Dennis Edell had been calling out to see if any bloggers were writing or have written a direct comparison between Hootsuite and Tweetdeck which are two very popular twitter clients.  I have decided to answer the call by posting a detailed point by point list on the advantages and disadvantages the two clients have over each other.  Keep in mind that Tweetdeck is an Adobe Air application that installs on your desktop while Hootsuite is a completely web based application that doesn’t need to install so this leads to some difference from how the applications work.

So without further chatter, I present to you the pros and cons of both Hootsuite and Tweetdeck and you can decide which works best for your needs.


TweetDeck Advantages:


  • Can clear columns so you only see new tweets as they arrive (particularly useful for seeing new mentions and DM’s come in or list updates)
  • Faster update refresh and overall responsiveness (any thick client will generally perform faster than a web based client)
  • Easier to use (HootSuite can have so many tabs, columns and options that it can be daunting to casual users).
  • Autoshorten URL as you type is easier than having to cut and paste URL into Hootsuite URL compress bar separately.
  • Supports both types of Twitter Retweets (original with the RT @Username, and the newer RT which does Twitter official retweet

TweetDeck Disadvantages:


  • Application that installs on your PC and then requires upgrades and downloads (2x since many times you have to upgrade Adobe Air, and Tweetdeck separately)
  • Profile and columns are only on the PC you installed it on, if you work from multiple computers you have to customize completely different TweetDeck installs
  • Integrates with Twitter, FaceBook and LinkedIn, but not Ping.FM like HootSuite which connects to 40+ Social Networks and is much better than doing direct integrations for each social media client.
  • Bit.ly is the default URL compression (Bit.ly is great, but I recently learned that if you try to tweet a URL encrypted by Bit.ly like Ow.ly, Is.gd, then Bit.ly gives you a potential malicious site error).  I still like bit.ly for better click tracking and easier way to get analytics, but this is something to watch out for if you use other url compression services and people retweet your stuff from Tweetdeck.
  • Does not support Ow.ly as a URL compression as a selectable option
  • When using multiple twitter accounts it keeps the last account you use selected (this is good, but also bad as I have tweeted things numerously from account other than the account I wanted to as a result).  Hootsuite will require you to select account(s) for each tweet instead of defaulting to the last one used or specific one.  (Except for Retweets which automatically retweets as the account the original tweet was sent to).
  • You can add columns, lists from any twitter account but they are all in one static line and sliding them left or right requires many clicks if you have 10-12 columns
  • Tweetdeck allows you to schedule tweets but you can’t manually type in the date/time and its slower and more cumbersome than HootSuite to schedule tweets.

Hootsuite Advantages:


  • Manage multiple twitter profiles
  • Integrates with Ping.FM which broadcasts your tweet to 40+ social networks.
  • Does not default to one profile when you tweet (can be a con too)
  • Allows you to schedule tweets to post at later dates times.  This allows you to set tweets that post in the future / set it and forget it.  Each scheduled tweet must be set manually though.
  • Has Ow.Ly URL shrink inside app and provides Tweet analytics like click tracking right from within application.  Tweetdeck does not have its own URL compression and can’t show Bit.ly stats from within application.
  • Has columns + tabs to sort twitter account columns and lists.  This allows you to put accounts all on one tab or separate tab and is very flexible.
  • Moving columns around is drag and drop, simple and easy.
  • Web based application means you can sign in from anywhere and see same setup.
  • Ability to designate other email accounts to manage your social media profiles.  This allows for companies to have multiple people use service and manage the same social media profiles.  Tweetdeck has nothing like this.

HootSuite Disadvantages:


  • Can’t clear columns so you don’t have to see tweets you have already read and seen.
  • Can’t do searches as easily as Tweetdeck which instantly builds column on new search.
  • Posting tweets slower that Tweetdeck because you have to click a profile and preshrink your URL instead of autoshrink and default profile selection of Tweetdeck.
  • So many options, tabs and settings it can be cumbersome to some casual twitter users (note this is a plus too)
  • Doesn’t auto sync avatar profile picture changes, you have to resync manually when you change your profile pic.
  • Doesn’t support the newer official Twitter retweet, only the old style that prepends tweets with RT @user.
  • Can’t select reply to multiple people and build a tweet that includes all people you click reply to.  Like reply @user1 @user2.  Tweetdeck if you hit reply on an tweet it will keep adding other users when you click reply for more than one user.
  • Doesn’t show the difference between a retweet that was sent new Twitter style, you can’t tell which were retweets done by newer retweet or if they were even retweets.
  • Doesn’t show number of twitter followers inside each tweet next to avatar pic.  I like that Tweetdeck has option to show how many followers a user has in every tweet.

Summary:

As you can see they both clearly have their strengths and a few features that the other service lacks, this is why I wind up using both programs every single day when managing my Twitter profiles.  I can’t just use HootSuite or Tweetdeck because neither has 100% of the features that I need, but combined they make my Twitter management a whole lot easier.  If HootSuite could clear columns and support both styles of Retweet, then I probably would not need to use Tweetdeck anymore.

Secondly, though not mentioned here, there is a Twitter tool called “Twaitter” which allows you to set recurring tweets that can kick off daily, weekly, monthly…etc.  This tool is the 3rd tool that I use since neither Twitter nor Tweetdeck support “recurring tweets” to be created, Hootsuite is still very manual to create and manually schedule tweets for the future as pending tweets.  Both HootSuite and Tweetdeck allow you to track Twitter conversations which makes it easy to follow a reply chain with other users.  I had also done a video demonstration on how to use Tweetdeck previously that you could check out.

If I missed any features that you particularly like and one program has over the other, please let me know and I will update my list.  Also, share with me your favorite Twitter management program and what features it has or lacks.  If you write your own review of any Twitter management program and compare it to Hootsuite or Tweetdeck I will give you a link back from this post.

-Dragon Blogger

Update: Here are some bloggers who shared their own opinion on which Twitter client they liked best.

The Vaan Clan still prefers Tweetdeck, read their article about why.

TheCDNBoy clearly mentions his preference for Hootsuite and makes some good points.

John Hewitt gives his own excellent pros and cons of HootSuite and Tweetdeck and why he prefers Hootsuite even though the most annoying peeve is not being able to easily include multiple people in the same reply.

Justin Germino
Working in the IT Industry for over 17 years starting with OS, Networking and then moving into web based technologies including authentication and online security. Dragon Blogger has unique insights and opinions to how the internet and web technology works. An Avid movie fan, video game fan and fan of trying anything and everything new.
Justin Germino

@dragonblogger

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