Hootsuite and I have been in an on-again, off-again relationship for 4 years. I love Hootsuite – I guess that’s why I keep coming back. But god! Life with Hootsuite can be frustrating. I’ve learned a few tricks along the way (and there’s a big one later in this article) that, so far, have kept us from calling it quits forever. This morning’s big ah-ha moment has renewed my faith in the relationship. I’m hoping that sharing some of the details of our ups and downs will help those of you who are fighting to make it work.
It’s not all Hootsuite’s fault. Sometimes I’m impatient and I don’t listen enough. I get excited and want to try new things without thinking them through. That’s where I get into trouble. But Hootsuite, you gotta know, you are one complicated beast. You need to talk more so I can figure out what needs to happen differently for both of us to get what we want. Here’s a perfect example:
The Retweet Saga
Hootsuite’s tabs and streams make following Twitter conversations and building community a dream. Twitter without Hootsuite is like an empty Reese’s peanut butter cup. Yah, the chocolate is good, but it’s the combo that makes it irresistible. Imagine my disappointment when I set up my Twitter streams exactly as directed, only to find out retweets functioned miserably. Oh, I could see them. I just couldn’t see WHO retweeted me. Let me show you a few screen shots to illustrate. There’s a solution in the end, so stick with me.
In the screen shot above, I’m showing you a retweet from the stream called “My Tweets, Retweeted”. Excellent! Someone retweeted my tweet and Hootsuite told me right away. That’s good. But who retweeted me? You can study that tweet ‘til the cows come home, you can click all over it, but you can never see who it’s from. That’s bad. One of the nicest ways to build community is to thank people for their retweet. If I were working directly in Twitter instead of Hootsuite, I’d see the handle of the retweeter and I’d be able to send them a message. By the way, when I made this screen shot, my mouse was on the RT symbol (that’s why the word retweet has popped up just above it) and I also highlighted the RT symbol in yellow.
Guess what happens when you actually click on the retweet symbol to create a thank you for the sender. Here it is:
Clicking the retweet button on a retweet actually sends a message back to yourself. Wow. Talk about looking lame. Now I’m sending myself thank-you tweets. And I’m still ignoring the nice person who gave me the retweet.
I’m not the only one struggling to make retweets work with Hootsuite. Google it and you’ll find some pretty elaborate work arounds posted on LinkedIn and even on the Hootsuite user forum (Hootsuite, you might want to read up on that).
Last week, the retweet fiasco drove me ‘round the bend and I developed a wandering eye. I heard how much fun people were having with Buffer and TweetDeck. I admit it. I looked them up and flirted a bit. But something was missing. They’re just not Hootsuite.
So I made one final attempt and reached out to Hootsuite by sending requests for help on Twitter. It took several days (with some not-so-good responses – Hootsuite, you weren’t really listening). Then this morning, after one more attempt on my part, I got this message.
It’s so simple! Hootsuite wants me to create a search stream. Why didn’t you say that before? In fact, Hootsuite, I have to lay this entire problem in your lap. I – and many others – followed your instructions and used this suggested setup. The screen shot below is the dialog box one sees when clicking the “add a stream” button. I circled the offending instruction.
My Tweets Retweeted is the equivalent of doing a vanity search on your own name in Google. It’s interesting, but it serves no real purpose. However, the search stream your technician suggested is a beautiful thing to behold. Hootsuite, I know it’s not healthy to ask you to change just to save our relationship, but really. Some very minor surgery on this feature would improve things tremendously. Think about it. I’m sure NW would be willing to help.
The Hootsuite – Twitter Retweet Solution
Now, let’s look at what happens when you create the above-mentioned search using “RT @[insert Twitter handle here]” and save it as a stream:
What you’re seeing here is the top of my new stream which was made by creating an RT search and saving it as a stream (thank you technician NW, whoever you are – this big smile is for you ). The best news of all – I can clearly see who retweeted me. In the messasge above, it was first retweeted by Bullhorn and then RacingRevell retweeted Bullhorn’s retweet. And when I click the retweet button? See:
Whoa! I’m no longer sending thank you RTs to myself! This one is addressed to @Bullhorn, my first retweeter. The only thing I have to remember is to manually add the second retweeter, if there is one. But at least I can see who it is, and I don’t even have to look up the handle.
Hootsuite, I hope you’re reading this. You owe me a coffee. At least.
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