For brand new Tweeps

Apr 14, 2010

Having just come back from the Nonprofit Technology Conference I’m on a mission to get the staff at my nonprofit tweeting. We’re doing great things but we’re not talking about it and we need to be.

But like most others who are passionate about social media I know that many have a lot of push back on getting involved. The tools are too hard to understand or use, it’s confusing, and it’s overwhelming. So in preparation for my Monday “come to Jesus” meeting here’s a list of apps I’ve looked at to toss out to my coworkers. Which ones do you use and like best for the brand newbie?

HootSuite Lite for Twitter

I love my paid version of Hootsuite but I can’t expect my coworkers to pay for an app to do something they aren’t even sure they want to do. Plus the primary function of the full app is the ability to manage multiple accounts. At least some of these folks will certainly stop at just one account so the lite version will work just fine.

The great part about Hootsuite is that it’s visually mellow. It doesn’t have a lot of flashy colors or red and yellow, things that make most people already overwhelmed by twitter to freak out a bit when they look at the screen. Moreover the tool is very intuitive and while the free version has adds they aren’t terribly flashy or obnoxious.

This will be my main recommendation for everyone at the org especially as it allows us to schedule tweets, something that can be indispensible for groups. And of course with the new features Hootsuite is really setting themselves apart for the ability to really work with others in the twitterverse.


TweetDeck for iPhone

This was the first app I got for managing twitter but I’ll admit that I find it a bit visually overwhelming. I suspect my coworkers will as well. Bright colors draw your attention to things you need to do, but if you don’t sign in regularly it can be very overwhelming to look at.

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That said, if you like the visual look this is a great tool. It doesn’t allow for scheduling tweets which is of course where hootsuite really shines, but it is very good at showing different screens (the fact that you have them… and yes, I suspect my coworkers will forget that),


Echofon for Twitter

There is one primary reason I will not recommend this app to my coworkers. The first couple of times I opened it I was asked if I wanted to enable push notifications. Now that might not seem bad and most of us know what that means but I’m guessing at least one of my coworkers will say yes to this and then get mad when the app bothers them. Anything that has the possibility of annoying someone new to the medium is out!

All that said the app is pretty good and short of that failure I generally like it. Good for folks familiar with their phone and shows saved searches too. If you’ve made a lot of saved searches in twitter this is probably the tool for you. Like the tool below you don’t know what you’re in when you’re in this app. Strange.


TwitBird free for Twitter

This app is weird. Yes weird. It’s weird because when I got into it to check it out I couldn’t figure out what app I was looking at while in it. Nowhere that I could find easily did it tell me what tool I was in.
This might not seem like a huge deal but when someone is getting to learn a tool you want them to be reminded of what they’re using so they can find it again from memory. Plus it’s just weird. OK interface but has nothing on the tools above.

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This app chirps at me. That is annoying. Beyond that there’s not nearly enough words for this to be a beginning app users choice. Pictures are great but it means you have to learn what a picture means. Words work better for learning unless the pictures are extremely intuitive, and for a newbie, these pictures certainly are not that.

Did I mention it chirps at me? Seriously?!


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