For Android users, there are basically three apps to choose from when it comes to one-stop social networking: HootSuite, TweetDeck, and Seesmic. They're all great hubs for your social network updates, and they're all really good at shortening links, geotagging, and adding pictures to your posts. For the most part, the three of them do the basics very well, which makes it hard to decide which to use. So, we're taking a look at some of the nuances that set the three of them apart.
First up is HootSuite, which requires you to set up a HootSuite account before getting started. The Android app supports far fewer networks than its desktop sibling, but it still handles Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare nicely, which, for most users, should suffice.
Overall, HootSuite is a solid client for your Android. Its interface is a little drab, but otherwise, it's easy to use, and it does its job. Moving between different feeds is as simple as swiping left and right, and the built-in browser lets you view links without leaving the app.
What we love about HootSuite is its ability to schedule future posts and display statistics for your tweets. If you're a social media maven trying to boost your tweet-cred, these features are invaluable, and no doubt, give HootSuite a huge leg up on its competitors.
On the other hand, we hate that HootSuite offers no simple way to mention friends in posts. With no speed dial, auto-complete, or friend-finder on the Compose message page, HootSuite gives you no choice but to recall Twitter handles from memory. And let's face it, that's not always going to work. For some, this could be a deal-breaker.
Next, we have TweetDeck, which gives you power over your Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, and Google Buzz accounts. To get started, you can either authorize your social networks individually or sign in under an all-encompassing TweetDeck account, which would ensure all of your settings are preserved across devices.
TweetDeck takes a more integrated approach to social media, as it combines all of your news feeds into a single color-coded column of updates. Tweets are gray, Facebook posts are blue, and so on. There's also a Me column, which aggregates all of your mentions, comments, likes and more. And of course, you can create any number of your own columns to go along with these, which brings us to TweetDeck's most unique attribute--its flexibility.
TweetDeck lets you create and arrange columns however you like. This means you could potentially have ten columns, with different feeds from different accounts, all one swipe away from each other. While some people enjoy this kind of flexibility, we find it a bit disorienting. However, we do like that you can set different notifications for each column.
There are a few features that make TweetDeck just plain easier to use than HootSuite. For one, the built-in speed dial feature makes mentioning friends in posts a breeze. You can save up to 12 friends to speed dial or sift through the friend-finder for any not saved. Also, Deck.ly is built in, which lets you post tweets over 140 characters. And Finally, TweetDeck offers three different Home screen widgets, while HootSuite offers none.
Last on our list is Seesmic, which supports Twitter, Facebook, Google Buzz, and interestingly, Salesforce Chatter. It requires no registration, so getting started simply requires authorizing each of your accounts individually.
While Seesmic may not be quite as flexible as TweetDeck, we still prefer its interface overall. We would much rather select an account and navigate with icons atop the screen, than swipe back and forth between a mishmash of different columns.
Just as importantly, we think Seesmic brings the best mix of features to the table. It can autocomplete friends' names, and post extra long tweets using TwitLonger. Also, it's the only client with Facebook Pages support and video upload capabilities. And finally, it offers one pretty darn attractive Home screen widget. Seesmic may not be able to do everything that HootSuite and TweetDeck can do, but it sure comes close.
In the end, we thought Seesmic provided the best user experience. Reading updates was a pleasure thanks to its intuitive and attractive interface, and posting updates was a breeze thanks to its powerful features like Facebook Pages support and video uploads.
That said, your choice will really depend on your specific needs and personal taste. Do you need to schedule future posts or analyze the clicks that your tweets yield? Do you want to view all of your Twitter, Facebook, and Buzz updates in a single timeline? Do you even have a Salesforce Chatter account? Well, whatever your needs and tastes require, these three clients, individually or as a combination, should have you covered.