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Reviews

iPhone Review: Tweetie 2

UPDATE: Tweetie has been bought by Twitter and replaced with Twitter For iPhone, which as of the current update is essentially the same. The main difference is that it is now completely free. Read my review here. Tweetie is no longer available on the app store. However, the review below remains valid simply because Twitter For iPhone is for all intents and purposes the exact same application.

I know, I know. I’ve come very late to the highly-regarded Tweetie, and that’s because I’ve also come very late to the iPhone, having owned a 3GS for just a little over one month.

Hence, I have no experience of the original Tweetie, which was released for the iPhone way back in November 2008, and therefore have not had the opportunity to become as passionate about the client as many others.

Please forgive me. I will try to make up for this oversight with enthusiasm and detail.

iPhone Review: Tweetie 2

Honestly? I give Buzz about a week
before it drops off the front page.

So, this is essentially a first look for me, which should provide some comfort that this is an open and honest review.

A Little History

Prior to getting Tweetie, I was using TweetDeck on my iPhone. The TweetDeck app is free, and because I was familiar with TweetDeck on my PC it seemed logical to install this first. Indeed, I was quite happy with this decision, as for the first three weeks of iPhone-related Twitter usage TweetDeck seemed to hit all of my buttons. It was fast, it was easy to use, and it basically just worked.

(I’ll be reviewing TweetDeck for the iPhone at a later date.)

But all the overwhelming positive mentions of Tweetie kept eating away at me. Could something this loved be anything less than excellent? All of a sudden I was very keen to find out.

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HootSuite Announces New Features, Including Klout Integration. Is This (Almost) The Perfect Twitter Client?

HootSuiteI’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.

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Review: Twitterville

Twitterville, by Shel Israel, is not only the first major Twitter book release to date, but it is also an important work that directly analyses how the rapid expansion of a network that is uniquely dominated by professionals and consumers has allowed the business world to tap into real-time conversations about their products and services, and react accordingly.

Book Review: Twitterville - How Businesses Can Thrive In The New Global Neighbourhoods (by @shelisrael)It’s not always good news, of course, and the near-immediacy of Twitter lends itself as an outstanding ‘damage control’ tool, with many organisations now utilising Twitter both as a way to monitor and track company support issues and complaints (via keyword searches on Twitter search) and as a means to quickly respond. Naturally, this is of major benefit to the consumer, too. After all, if you’re going to be appeased, you’d rather it happened right now, and for free.

(Thankfully, the days of spending hours and hours on expensive technical support hotlines to foreign countries may well be nearing an end.)

Following opening chapters explaining his own introduction to Twitter and a fairly in-depth (and interesting) piece about the creation of the company, Israel provides casebook examples of where big business (Dell, Jetblue, even Comcast) has utilised Twitter to radically improve their customer support, and reaped enormous benefits. Others (American Airlines, U-Haul), largely through ignorance, have been less fortunate.

This ‘conversation age’, and the ripple effect that an open public network like Twitter uniquely provides, means that (for the first time in our history) the user is actually in control. No longer do companies have the time and power to formulate creative press releases that bend potentially disastrous events in their favour. Somebody is always on the scene, and that person – through their mobile phone and a service like Twitter – can do a lot of damage.

And a lot of good. Israel writes about how the simple hashtag has revolutionised the way we approach a common cause (and fund-raise), and how intelligent use of social media has allowed small companies to raise brand awareness internationally. Big business, too, benefits from being seen to provide a more personal touch on a local level. The ‘ripple effect’ that a mechanism like the retweet provides means that you cannot just concern yourself about one guy and his fifty followers, because everybody they are following – and everybody they are following – can quickly be made aware of that really stupid thing that your company has done.

Further chapters look at how Twitter can work wonders on your personal branding, the impact (positive and negative) that social media is having on the newspaper industry, the darker side of microblogging, as well as a (brief) section covering basic Twitter tips and tricks.

The book is packed with anecdotes, many of which come via re-submissions of actual tweets, plus the tags of the tweeter. This is incredibly refreshing. Even today people are incredibly cagey about sharing their email addresses publically, but we’re encouraged to do this with a service like Twitter. If you like what somebody has said in Twitterville, you can hook up with them in just a few moments. How cool is that?

My only real criticism is that Twittercism doesn’t get a mention. Maybe in the follow-up? Despite that oversight, this is a superb read for business leaders, large and small, and is interesting and relevant enough to be appealing to anybody with more than a casual interest in Twitter and social media. It is a huge part of everybody’s future, after all.

Twitterville, by @shelisrael, is published by Portfolio and available now. (Buy: Amazon USA | Amazon UK)

(Disclaimer: I was fortunate enough to be sent a preview copy of the manuscript for Twitterville and an advance copy of the book. This had no bearing on my opinion and my review is an honest and unbiased account.)

Seesmic's Web-Based App Offers Hope For Deskbound Twitter Junkies

SeesmicThere was an interesting article on the Digg blog last week where Mark Trammell, who is the ‘User Experience Architect’ at the popular social bookmarking site, writes about the problem of Internet Explorer 6 – namely that despite being eight years old, and superseded by two entirely new versions, it accounts for 10 per cent of all Digg users. Anyone with experience in web design and blogging templates will know what a colossal pain in the rear IE6 compatibility can be.

To reduce this strain on the Digg programming team, Trammell had considered blocking IE6 users entirely, particularly as they only make up about 1 per cent of actual interactivity on the site (diggs, comments etc). This seemed drastic, however, and lead Trammell and his team to ponder exactly why these visitors continue to use IE6.

So he asked them. The results are likely pretty obvious to anybody who has worked in any kind of government business (or other firms/institutions that are slow to adopt new technologies) – while only 56 per cent of those polled claimed to use IE6 at home, a whopping 90 per cent said they used it at work. When pressed as to why, only 7 per cent said it was because they preferred IE6 over other browser options – meantime, 37 per cent said they couldn’t upgrade on their work PC as they didn’t have administrator privileges, while 32 per cent couldn’t upgrade because they’d been told not to.

Regular readers will know I’m a big fan of Seesmic Desktop – I use it almost exclusively, with the exception of Dabr when I’m on the road. Seesmic does loads of things really, really well, and I was pretty excited when they announced their new web-based version of the app on Friday.

Seesmic Web

Check it out here – you log on using your Twitter details via OAuth. I’ve had a good play around with it. I like it. It’s perfect for work use. Sure, this isn’t much beyond an alpha-level release right now, and the functionality is fairly minimal (certainly compared to the downloadable Seesmic client) but this is typical of the way Seesmic and especially founder Loïc Le Meur operates – he’ll push a product onto the market fairly early on and then shape it to the desires of the user base. And as a concept it works really, really well.

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