Friday, December 30, 2011

When Facebook Hands You Lemons ...

... HootSuite makes for pretty good lemonade (yes, that is an affiliate link -- I get a commission if you decide to go with their "pro" options, which may be the case if you're all about analytics and such, or use your social networks in a team setting; I'm using the free version and it does what I need it to do).

So, have you been caught in Facebook's "Timeline" hell yet? I got sucked into it myself. Don't like it much. Prettier in some ways than the last iteration of Facebook, but also more complicated and apparently it zapped my existing display/privacy settings in favor of some random hash. And while I've found some theoretical ways of backing out and getting back to "Old Facebook," they're complicated and I can't seem to find the stuff they tell me to look for.

That's what pushed me to take a second look at HootSuite. I registered there awhile back and it looked pretty cool, but I usually don't adopt multi-tool "dashboards" without some kind of compelling reason. My Facebook profile suddenly and irreversibly looking like MySpace on a bad day is a compelling reason.

HootSuite lets you put all your social media streams on one page (and in one browser tab), organized the way you like, with internal (and very arrangeable/configurable) tabbing to keep things straight. You can post to any or all of those streams, and even schedule posts in advance.

Right now I've got Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn plugged into the dashboard. Very nice. I haven't used LinkedIn much before; maybe I will now that it's sort of in my face a bit. Everything's neat, organized, accessible. I can tell what's on my damn Facebook wall, which is nice. The main network that's missing (from my perspective) is Diaspora. A little Googling tells me that they're working on that.

Anyway, give it a try. If you use social networks very much, this will probably make it easier. If nothing else, you're not running three or more apps or browser tabs to keep up with the various sites.

[Update: Ooh, I just noticed another cool thing in Hootsuite. I can turn any Facebook thread into its own stream/tab, so that I don't have to hunt for it when I want to catch up with it a little later. That's nice - TLK]

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