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You’re Not Still Using Twitter.com Are You?

If you’re tweeting pretty regularly (and why wouldn’t you be?), you shouldn’t be limiting yourself to using Twitter.com. It’s all fine and good in your first week as you’re figuring things out, but after that you should be using a social media dashboard.

These will help you track what’s going out and coming in, as well as allow you to schedule tweets, see when someone’s tweeted about you, etc. And with the dashboards, you’re not limited to just checking your Twitter feed. You can track all of your accounts –Facebook, Foursquare, LinkedIn, etc.

Most importantly, you won’t have to keep logging in and out of all your various accounts to see what’s happening – it’ll all be right there in front of you. All in one place on one screen.

Phew!

Here is a comparison of just some of the cool features from the two most popular free dashboards, HootSuite and Tweetdeck.

HootSuite is an online tool, so you don’t have to download anything, and it doesn’t take up valuable space on your already overworked hard drive. It has only 3 themes/looks – Blue Steel, Classic (gray, green and aqua) and Magnum (black), but its simplistic look and layout is what often wins over former Tweetdeck users.  The fact that you can use a separate tab for each of your networks makes it easy to keep on top of where your messages are coming from.

You can draft and save messages as well as schedule posts to go out at a later time and/or date. And if you use WordPress at all, you’re going to love this feature – schedule and post to your site or blog right from the HS dashboard!   Click on “Analytics” and find out whose clicked, from where and where they were referred from.

If you are working with a team of people, you can sign up for HootSuite’s Pro and Enterprise plans that allow for multiple contributors. No sharing passwords, follow-up with one another, track responses. It’s an all-in-one business solution for social media.

Tweetdeck is an application that you download to your computer. You can customize the dashboard colours to whatever you like, making it a lot more personalized  - and frankly, prettier – than Hootsuite. It has an awesome feature of clearing tweets once you’ve viewed them, cutting down on the visual clutter and you can watch YouTube without leaving the dashboard.

There is a short, soft trilling sound when tweets arrive, which will either delight or annoy the hell out of you, depending upon your tolerance level. Same goes for the pop up feature of each status update on your feed. Is that distracting or welcoming?  That’s up to you to decide.

There are pros and cons to each and when asked recently which one is better, my advice was to try both Hootsuite and Tweetdeck and see which one works with your own needs and preferences.

That’s the beautiful things about technology. There really is something for everyone.

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