Tag Archives: social media

Social Media Management Tools

In January I completed the Hootsuite Certification course to become a “Hootsuite Certified Professional“, it was quite interesting and, since I was taking on the job of doing all the social media posts for Mr Droogle, I decided it would certainly come in handy.

Hootsuite is a pretty cool tool for anyone using social media on a professional basis – it allows you to post to all of your connected social media accounts from one place, it also allows bulk upload of posts, scheduling, and analytics – so it covers basically everything you need for business social media use. The basic free account allows you to connect 3 social media accounts but to get the full use out of it you really need to have a paid account. There are quite a few advantages to having a paid account but I ended up downgrading after the free trial – purely because I can’t really justify the additional costs.

Regardless, I’ve been using Hootsuite for a while now and I don’t think I could do without it – scheduling is an absolute life-saver! However, I have found that I prefer the Google+ and LinkedIn integration on Buffer (another social media management tool) – purely because it seems easier to control whether you want link content or image content to appear as the feature on your post (something I need to be able to do with some of the Mr Droogle posts).

While they’re often hugely helpful at cutting down amount of time spend on posts one major drawback among all social media management tools is that their tools are limited by the social site’s API limitations – e.g. images uploaded by hootsuite don’t use the Twitter image upload feature so when someone is viewing your profile any image you’ve added via hootsuite won’t show in the “Images” section of your profile (N.B. Hootsuite have recently announced that paid accounts would get native Twitter image functionality). I usually try to post twitter images natively if I have time.

This is also particularly apparent when trying to tag users/profiles in posts – while you can do this on Twitter posts with great ease, it does not work on Google+ because their API is pretty much non-existent (another fine example of Google cutting corners on their “next big thing”). This feature has never worked on Google+. Despite this, I see people (obviously posting from a social media management tool) trying to tag users in their scheduled posts and literally all they end up with is plain text with +[brand username] – where [brand username] is sometimes different to how you’d ususally refer to the brand in plain text. This really irks me for some reason – it doesn’t end up linking, the user won’t get any notification, it won’t have the same SEO value, it’s not really any use to people viewing your post, and it just looks silly in my opinion.

The moral of the story is that yes, social media management tools are amazing, but you need to exercise caution when trying to use the full range of native functionality – and, really, if you want to tag something in a post please just write it on the social network natively (unless it’s a post to Twitter).

RIP FriendFeed

friendfeed-logo

A website called FriendFeed shut down last week after years of being disassembled and neglected after Facebook bought them over. It’s been about 7 or 8 years since I first stumbled upon it. In its heydey, FriendFeed was a vibrant social network with realtime updating and interactions, it connected to all of your other social networks and provided all your updates in one place – so you didn’t need to traipse round half the internet to see what your friends were up to. The design was simple, the themes were fun (there was a Duck Hunt one with a flying duck you could “shoot” at – which was amusing for all of about 5 seconds, but still, it serves as a nice illustration of the “feel” of the site), and it worked seamlessly. Admittedly, it didn’t really take off with the masses – only with a few, but the few who used it absolutely fell in love with it.

I spent hours on FriendFeed and made friends with a lot of lovely (and awesome) people I’d never, ever have come across otherwise (I still keep in touch with them even years after we all stopped using FriendFeed) and I know that this is a sentiment that is shared with many from the FriendFeed community. For me, FriendFeed was a place to come and get away from it all, where I could confide, laugh, and see the world in a completely different way. I found a group of people who didn’t know anything about me in real life but we all connected in a way and FriendFeed almost encouraged silliness and fun – the fact that we could bounce ideas off each other in real time meant for some really lively conversations.

Everything was awesome until Facebook took over the company in 2009 – then it became the black sheep of the family. It seemed like things stopped working left and right and they’d be left like that for days or weeks (or in the case of the Advanced Search, just never get fixed). It became more unreliable, and as that sense crept in people lost hope that it’d be improved. The community started to dissipate (something that FriendFeed cited as one of the reasons for closing – a bit of a catch 22, I’d say).

Facebook took on some of the attributes of FriendFeed when they bought it over, but they changed them in ways to fit their own rigid design and almost seemed to take the soul out of them. Facebook is far removed from FriendFeed, despite having similar functionality when you boil it right down.

I logged back in just before it was closed down to salvage my posts and comments, and to save some memories (pages) from being lost in the ether. I was really surprised how much it made me reminisce about the days when I’d used it daily and the fondness I felt seeing the old site again (admittedly, I was mildly irritated to find that the search feature still hadn’t been fixed after about 3 years). I found some old posts that were downright hilarious, the group live-chats about Eurovision which had about 60 people involved from countries all around the world, silly posts about ridiculous things – we had a great time.

This may sound like I’m describing some kind of IRC chatroom uber-nerd session but I’m not, and that was the best thing about it – these were all regular people (OK, some of use were pretty nerdy). If you ask me, the internet lost something special in the closure of FriendFeed.