TweetDeck makes Twitter Easy-to-Use & Hella Awesome

For anyone that has tried Twitter and doesn't really understand it, I usually recommend they try using TweetDeck before they give-up on the social media platform altogether. What is TweetDeck and why would you use it? Basically the best way to describe TweetDeck is it's a Twitter app that makes organizing and managing Tweets a lot easier and more fun to use. At least that is my opinion about it.

tweetdeckTweetDeck has a lot of features that Twitter natively doesn't have. For starters you can see and sort different columns for your timeline showing your latest Tweets from people you follow, interactions with others, direct messages, Twitter trends, and more. For those that haven't used TweetDeck you might be saying, “Can't you do that in Twitter?” Actually no, not really since with Twitter you can only view certain parts of your profile one-at-a-time whether it be on a mobile device on desktop. With TweetDeck you can see it all in one place simultaneously without having to click to go anywhere. It makes managing your social media profile a whole lot easier and saves a lot of time.

This idea was so simple but brilliant Twitter actually acquired TweetDeck several years ago. The creators of TweetDeck actually figured out a better way to handle and manage Twitter, than the Twitter themselves.

In addition with TweetDeck you can control several different Twitter accounts all in the same dashboard. If you are a Twitter power user with several accounts for different sites you run, this comes in handy. This allows you to not have to sign-in and then sign-out out for all your seperate Twitter accounts. Several small business owners use TweetDeck for keeping track with their personal and business accounts. I've also seen people with 10 or more accounts in 1 TweetDeck about but that gets a little bit crazy.

Using multiple accounts in TweetDeck comes in real handy in many situations though. Let's say you just got a funny fortune cookie you want to share with your followers. With TweetDeck you can send out the same Tweet to several different accounts at the same time.

If you'd rather the funny fortune cookie Tweet go out in a few hours, when you know more of your followers will be on Twitter, you can easily schedule Tweets to go out in the future. If needed you can schedule Tweets to post tomorrow, into next week or even next month. Scheduling Tweets is a good idea if you want to constantly connect with a Twitter fanbase but you know you can't be there 24/7. Twitter has no scheduling function you can use.

Another thing TweetDeck has over Twitter is the ability to easily filter Tweets. You can choose to only see Tweets with the hashtag “#awesome” and only see images with that particular hashtag. Sounds #awesome right? The filtering capabilities of TweetDeck are also useful for participating in a Twitter Chat, which is like an online forum chat on Twitter centered around a specific topic. If there are several Twitter Chats happening at the same time TweetDeck is useful for following both. Of course that can get a little confusing if are not prepared for it.

TweetDeck also makes creating Twitter lists a lot easier and more usable. Another nice feature they introduced a few days ago is custom timelines. I haven't used it too much but see the benefits.

I should emphasize the best part thing about TweetDeck, it's Free.  While you might have already assumed that a lot of social media management tools are not and based off of Freemium models.  (Meaning you can use it for free but extra features you need to pay for.)  I've tried a lot of them and honestly don't like them.  It's hard to integrate capabilities of several social networks that have their own idiosyncrasies into a single social dashboard.   For using Twitter and managing multiple profiles, I don't know what else you would use besides TweetDeck.

If you are interested in trying out TweetDeck I recommend you visit the website and sign-up for an account.

You can use TweetDeck with a Twitter browser app or use the service at this URL.  I wish TweetDeck Mobile Apps were still available but Twitter shutdown the apps earlier this year though.  Another thing that kinda of annoys me is that you used to be able push out Tweets from TweetDeck to Facebook.  I guess since Facebook is Twitter's main rival they realized that didn't make sense.

I hope you found my article useful if you haven't used or heard of TweetDeck before. If you have questions about using it please leave them below and I will try to answers them as best I can.  I should let people know I am not social media guru or anything. If you are a TweetDeck user I'd be happy to hear tips, tricks, and what you find useful about it.

Catch me on Twitter @AdamYamada… if you can!

HostGator Down along with other EIG Hosts causes Web Hysteria

hostgator downHostGator Down! Noooo, my websites are not up!

This sentiment was shared on Friday as most of HostGator's sites along with JustHost, BlueHost, and HostMonster‘s customers sites went offline for many hours and experienced intermittent downtime, slow loading websites, and generally poor site performance.

With a lot of frustration and no clear answers from HostGator I sent out this Tweet on Friday.  This got shared on YFS Magazine Facebook page, a magazine for young entrepreneur's, and got a healthy number of ReTweets and favorites since others felt the same way.

