Twitter Multi-Account Mobile Management, Hootsuite for Android

hootsuite android

hootsuite android

It took me a while to get aboard the Hootsuite application. My interest towards this application really emerged once I was in a position of handling more Twitter accounts than one man can handle. I have tried a few among the most popular apps, but Hootsuite got the most of my attention because

  1. You have a master account
  2. It’s integrated to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Ping.fm (among others), and
  3. The application has an Android app.

The Android app costs $2.99. There’s a free version but it limits your experience to three Twitter accounts, which is nonsense in the context of using Hootsuite. Beware, this might be a temporary thing, but when I tried to log in the first time, I had to retry something like 15 times: It’s depressing, mostly since you pay for the app, but just keep logging again and it will come.

As I mentioned above, the first plus of Hootsuite for Android is that you only have to enter your master account logins, and all your Twitter profiles pop up instantly. Scroll up and down to browse all of your profiles. Each profiles (tabs) show streams (home feed-replies-DM-pending-…) that you can individually edit or remove.

You can add new Twitter to your master account from your Hootsuite mobile application. The application also lets you schedule any tweet you composed via your phone. This can be convenient when you open Twitter 30 minutes every 6 hours, but you don’t want to send all your tweets on the spot. With Hootsuite, you can spread them evenly if you want.

The sweet spot is around tabs and streams. Typically, each tab is a Twitter account, and their containing streams are the ones I mentioned above. You can add-edit-remove any stream you want. A stream can be a home feed, replies, DM, pending (scheduled tweets) stream of any of your own Twitter account. Streams can also be a Twitter search result, or a Twitter list. The interesting thing you can do is create a new tab entirely focused on all the DMs of all your Twitter account for example. Or one with various search results. Tabs are groups, and streams are the components of this group.

In the end, what you find on the phone is a reduced version of the Hootsuite’s Web app. The app is 75% stable, it often won’t show lists of following/followers, it will often display a force close message, it will sometimes take minutes before sending a message, the loading time is a bit slow… In other words, Hootsuite is not the best app to

tweet on the go, but it’s definitely the only and best app to manage all of your Twitter accounts on the go! For those of us who are used to tweet while waiting for the bus, Hootsuite is the best complement to your mobile microblogging.

I found a few features missing: Couldn’t find how to retweet as another user, couldn’t connect to my Facebook pages, couldn’t add a RSS feed to a user’s activity. There is a built-in Web browser that’s kind of fast, but it’s too simple to compete with your regular Web browser, and it doesn’t have enough tweeting integrated features. Also, Hootsuite’s most likely biggest issue is the screen’s real estate: Very often, not all of your Twitter accounts will be suggested for use because they can’t all fit in.

G1 Apps: Loquacious, Best Multiple Accounts Twitter App

loquacious

loquacious

On my quest for a seamless mobile Twitter experience, I stumbled upon Loquacious and started playing around with the free version. In less than 2 minutes, I was sold! Definitely the best alternative to interact with my Twitter streams.

Loquacious is a multi-account Twitter client for Android. I think Tweetie is the iPhone equivalent for this app. It has a very elegant interface, large font, easy sign-in, easy access to search and easy to tweet on the go.

Loquacious also has 3 killer features that makes it really different!

  1. Actions: Long press on an item opens a roll down menu that offers all the actions you need: reply, favorite, go to http, search #, d user or retweet this.
  2. Filters: Filter out all tweets that come from a specific source. For example, get rid of the junk and filter out all tweets coming from Twitterfeed and Tweetbots. That will clean up your stream and allow more interactions to happen. You can also filter out tweeps, a way to clean up the junk even more.

    loquacious sources

  3. Toggle Users: Have more than one Twitter account? Well you’ll finally be able to handle that on the go! Loquacious is the first Twitter app on Android to support multiple accounts. Pioneering is always respectable. It only takes two clicks to switch accounts!

loquacious multiaccount

I am really enthusiast about this app, but if you want a more balanced point of view, you should read this article by Matthew Stevens on the Android And Me blog. Also, for those interested in discovering more multiple account Twitter apps, read this.

Twitter Apps: Twitterfeed vs Tweetbots

tweetbots

When I edited the video How to auto-retweet entries on Twitter, I used Twitterfeed to post tweaked feeds back to Twitter. Unfortunately, I noticed a few days ago that the RSS-to-Twitter service stopped posting tweets on my various profiles. On my dashboard, Twitterfeed was warning me that my feed could not be parsed right. My take on it: Twitterfeed started to block Yahoo! Pipes feeds that seem to originate from Twitter. I see this as a way to keep their service clear of spam, and I understand.

