I love Twitter. But I must admit I find their site a bit cumbersome to use. For starters, I don’t like that I don’t get to see retweets and favorites. (If this confuses you, see my Twitter Basics for Writers series, linked in the sidebar.)

For another thing, if I want to keep updated on a particular conversation or set of people, there’s a lot of navigation to go through to get to there. And then when I’m there, I miss my full timeline.

Direct messages are not user-friendly on Twitter’s website.

For a long time, I used the twitter app on my tablet but then it updated and there were some awful changes to the UI and I couldn’t stand to use it. It was then that I switched to Hootsuite and I really haven’t looked back. I love Hootsuite for my phone (now I’ve upgraded to a smart phone) and my tablet.

But for my computer, I still use Tweetdeck. I have for ages now and I don’t particularly like Hootsuite’s desktop/laptop UI.

First, let’s talk Tweetdeck.

I like that Tweetdeck is customizable as far as choosing columns. You can choose various columns, including specific lists you create, and you can choose how you’re notified of new tweets in that column. You can customize what is shown in that column and you can mute people or content.

I like the interface on Tweetdeck. It’s clean and easy to navigate. Simple keyboard commands minimize the amount of mouse work necessary to it.

Now, Hootsuite is nice because it allows you to add various social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc) and view updates from those in a single dash. I like that compared to Twitter’s website, new updates (if you’re using it on a laptop or desktop) show up automatically and you can set the refresh rate yourself.

That said, I don’t like it because it’s in a browser window. Tweetdeck on my laptop is a separate application that runs independently of my browser. Which means I am never at risk of accidentally closing it when I don’t intend to.

Tweetdeck has another distinct advantage over Hootsuite, in my opinion. That is the column for mentions and other interactions people might have with something you post on Twitter. In Tweetdeck, the column is labeled “Interactions.” In this column, any time someone mentions you in a tweet, favorites one of your tweets, or retweets one of your tweets, it shows up. All three interactions in one single column. In Hootsuite, you can set up a column for mentions and a column for tweets of yours that have been retweeted. But nothing to show you when one of your tweets has been favorited by someone else.

And that is one thing which makes Tweetdeck feel far less cluttered than Hootsuite.

However, I do like Hootsuite’s clean interface on both tablet and smart phone. Though I haven’t tried Tweetdeck for mobile devices so perhaps I would like it better if I did.

Do you have a preference?

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