Some months ago I published a post which looked at the alternative interfaces for Twitter – the likes of Tweetdesk, Seesmic, etc. At the time I praised HootSuite as an online alternative but bemoaned the lack of real estate on the screen because the page was cluttered. As you can see from the photograph left there is only room for three vertical tweets whereas with Tweetdeck I get five. Not a huge amount of difference but if you are scanning stuff it does slow you down.

The bottom bar is offering me stuff I don’t want.I don’t have an iPhone so I don’t want the iPhone app thank you very much. Both the Hootlet link and the link to the app store could be so much smaller. At the top of the page there is so much wasted space. All the functions and facilities really could be integrated more tightly.

However, all of that fades into insignificance because there have been some major additions to HootSuite that has changed it from a lone tweeting tool to a corporate marketing powerhouse, a sort of groupware for Twitter.

An email from HootSuite’s Ryan Holmes tells me: “The good news from HootSuite continues with a big addition to the team collaboration and social crm tools. With today’s release, teams can now coordinate tasks with increased efficiency and reduced hassle with the ability to assign messages to team members and share columns within teams.

“The advantages don’t stop there — we’ve also added in the ability to forward messages via email, share draft messages and access all settings and views from a new Launch button. Using HootSuite’s Assignment feature ensures no Twitter or Facebook message will slip through the cracks in the busiest of work environments.

“Using a pull down menu, a manager can assign a Twitter or Facebook update from any shared column to any Team Member, plus include a note explaining the appropriate follow-up if needed. The assignee will receive email notifications whenever a new message is delegated, and can see all assigned messages within a single view. Upon receiving the task, the assignee can resolve the issue or pass it along to another colleague with a note, if another team member is more appropriate for the job.”

Read the full story at the Hootsuite Blog to see how this service is becoming the de facto Twitter package for social media marketing.