The other day I received a linkedIN message about the greatest social media tool of all time. Well, of course that caught my attention. If it’s THE GREATEST of all time then I needed to be there. The program Bottlenose is very plain at first site and if you don’t dig for a reason to use it then you will most likely miss all of the great options provided. Let me be frank before I begin, I was not a fan of this tool at first and shut it down after about 5 minutes. Before I started writing this blog I searched through the service to see if there was anything I was missing and boy was there a lot hiding. Here’s my brief (yet I will continue to check up on) experience with the Bottlenose social media tool.
Signing up was super easy, much like every other tool is and should be. I signed in via Facebook account and added to key accounts to the streaming including my personal Facebook page and Twitter page. Currently in it’s BETA state, Bottlenose supports Twitter and Facebook pages but plans to introduce LinkedIN, RSS, Google+, Pinterest and more. Once I was done signing up and selecting which streams I would like linked I proceeded to the dashboard. Here was my first road block.
Here’s a picture of the dashboard before I start my criticisms. Don’t know where to look first? Neither did I. There are WAY too many things that are being thrown at you right out of the gate. There’s trending topics, graphs, comments, top links, notifications for over 4 different sub sections and more. You know what may be more effective? How about putting the tutorial as the landing page for new users? At first glance, the dashboard is a hot mess of random comments and links that aren’t relevant at all to me. At first glance, Bottlenose just looks like it is embedding Twitter into another webpage. I was instantly turned off about the service and almost immediately closed the window. Luckily for Bottlenose, I stuck it out so I could write a review. After my mind exploded from visual overload I decided to check out what options were provided in the drop down menus for my accounts I linked. Here’s what I saw.
Again…I’m left to believe initially that this service is just embedding my Twitter and Facebook into one area. If that’s the case, then what’s the point? A majority of the population will have their Facebook as their homepage so you’ve probably lost the interest in having your Facebook in one spot. Also, this may be BETA, but Facebook page management is not an option. You can place groups and “pages you like” into a stream, but what would be the point? This is where I reached my “this is a waste of my time” mindframe and started to grow impatient. When I’m told it’s the greatest tool of all time, I expect to at least have something to find interesting. Now there is one shining star in the Twitter stream that I would have never known about if I didn’t find the tutorial (Which I’ll get into later).
Within your Twitter feed you can click on a posting that has a link, video, slideshow or photo and will be given a preview within the program. Trivial, but I’ve been afraid to click on links in the past through Twitter due to how easy it would be to sent to a malicious site. Things are looking up, maybe there is some reason to use Bottlenose.
Once I found the tutorial everything started coming together. The tutorial is hosted on slideshare with useful screen shots and bubbles of information regarding all of the different sections of Bottlenose, some of which I had never seen or knew existed. This is where I found out you could preview links/photos/videos in Twitter feed along with a few other important tidbits. Some of the most important features that aren’t easily found and accessible like custom streams are showcased here. Through a custom search I was able to create a stream that updates every time someones uses the phrase “Uganda Beads” (Shameless plug for a developing business I’m creating). Now here’s another problem I ran into…the tutorial is very outdated. The UI isn’t even the same as the screen shots. The selections and modes that are shown in the screen shots aren’t even on the site in some spots.
For instance, there’s a slide explaining the different streams you can add in. One of the streams you have at your disposal are called “Assistants”. Assistants help you automate tasks and give you suggestions like “Suggested reposts” that are relevant to you. This would be pretty neat to have and I searched far and high for it. Sadly, it is no longer there. It’s the small things like this that have really frustrated me. There are a few other things that aren’t quite working like “Newspaper”. I don’t even know what it does because it’s just a blank page.
Overall…Bottlenose is still in BETA so I will be a little more lenient here. There are a few interesting options available including placing an RSS feed in the stream and being able to search for blogs on specific topics. There are so many negatives I’ve encountered and when checking the feedback forum it looks like people have a lot of suggestions as well. For now, I won’t be using Bottlenose. That being said, if everything they’ve promised on the feedback forum is taken care of, Bottlenose might be a very strong social media tool. Currently, Bottlenose gets a 2.5/5