Sidenote – it was funny to notice that for the exact period that my bots were down, the followers’ counter also dropped dead.

My riposte was to turn to Tweetbots. Here is the difference between the two services:

Twitterfeed

Twitterfeed is more geared towards content publishers. The service lets you connect as many feeds as you want to as many accounts as you want. The Website just went through a major design overhaul, and integrated Oauth in the process, something quite annoying if you ask me.

Twitterfeed dashboard feeds

The problem is that if you want to plug two feeds to the same Twitter stream, you need to create two feeds, an inconvenient detail that Tweetbots doesn’t have. In the screenshot above, to the apply 2 feeds to the account ‘xavierv’, I had to create to feed items (‘hyveup’ and ‘screencastpro’).

Twitterfeed dashboard feed details

Twitterfeed gets good when it comes to managing your outgoing feed. You can select to post to a Twitter, Laconica, Ping.fm or Hello txt account. You get to chose how many times the system should ping the RSS server, the number of items it should post for every updates (5 max), it lets you choose your url shortening service (including rev-share url-shorteners like Adjix), you can post a prefix or suffix to mark your feed in your Twitter stream, and apply a filter to the outgoing feed.

Overall, Twitterfeed is a great tool for bloggers looking to auto-update their status with their latest blog post, but as I mentioned above, it can’t handle multiple tasks on multiple accounts. This sets the limit for me.

Tweetbots

Tweetbots is great for online marketers looking to utilize Twitter to extend their communications efforts.

Tweetbots dashboard accounts

Tweetbots lets you easily post to multiple accounts, assign numerous tasks to numerous accounts, and turn on the auto-follow or auto-DM if needed.

Tweetbots dashboard jobs

As you can see, Tweetbots doesn’t use Oauth to identify your accounts (which makes it easier for Web-based multi-accounts management). And you can assign as many feeds as you want to one account.

What Tweetbots desperately misses is a post frequency feature. My feeds generate 5 to 10 items per minute, and Tweetbots posts it all on my accounts, which is way too invasive and unattractive. Tweetbots also doesn’t let you choose a url-shortening service, which would be a logical feature for such a marketing-oriented service.

What both services lack is an interface where users can manage feeds in one dashboard, accounts in another, and simply link feeds to accounts. This way, for example, I won’t have to manually open every account to post a new feed, but I could just link/unlink at my own will.

One last note: Twitterfeed’s Website is always a little slow for me, whereas Tweetbots runs like a charm.

Yahoo! Mail Secondary Email Addresses Rock!

Yahoo

Yahoo

My strategy to create an unlimited amount of accounts on social networks has always been to start from Yahoo! Mail because the service does not require a primary email address to sign you up. Gmail does. And Google Apps don’t seem to like multiple accounts that have the same primary email. However, this technique implied keeping a record of all accounts created on Yahoo, and on Google.

Recently, I came across the secondary email address feature from Yahoo! (maybe I am a little late on this, I can barely find fresh info on this feature). Basically, for 15 euros a year ($21), you pick a prefix for your secondary email address, and you get to create 500 different email addresses starting with this prefix.

Example:
prefix = other
address = yahoo.com
You can create = other-twitter@yahoo.com, other-digg@yahoo.com, other-amazon@yahoo.com…

The purpose of secondary addresses is to let users create a vast number of sub-communication channels with unknown entities (a new social network, a site’s newsletter…), and get the flexibility to block a channel if it starts to deliver spam. This is probably more efficient than a spam filter that sometimes gets it right, sometimes gets it wrong. I like this idea and I wish Google had a similar feature in its Lab.

Lately, I have been experiementing a bit with Twitter and the power of automating retweets. This experiment obviously requires opening several Twitter accounts and find an easy way to manage all the activity from one place. By coupling Topify with the power of secondary email addresses from Yahoo, I have no sweat managing multiple accounts from the same inbox. It’s almost what Seesmic Desktop or Tweetdeck provides, except that it’s in your email inbox (and it’s less complex).

Today, we are in a complete information overload age because we do not know how to control the sudden over-sharing of content via social networks. I found that the best way to control my online social life was to have a powerful email provider that lets me interact with a mutlitude of social platforms from the comfort of my email inbox.