HootSuite Challenge Day 1: Frustration

So I did it - I uninstalled Tweetbot and the default Twitter app, and relied solely on Hootsuite to get me through the day. Oh boy...

I had a tweet scheduled to go out at 8.30 in the morning, and I suddenly thought, "let me change the time". Nope, can't do that within the app. In fact, I didn't see any option to edit or remove a scheduled tweet. While other tweets (e.g. in your timeline) give you various options, scheduled tweets within the iOS app don't give you any option. At all. So, I just let it be, and come 8.30 my tweet was out.

I then decided to write another tweet, this time uploading a picture. Uploading pictures is pretty easy in the Hootsuite app, as it should be. However, I then wanted to open the picture, just to give it that quick look before posting. I usually do that with Tweetbot, just a last glance before sending my pictures out in the Twitter ether. Nope, not possible with Hootsuite - once you've selected a picture the only way to view is to go to the Camera Roll and view it.

That's when I realised that I was trying to translate my usual Twitter workflows and general experience in Hootsuite. I was swiping where I shouldn't have been swiping, I was double-tapping tweets just because I grew accustomed to the 'double-tap' gesture from most other Twitter apps. While most common Twitter functions are the same throughout most Twitter apps (composing a tweet, replying to a tweet etc.), every app has its own way of doing things. For instance, while some apps let you search through your followers and following list, Hootsuite only presents you with the list of people you follow and people who follow you, with no option to filter/search through them; while some apps give you the option to show you the display name AND full name of tweeters, Hootsuite lets you choose one OR the other.

However, workflows aside, I couldn't help but notice a few things that made me raise an eyebrow - both on some occasions. For example, when mentioning someone in a tweet, Hootsuite gives you two options: you can either start typing the username and Hootsuite will suggest a few names based on who you've contacted recently, OR you can go to the Contacts menu, which will only show you the most recent contacts. However, that is not helpful if you're trying to send a tweet to an account you've never contacted before, or even someone you rarely speak to. Here's an example: you've had a rough service at Nando's; frustrated, you decide to write about it on Twitter, mentioning them. So you start writing your text and in the middle of it you face a conundrum - is it @Nandos or @NandosUK? Or perhaps @UKNandos? You haven't contacted them recently because you don't always have conversions with restaurants on Twitter, so you save the tweet as a draft, close the current view, tap on Search, do a search for Nandos (bear in mind that searching for a term brings both users as well as tweet mentions), you see a long list of tweets mentioning Nandos (some with the handle and some without), you realise that it's @NandosUK, go back to the compose view, select the draft and type @NandosUK. Finish tweet, send tweet, done. While this might take a max. of 90 seconds, it's a long process that shouldn't be that long.

Besides that, I found a few oddities: when viewing people's profiles, Hootsuite for iOS shows you two buttons - follow and unfollow. Instead of toggling to 'follow' if you're not already this person's follower, or 'unfollow' if you already follow them, Hootsuite seems to give you the option to do both - so, technically, you have the option to follow a user you already follow, as well as unfollowing someone you're not following in the first place. Even more strange is the fact that, when viewing your own profile, Hootsuite shows you the option to follow AND unfollow yourself. Huh?

Another oddity is the blocking option - most apps (including the default Twitter app) give you two options in this situation: blocking and reporting as spam. Hootsuite Web, however, only gives you the option to report as spam within the app. What if you just want to block an annoying user but don't want to report them as spam?

It wasn't all doom and gloom though - in fact, I found two new features I didn't realise I could use with Hootsuite. The first one is the RSS Syndicator, which lets Hootsuite hook up with any RSS feeds, including your site/blog, and automatically tweets out any new blog posts. This is great - right this very minute I'm hosting my blog on Svbtle, although I'm in the process of migrating to Ghost. Now, I know that Wordpress gives options to automatically tweet new blog posts out, but other blogging platforms don't give that option. Here's where Hootsuite's RSS Syndicator comes in handy - it detects any new blog posts and it pushes them out. I've yet to set it up though, so I'll let you know how that goes once I do. (I technically did know about the RSS Syndicator, although I didn't pay much attention to it until now.)

The second feature is great for people looking for mentions of their site - you can always create a new column and include your brand as a search term, so Hootsuite will show you in real-time all the tweets that mention your brand. However, in my case I only want to see mentions of my blog, with people tweeting out articles from it. If you create a search column with the following syntax:

DOMAIN filter:links

Hootsuite will bring as search results all the shares of any links from your site. Unfortunately, there are a few people whose Twitter usernames contain "brnrd", so when they post their Instagram pictures or YouTube videos I see them as part of the search results. However, it's not a big deal - most of the search results that come up with that filter are relevant to what I'm looking for.

There is one thing that ruined today's Hootsuite experience - finding out that, with the free version of Hootsuite, you only receive notifications for mentions and DMs. Besides the fact that due to an apparent glitch I didn't get any notifications at all (not even mentions or DMs), I was quite disappointed to find out that the free version of Hootsuite doesn't offer the basic notifications like new follows, retweets and favourites - notifications that even the default Twitter app can give you. This is not because the app can't handle it, but the extra notifications (as well as the extra features, which I'll get into in the next few days) are only for Pro and Enterprise level customers. If you're wondering, the Pro package costs $9.99/month, with one month free trial bundled in. If you intend to stay with the free version of Hootsuite and you need to stay on top of notifications I suggest you enable push notifications on your emails to receive Twitter notifications as and when they occur, OR download the default Twitter app and activate the notifications you need. Unfortunately, that means that when tapping those notifications you'll be taken to the default app, not Hootsuite. Will Hootsuite change their pricing model? No idea. It would be great if they did, but I wonder if this is an argument to get more people to choose the Pro version over the standard free package.

On to day 2...

HootSuite Challenge Day 2: Seriously?

The HootSuite Challenge