The perfect Twitter client

HootSuite Twitter management app

Neville Hobson has an interesting post on the latest iteration of TweetDeck. Like Neville I was an original TweetDeck fan, in fact we were probably both amongst the first to use it after Ian Dodsworth launched it.

When Twitter acquired TweetDeck and re-launched it I continued to use the original Adobe Air version for a while. However, that could not continue as I do a lot of training PR and corporate communications professionals on how they should integrate social media into their communications strategy and how to use it effectively on day-to-day basis. For the training I just could not justify recommending a tool that did not exist any more.

The problem was – and still is – that there is no alternative. The original TweetDeck remains the best social media management client I’ve used. I’m currently using HootSuite and have also used MetroTwit (which is now the app that Neville now uses), however neither are quite right.

The features I’d want in my ‘perfect’ Twitter program are:

  • Cross platform – I’m PC based, but ideally for my PR training I need an app that Mac users can also use. In business and government (where I do most of my training) Macs are a distinct minority, but one that I’d like to provide for.
  • Multiple network – Not just Twitter, but also Facebook, LinkedIn and eventually Google+ when Google sorts out the API. Other networks such as FourSquare, Tumblr etc are nice, but less important.
  • Multiple accounts – This is the obvious place to put the freemium model to work. Two of each type of account for free and a subscription model to pay for extra accounts.
  • Resizable columns – Column and font size are both very much personal preference and mine is for small and narrow to fit the maximum possible on the screen without needing to scroll.
  • Maximum use of landscape – To see as many columns as possible I prefer control icons to be at the top/bottom of the window.
  • Bity link shortening – I use my sbpr.co vanity URL for link shortening and need to be able to continue using this automatically. With Hootsuite I have to manually shorten links using a Chrome extension rather than relying on the Owly shortening service. A bonus, but not essential would be integrating the Bitly stats into the program.
  • Translation – This was one of the fantastic features of the old TweetDeck. I don’t want to tweet in other languages, but I do follow a lot of people who tweet in their own language and English. A ‘rough and ready’ translation is enough for me to stay connected.
  • Scheduling – Either manually or through integration with a service like Buffer.
  • List management – Seeing how many are on a list, de-duping (making it easier to sort contacts onto different lists) etc.
  • Columns – Options to include tweets I’ve sent, retweets, mentions, favourites, DMs in/out, recent follows, recent unfollows etc
  • Conversation threads – see all the @replies and option to see retweets.
  • Filters – Filtering options on columns like the old TweetDeck.
  • Preview – Quick preview of profiles and links, videos, photos etc.
  • Photo uploading – I’m fairly relaxed about which service, but some people aren’t so probably best to offer options.
  • Reweet and reply options – Settings to choose old style/new style, include hashtags, reply all etc
  • Profiles – Display follower numbers under avatar and potentially ‘influence’ scores (I know all the caveats and my preference would be for Kred and PeerIndex not Klout). Also show if it is a protected and/or verified account. Show if you are following an account and if they are following you and from which of the accounts you’ve got set up. Plus being able to see timeline and @mentions

Quite possible I’ve missed something that I think is essential off this list.

What else do you think is essential?

What client/app/program is the best and which do you think comes closest to providing my list of essential features?

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Stuart Bruce

International Public Relations Adviser | Trainer | Author | Media Commentator | Conference Speaker | University Lecturer | Online PR | Digital Corporate Communications | Crisis Communications | Digital Public Affairs