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Tools to Manage Twitter Volume (But They Don't Really #&%@* Work!!)

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I am being driven insane by the lack of effective Twitter utilities/software. Here's what I've found so far, and my experience. (A part of me hopes that I'm not using these tools correctly and someone can point out my lack of brains.)

Tweetdeck
At first I loved TweetDeck (Adobe Air software); it has great customization, column layout, and the ability to create groups. BUT:

  • If I modify any of my customized groups, I suddenly lose 99% of unseen Tweets in that group. And sometimes Tweetdeck just doesn't display all the Tweets that I haven't seen. It just randomly picks up at some point in the past.
  • The information stream keeps stopping because "rate limit exceeded." Then I have to wait 20-30 minutes for new Tweets. (This is a limitation of Twitter, though. I think. I don't have this problem on Seesmic, mentioned below.)
  • I can only login under one account, which is problematic for anyone who manages a personal account plus a professional account.
  • After a few hours, the application gets slower ... and slower ... and slower.


Twhirl

I tried Twhirl (another Adobe Air application) for 2 minutes, then stopped when I realized I couldn't create groups or create multiple columns to view simultaneously. (Someone correct me if I'm wrong on this.)

HootSuite
HootSuite is browser-based, and allows you to manage/view multiple accounts at once, but doesn't appear to have any kind of meaningful filter or grouping capabilities.

Seesmic
Yet another Adobe Air application, Seesmic is new and buggy, but is still almost better than Tweetdeck. The big problem is that it's sluggish and painful to use after a couple hours. It is column-based like TweetDeck, AND (hallelujah) allows you to manage multiple accounts at once—each Tweet is labeled with the account it's coming through. The group-making function isn't quite there yet: You can only add people to your group by finding a Tweet and clicking on the user to add—rather than going through a checklist of all the people you follow, like you can on Tweetdeck. (Someone tell me if I'm wrong on this.)

Given that Oprah is featuring Twitter on her show today, Twitter will only become more overloaded in the weeks ahead. So, if and when I deliver you the "best tweets for writers," I have to add the caveat that they were the best tweets I could find, given the limitations with the current utilities. It frustrates me that there's valuable information and conversations on Twitter, but I can't possibly find it and manage it without having reliable applications to filter, save, and archive the information that hasn't been "seen." So far, nothing is up to the task, though maybe Seesmic, once it's developed further, will be my tool of choice.

What tools do you use to keep it all under control?
What tools help you make the most efficient use of your Tweeting time?

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