HootSuite: The Twitter user’s essential tool

I wouldn’t call myself a Twitter guru, or even a fanatic. But I like it quite a bit, especially for promoting your content, networking and doing research. I don’t know how many times I’ve tweeted something like, “Any recommendations on a CRM system for a construction contractor? PLEASE RETWEET”, and gotten back tons of thoughtful responses.

So I always recommend small and midsize businesses give Twitter a try. Like anything else, it requires an investment in time (to do it yourself) or money (to pay your people to do it). Some people have money, some have time, some have neither. So you prioritize. Maybe Twitter isn’t a high priority with the time it requires.

But Twitter doesn’t have to take too much time, if you use a great tool like HootSuite.

I rarely go to Twitter.com anymore. I use HootSuite to review my lists and messages; and to compose, schedule and send tweets.

And now (drumroll please…): It looks like HootSuite just got better. Check out their new “Hootlet” auto-scheduling extension for Chrome and add-on for Firefox. It resides up there next to your address bar, and lets you quickly schedule link-share tweets, which are among the most retweeted. I think I’m going to like this.

HootSuite went down: Anger and gratitude

When HootSuite went down yesterday, I have to admit I was TO’ed. “What? My precious, witty, added value/value added tweets – lost in cyberspace for all time! THOSE BASTARDS!”

Really, I should have been grateful for the free service they provide. For the hundreds of new Twitter folks I’ve connected with, with HootSuite’s help. For the 99.99% of the time that they’re up and running and helping me expand my horizons. (You old-time telecom folks will notice that’s four, not five 9s of reliability.)

And it makes me think: How many free services would I be sunk without? Admittedly, not as many as some folks, but still… here’s a short list.

Yahoo mail
Gmail
Google Analytics
Google Alerts
Google Reader
Google Docs
WordPress.com
Dozens of WordPress plugins from generous folks around the world
Free WordPress themes from generous folks around the world
YouTube
Twitter
Facebook
HootSuite
Linkedin
Social Mention (OK, I wouln’t be sunk, exactly)

Klout (OK, it’s actually a curse)
LaunchPadINW
BaseCamp
CyberDuck
Who.Unfollowed.Me
bit.ly
A hundred free resources from HubSpot

* * *

That’s just off the top of my head. Amazing value there, isn’t it?

There are so many great services available at no cost beyond a computer and a connection. We all take them for granted, yet they help us get in business, compete, learn and just have a good time.

Which free services are you grateful for – and why?  And even more important, do we show enough gratitude for the hard work of so many people in the digital community?