Thursday, May 26, 2011

Does Twitter need to buy Seesmic?

Image representing Seesmic as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBaseAs you’ll know, Twitter has bought the British company TweetDeck. Many blogs predicted this and, I believe, appropriately described the purchase as a defensive move. After all; Twitter already has a client that came to them via their Tweetie purchase. They did not need TweetDeck's tech.

The challenger, the rival bidder, is UberMedia. UberMedia has bought up a host of Twitter clients and already tussled with Twitter over advertising rights and techniques. Indeed, some of UberMedia’s clients were officially banned from Twitter for a while. UberMedia tried to by TweetDeck and if they had succeeded then they would control a lion’s share of the “source” of tweets and reads.

UberMedia, with TweetDeck in their arsenal, would have been able to build some interesting wrappers. They could have, for example, built a group layer on top of Twitter, powered by their servers, which required UberMedia software to use. That might have had traction has so many Twitter users would have been able to use the group feature. They could even have built a messaging platform of their own, one that allowed UberMedia users to communicate to each other, client to client even if Twitter was down. That would begin to leech away from Twitter's core if very successful.

Twitter bought TweetDeck instead. In their blog post they say;
This acquisition is an important step forward for us. TweetDeck provides brands, publishers, marketers and others with a powerful platform to track all the real-time conversations they care about. In order to support this important constituency, we will continue to invest in the TweetDeck that users know and love.

In other words; they’re hinting that there are two tiers of Twitter users – those who’ll be happy with Tweetie as a basic platform but people like you and I who would want something more powerful.

Here’s the thing; TweetDeck is miles behind Seesmic Desktop when it comes to providing a platform for publishers, marketers and other power users. I know I’ve just committed sacrilege and TweetDeck is beloved by many of you; but I’m prepared to defend my position.

TweetDeck essentially handles one account at a time but you can add more accounts and display multiple columns. If you’re using TweetDeck to manage more than one account you essentially have a screen with one (or more) columns for Account A and a different set of columns for Account B.

Seesmic is better. You can have a column that includes tweets from more than one account. One of the most useful columns I find is the mass “mention” column. That’s a single column that shows any tweets that mention any of the accounts you have synced.

Another illustration of how Seesmic copes with multiple accounts better than TweetDeck is when it comes to replying or retweeting tweets. With TweetDeck you can only retweet or reply to a tweet detected by Account A as Account A. You know how that works; you select the tweet in the appropriate column and select retweet. With Seesmic Desktop when you decide to reply or retweet to any tweet you also get to pick which account you wish to send that reply from. I find this vital for power-use.

In addition, Seesmic offers fantastic mobile apps – just as multi-account friendly as the desktop client – as well as a web interface. Seesmic offers plugins. I use my desktop client at home and at a glance I can see the Klout rating of whoever it was who just sent that tweet. Even if I don’t recognise the name I can tell, at a glance, how seriously I need to take that tweet.

In conclusion; I very much argue that if Twitter is serious about providing a platform for publishers, marketing and power users then it very much needs to ramp up TweetDeck’s abilities in this area. TweetDeck became so popular because it was quick, clean and easy to use – not because it supported those features that only power users would need. I believe a quick way to achieve this is to purchase Seesmic.

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