulting I do now, and was a part of the branding of a former company. So I am transitioning over to @JenFongSpeaks, and if you’d like to continue to follow my tweets, I encourage you to follow me there by clicking here: http://twitter.com/JenFongSpeaks. (And yes I know I could have just switched IDs, but @JenFongSpeaks was already set up, so I couldn’t switch it like that.)
The cool thing about starting over is how liberating it is. When I first started using Twitter, I was just figuring it out. I followed everyone that followed me, and wound up with thousands of people I didn’t know at all talking about things that didn’t matter to me. Now I’m being a lot more intentional about who I follow, with the result that my Twitter experience has become a lot more meaningful. Most of the conversation that goes by now is relevant, and the people talking are people I know and care about.
So what have I learned as a result of this experience? First, HootSuite is cool. I haven’t figured it all out yet (and it doesn’t have ALL the TweetDeck features I’ve enjoyed), but so far I like it a lot. Second, there is value in intentionally following people on Twitter. While it’s great to connect with a lot of people, and you can use columns to manage those conversations, when you start using mobile devices for Twitter, you can miss out on a lot when your tweet stream is filled with junk (since now you don’t have your columns.) So make a plan about who you want to follow, carefully evaluate those who follow you, and select folks who will bring value to your Twitter experience.
That’s my take on all of this. What’s yours? (Don’t click away yet! Make a comment. I really like to hear what you think. Let’s have a conversation!)