Lately I’ve been reading my Twitter archives (courtesy of TweetBackup) dating back to Jan. 6, 2010, the main purpose being to cherry-pick my old tweets and time-release them into my live tweet stream.
This would of course integrate seamlessly with my live tweeting; I’m not a Twitter robot and never will be. I’m very serious about engaging with people in as sincere a manner possible.
So how would I automate those tweets? I’ve tried two ways.
I could automate those tweets through Buffer, which every Twitter power user seems to be using these days. Buffer is cool. It analyzes your followers’ activity and automatically tweets during your followers’ various peak traffic times throughout the day. You just enter your updates into the queue and Buffer does the rest.
Buffer also lets you upload photos, works with Facebook too, has bit.ly integration, lets you collaborate with other users, and more. It integrates with HootSuite, SocialBro, ifttt, and other useful social media management interfaces.
Unfortch for Buffer, the free version lets you queue a mere 11 updates. And as I said, everyone seems to be using Buffer, so I figure more and more followers are going to start just ignoring anything that includes a buff.ly shortlink. Most people don’t want to interact with anything that could even be perceived as being a robot.
(Note: Buffer users should use the bit.ly shortlink integration feature; if you’re not using bit.ly, I recommend you get an account.)
Finally, maybe all the extra, paid whistles and bells on Buffer aren’t all that necessary.
UPDATE for Jan. 9, 2013: Time.ly has been discontinued. Use Buffer.
So I found a Buffer-like app called Timely. I don’t know whether Timely pre-dates Buffer, but it works great. It lets you queue
100 unlimited tweets, which is plenty for any person or organization just awesome. You can set the daily updates to 1, 3, 5, or 9. Just enter your updates and let Timely release them during your followers’ peak traffic times.
You can’t upload photos with Timely, but I’d venture to guess most followers don’t bother looking at photos on Twitter anyway — it’s an extra click-and-load just to see that the photo probably isn’t all that interesting.
Timely also integrates with Facebook and lets you collaborate with other users. It can email you weekly reports and shows you how far any retweets and mentions of your Timely posts may have traveled virally.
In short, Timely’s core feature set roughly coincides with Buffer’s.
The two services are both great. Try both. Buffer has more features; I just prefer Timely. It’s clean and simple with an attractive interface, and it gets the job done with zero fanfare — and relatively unobtrusively.
Oh yes, and you get more bang for your zero bucks. #cheapskateFTW!