Social Networking is the wave of now. You have Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, FriendConnect and Floss.pro to name but a few. They have become an important business tool, from connecting to your clients or as an increasingly important marketing tool. It only stands to reason that software developers out there will be making applications to use these networking tools. I will be looking at four of them.
The four I selected are: Hootsuite, TweetDeck, Yoono and Seesmic. All four are capable of running directly from your desktop, two of them (TweetDeck and Seesmic) use AdobeAir to accomplish this. Hootsuite runs as a Mozilla Prism application and Yoono has an application that runs on its own.
Two of the featured applications are available for the iPhone – HootSuite and TweetDeck (TweetDeck is available for the iPad as well)
Three of the featured applications are available for the Android – HootSuite, Seesmic and Yoono.
Only one offers support for the BlackBerry, and that is Seesmic.
Two of them feature Firefox Browser Addons – Hootsuite and Yoono.
How do they compare?
If you are running Windows or Mac, you should not have any problems installing any of these applications. TweetDeck and Seesmic are installed and run with AdobeAir. On Linux 32bit you should not have problems either, but should you run Linux 64 Bit you are going to have to install AdobeAir manually. Otherwise these two simply will not work. Yoono and Hootsuite on the other hand are easy to install on Windows and Linux alike.
Hootsuite is installable with a wide variety of applications, from Mozilla Prism, to Fluid for MacOS or even running on Chrome. It is not really a desktop application then, but more an “appified” website. This morning my Hootsuite App I created with prism broke, and I needed to re-create it.
All four of them run well.
Below is the skinny on each app, with a Q rating appended.
Hootsuite has a “Hootlet” addon that allows you to Tweet any given URL that you are browsing. It shortens the URL to an ow.ly shortened fomat. The unique feature that Hootsuite offers with this URL shortening service is that you can track clicks through these URLs in your Hootsuite dashboard.
The Hootsuite dashboard is a multi column layout with tabs along the top to view your different accounts.
If you sign up for a Hootsuite account your tabs and accounts that you registered with Hootsuite will be reloaded even if you wipe and re-install.
Hootsuite also recently added a new feature. You can now collaborate on a social media account by inviting “Team Members” to a specific account. All team members need Hootsuite accounts of course. This makes Hootsuite an awesome business marketing app – Collaboration AND click stats. Very Nice.
Hootsuite supports 7 social networks:
- Facebook (And Facebook Page administration)
- WordPress.com blog admin (Listed as BETA)
- MySpace (BETA)
- Foursquare (BETA)
Q Rating 4/5 – I would like a sidebar similar to what Yoono has. Great for business users though. Desktop app is basically a browser app that runs on its own, the wide range of platforms it supports saves it though.
Yoono has a browser addon as well. It sits on the left of your browser in it’s own bar. You can expand it to view updates, or minimize it where it will show only how many updates you have. It is really handy for people spending their lives on the internet. The Yoono desktop application is very nice. It is basically a desktop clone of its sidebar. You can add columns for your various accounts.
Yoono also supports a wider range of Social Networking services than Hootsuite. Ten, to be exact.
- Live Messenger
- Yahoo! Messenger
- Google Talk
One gripe I have with the desktop app for Yoono is that you cannot fullscreen it. You have to click and drag, and then you still cannot resise it to fill your whole desktop. (The Screenshot below has been cropped.) You can add images from the app when you update your tweets.
Q Rating 3/5. For the desktop app there is a better option in TweetDeck, but the browser addon is hard to beat. (More on the browser addon later.) Wide selection of Social Networks that it supports, the best selection in this company. It misses out on 4/5 because of the finicky resizing that irritated me. If you have an Android device this is the app to have.
TweetDeck is hailed as THE desktop twitter App. It requires Adobe Air to run, and certainly looks feature filled. TweetDeck supports uploading pictures to one of several Twitter Photo services straight from the application, and you can translate tweets, shorten URLs and shorten your tweets on the fly.
It only supports four social networking services though.
It’s iPhone app is rated as one of the best around and if you are not using your twitter account for anything serious like business tweeting this is the app to use.
It is a little light on social network support, but makes up for that with overall polish.
Q Rating 4/5 – If you are someone who uses an iPhone this is the perfect desktop app to compliment Tweeting from your phone.
Seesmic is a direct competitor with TweetDeck. It does not have an iPhone app though, but has support for Android and BlackBerry. It also runs on AdobeAir, and is a very nice Twitter app. It also arranges your different accounts by columns like the others here, but you need to scroll from left to right to view them if you have a lot open. You can quickly view different areas like Replies, Sent or Private Messages by clicking on the corresponding tab on the left of the application.
Seesmic supports 3 Social Networks as far as I can tell.
- Facebook (and facebook page admin)
- Ping.FM (According to their website added recently, but I could not find support for it in the app.)
With it being light on social network support it falls behind the others here. Similar to TweetDeck and Yoono you can add pictures directly from the application.
Q Rating 3/5 – It cannot compete with TweetDeck or Yoono for lack of social networks. It does not have an iPhone app, but it’s support for BlackBerry targets a specific market.
In the beginning of this post I asked “how do they compare?” The answer is, they don’t. Each of these applications is targeted at a different user. If you MUST compare these applications you will need to place HootSuite in a special category. HootSuite is not a true application, as it is always web based. It is also more business focused than the others with it’s click statistics and collaboration tools that the others do not feature.
Yoono is a browser addon first, and a Desktop App second. The browser app is brilliant, and I would recommend it to anyone. It does not directly compare with TweetDeck and Seesmic here, but if the browser application is taken into account it is better than those two.
TweetDeck sorely lacks an Android App. It is also light on social network support, but it benefits from being focused at a specific market and is really polished and complete.
Seesmic falls a bit short on social network support, It lacks an iPhone app, but its support for Android and crucially, the BlackBerry, bodes well for the future.
Since I don’t own an iPhone, BlackBerry or Android device I have no need to sync my twitter accounts over multiple devices, but for those who do the decision will boil down to that. On the desktop there is very little to choose between them, and choosing a winner is almost impossible.
The individual ratings are as they stand then.
But wait! There’s more.
Yoono Browser Addon.
I have to say a special word about the Yoono browser addon for FireFox. It. Is. Awesome. It comes with all the social network support that comes with the desktop app. You can view youtube videos and tweeted images by simply hovering over them. Keeping track of your facebook contacts and their updates is a joy, and tweeting from multiple social network accounts at the same time is a joy. You can add pictures to be tweeted straight from the sidebar as well.
If you want the perfect social network application this is it. For anyone who spends a lot of time in their browser this is the ultimate social network app.
Yoono, as a browser addon scores a Q Rating of 5/5. It is an awesome tool for anyone who wants to be where the action is as far as their multiple social networks go. Really, you don’t need anything else. It is also a SaGeek Recommended Product.
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