Free online service Buffer is my new favourite tweet-companion. Buffer is in essence a tweet scheduler, you tell it what to tweet and when to tweet it and when that time comes, it releases your tweets on a one-per-timeslot basis. It is not the first service of its kind, however it does boast some strong features that I’ve not come across before. Using it couldn’t be easier, simply set the tweet-times when you want Buffer to tweet for you, and then add articles/websites/pictures etc to your ‘Buffer’ (either manually on the website, by email, or via a handy browser extension). When it reaches your next specified tweet-time, the item will be tweeted and then removed from your Buffer to allow the next item to be tweeted at the next specified tweet-time, and so on.
Buffer also ties in to another of my favourite services, If This Then That, which I wrote about only yesterday. This allows you to quickly set up a ‘task’ on the If This Then That website and from then on anything you ‘star’ on Google Reader will be added to your Buffer, to be tweeted at a later time.
Buffer’s great for those who might only have chance to be active on Twitter for a short amount of time each day, but have a lot to say and share and would like to spread their tweets out more throughout the day. The service also ties in to SocialBro, a kind of Twitter statistics monitor. SocialBro can scan your list of followers and find out when is the best time for you to tweet, based on when the majority of your followers are active, to allow you maximum exposure to your audience. After SocialBro has scanned your followers, it only takes a single click to configure Buffer to release your tweets at the optimal time.
If you feel like you’ve got a lot to share and not enough chance to say it, give Buffer a go, I’m adding this post to my Buffer right now!
For the past couple of days I’ve started using If This Then That (ifttt), a free service that lets you set up simple, yet potentially quite powerful, automated tasks using the online services you use every day. This is done by specifying a trigger (if this) such as ‘When I add a new photo to Flickr’ or ‘If it’s going to rain tomorrow’ and an action to be performed when it is triggered (then that) such as ‘Tweet the URL’ or ‘Text me’. Each trigger and action is fully configurable, so you can make sure they perform exactly how you want them to. I currently only have 13 of the possible 39 channels active (a channel becomes active when you allow ifttt permission to access the service) yet I have a not-to-be-sniffed-at 484 possible combinations of tasks available. I’d highly recommend the service and if you often find yourself going through several repetitive actions such as Upload photos to Flickr>Tweet about it>Add them to Facebook>Update Facebook status>Email the link to a friend etc, you will be able to save heaps of time by spending no more than 5 minutes setting a few simple tasks up. I’ve listed a few of my favourites below:
Download file to Dropbox from Gmail: If you’re on the move and you come across a file you’d like on your home machine, simply email the file’s URL to your Gmail account with the subject ‘downloadthis’ or something similar and ifttt will spot the email and download the file straight into your Dropbox. (This can also be configured to automatically begin downloading torrents by configuring your torrent client to watch your Dropbox folder, however this is only to be used in a fully legal scenario of course!).
When I star an item on Google Reader, Tweet it: Self explanatory, you can also configure the format of your tweet (i.e. “Check this out [Article Name] [URL]” etc).
Send New Years greeting at exactly midnight: You specify a message, and a time to tweet/email/update status/send a text and it will be done for you!
Add the weather to my Google Calendar: Again, self explanatory, but useful none the less!
When theres a new post on ‘Cosmic Background’, notify me: If you wanted to keep as up to date as possible with your favourite tech blog (oh please, you’re too kind) then notification service Boxcar will push notifications to RSS feeds, straight to Growl (if you’re a Mac user) and even (with the free app) to your iPhone and iPad!
Do yourself a favour and go check it out!