You might want to check out some other Tweets regarding the outages as there a lot of other funny, rude, and crazy ones.  When people can't access or work on their websites the niceties go out the window and web hysteria kicks in.

It should be noted that HostGator, JustHost, BlueHost, and HostMonster are all owned by the same company Endurance International Group (EIG).  EIG web hosts are notorious for overselling and packing servers with tons of websites leading to poor and slow site performance.

Until recently HostGator was considered one of the best web hosting companies to work with.  I actually moved from Site5 to HostGator since I have hosted with HostGator before and found they were a good web hosting company.

That was until they moved their datacenter from SoftLayer's facilities in Dallas, Texas to the Provo, Utah facility about 3-4 weeks ago.  Every since the datacenter move happened the websites I have hosted with HostGator (including this blog currently, but that will likely change) ALL my sites have had issues loading slow and I have had quite a lot of downtime even before the EIG datacenter fiasco on Friday.  I've tried to work with HostGator support about these issues but they didn't seem to care or think there was a problem.  They essentially were like, “Yeah, F$%# you we know the servers are overpacked.”

I assume the reason all the Provo, Utah datacenter has been having issues is that HostGator manages 1% of the world's websites.   When you move that much data into an already packed datacenter, well you are going to have problems.  Probably not something that EIG executives want to hear about since they want to have an Initial Public Offering (IPO) soon.  Therefore you better cut costs and make the company look like a better investment.  Am I right?

Initially HostGator blamed the problem on a “network issue” and it was not clear whether it was a Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attack on the Provo datacenter or something that was caused by EIG.  Because of the wide anger and hysteria EIG setup a simple WordPress website called Endurance Response and posted this;

During the morning of August 2, 2013, Endurance International Group’s data center in Provo, UT experienced unexpected issues that impacted customers of Bluehost, HostGator, HostMonster and JustHost. Company websites and some phone services were affected as well.

Many of our customers’ sites are back online. Some customers may continue to experience intermittent access and slowness until services are fully restored. Customer should not experience any loss of data.

The resources of our entire company are focused on the recovery, including our executive team, which is leading these efforts from our command center in Burlington, MA. The team will issue updates at enduranceresponse.com every 30  minutes until all customer services are restored. Following the restoration of services, Endurance will conduct a thorough review of this incident.

Ron LaSalvia, Chief Operating Officer, has expressed his message to customers, “We understand that your sites are your lifeblood, as well as the engine to our economy, and we have committed all company resources, nationwide to a swift resolution and full restoration.”

When I emailed HostGator they said again it was a network issue and then said it was DDOS.  Apparently EIG can't keep their story straight as I did not see anywhere on Endurance Response that it said they had a DDOS.

What is annoying is that having lots of website down-time can affect search engine rankings.  (Of course this depends on how much traffic your blog gets and how often the Googlebot crawls your site.)

I want to make it clear to everyone that I understand when web hosting companies have downtime.  This it to be expected if you are using a shared hosting honestly.  It just is not possible since  you are sharing the server resources with other people.  However… HostGator still has yet to provide me with clear answers about the outages and bad performance before this major HostGator down-time, along with the other EIG web hosts, and make it clear what the exactly the problem was.

Endurance International Group now has taken HostGator from being a great host with great support to a host that people are fleeing from.  (According to Twitter and other social media channels at least.)  Even though I wrote about HostGator deals before on this blog and have recommended them, I have removed all affiliate links from this blog and all of my websites.  I can't in good faith recommend HostGator anymore to my friends or followers and I hope you appreciate my honesty, even it will cost me a few affiliate commissions.   For your information, I won't be giving any business to Endurance International Group hosting companies in the future either.

Personally I am probably going to be moving back to Site5 because of the HostGator down-time and lack of support.  Site5 provides good and knowledgeable support, but can be too technical at times, and don't overpack servers.  You can read my Site5 Review to get a better idea about their web hosting services.

If you are a customer with HostGator, BlueHost, JustHost, or HostMonster I would recommend using a website monitoring service.  (You should for all of your websites no matter what the host is.)  I like Uptime Robot and it is completely free website monitoring service and allows up to 50 monitors.  Downtime alerts can be sent via email, text message, or RSS feed notifications.

If you are currently with an EIG host has the recent datacenter outage made you think about moving to another web hosting company?  Where are going to move and how do you determine a good host?  How does it make you feel when you can't access or your website is down and there is no clear explanation?