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In the Twitter monitoring wars, does TweetDeck lead?

For companies that want to monitor Twitter in particular, is TweetDeck the leader, or are there other suitable options?

Though many social media monitoring tools offer a broad reach across platforms, the truth is that Twitter matters most to the majority of companies that want to know who loves them -- or hates them -- and why.

It's easy to understand: Though each social media platform has unique features and functionality, users express themselves most impulsively on Twitter. In the eyes of many social-monitoring-focused companies, that feedback can be the most unfiltered, immediate and honest.

TweetDeck leads a limited but spunky pack of social monitoring tools that mine Twitter. It has always been Twitter-focused, though its reach included Facebook profiles until very recently. Twitter Inc. itself loves TweetDeck so much that it acquired it.

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One of the cleanest social media monitoring apps in the field, TweetDeck leads among Twitter monitoring tools for good reason: Its ease of use stands alongside its ability to add unlimited accounts -- and it conveniently places all information in a single window. This plus stream-filtering is most of the heavy lifting that a company using a Twitter monitoring tool would want.

Though TweetReach and TweetBeep are likewise Twitter-specific, TweetDeck's main competitor is HootSuite, a monitoring tool whose reach extends into Facebook, LinkedIn and other platforms.

This means little in the business world, as most of the other platforms are for personal use in the segment of the market that tracks Twitter. But it justifies HootSuite's analytics report, which is an advantage over TweetDeck and the kind of feature that grabs the attention of marketing folks.

HootSuite can handle only five accounts (in its free version), and puts profiles in tabs, rather than together in one window -- an inconvenience, more often than not. Its browser-based interface is clunky compared to TweetDeck's. But its Pro version enables users to schedule posts in bulk (via CSV file), which TweetDeck can't do, and, because it's browser-based, it permits multiple posts from multiple users.

Because HootSuite is more versatile in general, most reviews don't rule for TweetDeck in head-to-head comparisons; but if Twitter-specific monitoring is the contest, TweetDeck wins by a nose.

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