TweetDeck, perhaps the most popular "dashboard" app for putting all your social media accounts in one place, is shutting down. Bought by Twitter in 2011, TweetDeck allowed you to read and post to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn all in one app. Twitter will discontinue the app's mobile and desktop versions, removing them from app stores in early May. Shortly thereafter, TweetDeck AIR, TweetDeck for Android and TweetDeck for iPhone will stop working altogether.
So what's a social-media addict to do?
Fortunately, TweetDeck is far from the only way to pull together your social media personas. There are many alternatives, and these three are our favorites:
- It's an app, so you don't need to interrupt what you're doing online to go to a website. (Although you can also use it as a browser page in either Firefox or Chrome.)
- In addition to Mac and Windows, is compatible with Linux.
- It supports multiple accounts, so you can track, say, your personal feed and your company feed.
- On your desktop, you can view a single column with alerts from various social networks or expand to multiple columns showing updates, news feeds or direct messages as applicable.
- The iPhone app is killer, easily the best free tracker for social media.
- The desktop app can be clunky, and it freezes often.
- Videos open up a giant window on an Internet browser instead of popping up in a small window like they did in Tweetdeck.
- Mysteriously, sometimes you have to manually refresh the feeds.
- No scheduling options for updates.
- Mobile version is iPhone-only. Sorry, Android.
- As a Web-based application, HootSuite is easy for different people to use on multiple computers, and it works on any operating system.
- You can manage and post to a wide array networks, including Instagram, WordPress, MailChimp and many more.
- With HootSuite, you can schedule updates. There is even an "optimize" feature that supposedly sends out your tweet or other post at the best time for optimal exposure.
- It has apps for the iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry.
- The toolbar feature in the browser version allows you to easily share Web content.
- It's not pretty. The tabbed interface maxes out at the width of your screen, making it impossible to monitor multiple streams at a glance.
- The integration is not so smooth on sites other than Twitter. For instance, you can't comment or like in LinkedIn.
- A preformatted dashboard makes monitoring social media very simple.
- It also allows you to monitor everything from Gmail to Picasa to newsreader feeds. [See also: Best Google Reader Replacement ]
- The Internet-only interface means there are no compatibility issues.
- It's difficult to set up any functions not in the app's ready-made menu, such as keeping track of your own Instagram stream.
- Netvibes is not terribly attractive.
Bonus honorable mentions for Twitter only
If you really just want to stay on top of Twitter, you should check out one of these Twitter-only services.
This Web tool can help you raise your Klout score (a measure of how "influential" you are on social media) by telling you who is following what.
The Web app color coordinates your conversations to easily group them into categories.
This desktop app stays up-to-the-second on Twitter @ mentions and direct mentions, but offers zero analysis.
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