Why I use Premium HootSuite for Twitter

There are major advantages and major disadvantages to being followed on Twitter by a large audience.

There was a time, when I first began tweeting, that I thought the ideal number of people to interact  with probably lay in Dunbar's one-hundred-and-fifty... however, once I'd passed that I still felt the value of connecting with other teachers... so reckoned, okay, maybe double that would be okay but then as time went by, that number kept growing exponentially to the point where now, to be honest, it sometimes scares me!

These days I am followed by over 3500 people and follow back over 2000 (my primary focus is on educators as generally I don't really need to have any contact with marketers/ socialmedia-Xperts/ pornspammers/ movie-politics-music fans/ coffee-tea-bathroom-activity-sharers) -  and while this number, if you're not a regular on Twitter, might sound like "holy-kaow!"  perhaps even something to aspire to...  the truth is, I should warn you, is that sometimes the mentions list lists and lists... and with all that comes a sinking feeling of "yikes-how on earth can I possibly answer or acknowledge all this - personally?

There have been days when there were so many DMS that it would have taken well over an hour to respond.

They have been days of Information Overload.

And on those days, when I felt I couldn't answer all the mentions or the DMs or  thank folks for the RTs personally, for sending on the right posts by people I respect... that instead of feeling good about being so globally connected, I would commit one of the  deadly sins of Twitter and look at others who have managed to manage all this so much better than I do and  then I would feel jealous, or inadequate or  impossibly guilty... going to bed with the feeling that I've been impolite  - catholic guilt  - worrying that somewhere out there, there is a teacher who now thinks that I think I am too good to answer her/him back...  That thinks I'm a snob. Or not interested in his or her words. 

To be honest, at several points when I felt overwhelmed, misunderstood... I thought I would simply have to give up being on Twitter.   Of course, I tried to balance that feeling - knowing that that person does not see the same page that I see - that s/he simply has no idea what it's like to try and follow 2000 people's tweets  and  get it right.

Sometime after the summer as more and more tasks (slippery frogs) piled on,  I wound up with the conundrum of  how on earth could I balance my real work, my quality of life (going to the gym, talking to friends & family) with setting aside time for social-media and networking with this amazing global edcuational community.

Ages ago, I saw a tweet sent out by Val360 saying that she loved HootSuite and I wandered over to the site, couldn't figure it out and gave up: way too complex, I thought.   However, I decided I really needed to find a way to better manage my Social-Media life.

I went back to Val's recommendation and had a deeper look.

HootSuite lets you manage everything although unfortunately it doesn't make cups of coffee - but since using it,  I found that I only spend about a half hour a day on Twitter and sometimes even less - I can quickly chat with my PLN -whoever's online at the moment /but also who was around earlier - I can check out if there's anything urgent I need to help out with; say hey to the general universe, answer the important DMs, favourite the posts I want to read later on or that I think may be worth RTing during the week.  

I am also able to set up multiple organizational tabs e.g - EDTECH or ELT, and then I can divide each of these into streams (columns) ~ which is pretty much one of the chief reasons I prefer this tool over Tweetdeck.   In each of these columns, I can even manage tweets according to specific feeds, keyword searches or look up specific twitter-lists (private/public) and quickly - it resembles scanning a control panel in an airplane or something - I can see what's hot and what's not, or can help make something important be seen by more people.

Once a week, I tend to go in for longer, quietly lurking while I check on what I've favorited, decide whether or not to schedule RTs and follow-back the other educators who've found me during the week.  

I can even manage more than one account: the BELTfree account which I mentioned on Thursday,  this is set to automatically feed blog posts (why I have the Premium version) from ELT Bloggers without logging on and off all the time, (part of my personal contribution to the community I belong to and my strong belief in democratization of education) ~ I can also organize Re-Tweets not to occur at exactly the same time as everyone else's (to guarantee that excellent links/info/call to action can be seen by a wider audience across time zones).

The premium version also comes with the ability to tweet in teams (if you're a company that may be useful), you can manage your Facebook and LinkedIn updates and you get some pretty powerful analytics on how effective your tweets are or aren't!

Anyway, there's much, much more -stuff I haven't even got around to using yet - so my techtip for teachers  and professional educators interested in social-networking is definitely check out HootSuite!

Hope that was useful, don't hesitate to ask questions if you've got any!


Useful links
Twitterfeed by Mike Harrsion
Hootsuite is Mashable's best social-media tool

4 Responses to “Why I use Premium HootSuite for Twitter”

  • Dave from HootSuite says:
    January 25, 2011

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about HootSuite. We truly enjoy hearing how our beloved social media dashboard helps educators (and other busy folks) find the gems in the social conversation.

  • Natasa says:
    January 29, 2011

    Karenne, I am definitely going to try Hoot Suite. If it can really organise Tweets in so many ways, then it is great.
    I was going to post here before, but I got tied up with all my workshops and homework. The reason I wanted to post a comment here is not the part of the post about Hoot Suite, but the bit before that - following too many people on Twitter, information overload, the Catholic guilt (in my case, the Greek Ortodox guilt, the same thing really). I still haven't found the right way to deal with information overload and with the way I (have to) let people down as a consequence.
    I agree, Twitter worked best when I was following 150 people. Now I am a little over 1000. I mostly hit the link for your Blogs for Teachers group and then just click on a couple of links. Not enough...

    January 29, 2011

    Glad to hear it, Natasa, and glad the BloggersELT link helps!

    Yes - I reckon that there are some people who're able to be on Twitter all day long (and are paid to be) however for most of us, it's kind of manic to try and follow everything going on (which is frustrating because some of it is just so interesting) still, it's a wee bit silly for folks like us to feel guilty, isn't it!

    Ah, us humans!

    Still I do feel a bit more in "control" nowadays with my airplane controller style screen from HootSuite :-)

  • Brad Patterson says:
    January 30, 2011

    I hear you on the information overload. :)

    If you're a gmail user I have friends who are developing great programs to ease the overload with intelligent semantic based applications.

    Check out Kwaga.com

    I wonder what it would be like juggling so many followers. There are things I like about tweetdeck but this is now the second time I've heard a good review of hootsuite.

    I think you've pushed me over the edge. I'll have to give it a try this week.

    Cheers, Brad


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