Tweetlater adds new features

Posted on November 17, 2008. Filed under: Social Media, Technology, twitter | Tags: , , , , , , , |

twlogoTweetlater is a Twitter integrated tool that allows users to do exactly what the name implies, Tweet Later. Other features include the ability to auto-follow other Twitter users and to Post blog articles later.

There is much written about auto-responders and their place in Twitter. Some people feel they are very useful, some feel that they are so un-human that it takes the Social completely out of Social Networking. Guy Kawasaki admits that he autofollows everyone on Twitter that follows him. Others send an auto-response with a link to a welcome video (an idea I quite like) but it isn’t for everyone. Some users feel it is rather like going to a mixer and having a taped message that you play to people who come up to you and say hi.

Now the developers of Tweetlater have expanded their offering, taking their tool from being a one-trick pony to something that has real potential. Twitter used to have a feature that allowed you to track particular topics and be alerted via email or IM. This functionality doesn’t exist in the main Twitter.com tool anymore but others have provided it Tweetbeep has had this functionality for a while. This is all it does and it does it well. Allowing a user to define alerts, how often the Twitter stream should be scanned and whether @replies, specific users and even location specific information should be excluded or not.

Tweetlater’s keyword alerts has a less friendly UI than TweetBeep’s. It basically allows for the same functionality but only if you are familiar with Boolean operators – the standard in advanced searches. While they do provide a link to a how-to for people who aren’t used to using these it would be nicer if they simply built the functionality into the UI.

The other new feature that Tweetlater has built which is interesting is the @replies digest. This allows you to have an email sent to you with all the @replies to your account at user specified intervals. This is a great feature for people who get a lot of replies to their tweets and who don’t get the opportunity to be logged into Twitter all day scanning for replies.

With an option to have the digest sent at intervals ranging from once an hour to once a day its flexible enough to keep up with most users. I can see this feature being really useful for users who are travelling and don’t want to arrive at their destination and have to scroll through pages of @replies looking for specific Tweets.

I think the addition of features to the Tweetlater toolbox is a good move. There have been many cases of one trick ponies in the Twitterverse that have already ceased functioning. Like any new offering there is still some work to be done on the UI, especially for the Twitter alerts, but if they keep adding to the tools, Tweetlater could become the ultimate one stop shop for serious Twitter users.

What do you think? Do you want a one-stop shop for Twitter tools?

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Twitter and Automated tools

Posted on November 4, 2008. Filed under: Observations, Social Media | Tags: , , , , |

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I was engaged in a Twitter conversation yesterday about the use of Auto-Twitter tools, like Tweetlater.  I have had this discussion a few times and its interesting to me that the debate is quite polarizing. Some Twitter users are adamant that you should not use any form of auto generated Tweets.  Others state that its a great way to drive traffic to your blog, e-book or company website.

The Middle Way

As with most polarized discussions there is usually a third path.  I personally use auto reply from Tweetlater to ensure that everyone who follows me gets an immediate response.  Some days I attract upto 30 new followers, it can take me at least 24 hours before I get the opportunity to respond to them individually.  To me, in the current, always on, instant gratification world we live in, that isn’t acceptable, but also I can’t do everything at once.  I run a company, I blog, I write articles, I micro-blog to Twitter.  So sometimes things slide.  Using the tool allows me to make sure I make some form of connection with everyone that follows me.

What to say

So if, like me you want to use an automated tool what should you say?  My message simply says, “hey, thank you for following me, I hope to make it worth your while.”  I keep it short, friendly and most importantly I don’t put links in it to my blog, my company or anything else.  Why?  Because if I want to not only have you follow me on Twitter but also read my blog, I had better be prepared to engage with you personally.

Other Auto Tools

There are plugin’s that will automatically Tweet when you update your blog.  I really don’t understand the point of this.  You have just written this amazing post, you want lots of people to read it, so what exactly is preventing you from logging into Twitter or using whatever tool you use to post to Twitter and making your Tweet engaging?  If you can take the time to write a blog post worth reading, why wouldn’t you be able to write a 140 character message that will engage readers?  I cringe every time I see on Twitter “Just update my blog” and then a link.  Ok great thanks for letting me know, but what was your blog post about, why would I care ? Is the subject of interest to me?  Get to know your audience, what do they care about?  What are they reading?  You should know because if you are really engaging in Social Media then you are following the links they post, reading what interests them and therefore gaining an insight into what they might be interested in reading on your blog.

Engagement

Now if you have reached this part of the post you may have noticed that I have used the word Engagement 4 times in only 3 paragraphs. Why would I do that? Because the key to Social Media, IMHO, isn’t what platform you are using, it isn’t how many people you have writing your blog, it comes down to the 3 E’s, yes you guessed it Engage, Engage, Engage.  Time is probably the most valuable asset any member of your potential audience can spend on you.  If you want them to invest it in you, invest in them.  Use automated tools wisely and only for good reason.  Don’t be tempted to let bot’s replace your voice.

What’s your opinion? Do Auto responses have any role to play in Twitter?

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