The observant among you may have noticed that in the past week I’ve been uncharacteristically tweeting at all sorts of times, e.g. very early in the GMT morning/very late in the EST night. Have I cut out my beloved sport of regular napping? No. Have I suddenly fell victim to insomnia? Chance would be a fine thing. Has my almost total immunity to caffeine undone itself? I wish. If it did, I might get some actual work done.
Was I tweeting at four am? HARDLY. And also: isn’t the headline all you need to know?
No, it’s none of the above. Instead I’ve taken the advice of Steven Lewis of Taleist and signed up for Buffer, a service that helps you to spread out your tweets. And in doing so, enables you to schedule your tweets. And which makes it super easy to tweet links in the first place. And it’s free, by the way.
I’m a little bit in love with it.
Here’s how it works (click the images for larger versions):
You sign up for Buffer and link it to your Twitter account. Create a schedule for your buffered tweets based on your own time zone. I don’t think there’s a limit on times but for a free account you can only buffer up to 10 tweets at a time.
Then put the snazzy little “Add to Buffer” button to your browser. (It’s the one that looks like a stack of three square things.)
Click it whenever you’re on a page you want to tweet a link to and then sit back and relax while Buffer sends out your tweets as per your schedule. Every time you add a tweet it’ll show you by way of a progress bar how many tweets you have waiting to go out, and if you want to tweet it right now instead, you just press the—yes, you’ve guessed it—”Post Now” button.
And you can of course also just write Buffer tweets if tweeting links aren’t your thing. You can do that from your Dashboard.
If you can’t think of anything to say, there’s even an “Inspire Me!” button that throws up all sorts of quotables. And if you use Twitter.com, you’ll see a little “Add to Buffer” button in everyone else’s tweets, so you can add a retweet to your stack of tweets-in-waiting if you’d like.
Scheduling your tweets is not something I ever really worry about, at least not in the “time zone” sense. Yes, it would be nice if someone outside of GMT was around to see one of my 140-character utterances every now and then, but I’ve never stressed about it. Worrying about things like that sounds too much like work to me. BUT my tweeting has really fallen by the wayside recently, and most days I release a clump of tweets mid-morning and then no one hears from me for the rest of the day. I’m just too busy to stop and think about spreading my tweets evenly throughout the day.
Buffer solves this problem, because with it my five minutes of writing tweets or posting links translates into up to ten tweets spread out during the day.
But it also just makes it easier to post links to Twitter, because all I have to do is click twice. Once on the Buffer button in my browser, and then “Add to Buffer” in the window that appears. So the hours of my day set aside for staring out the window and other procrastination activities are safe for now…
Sign-Up for Buffer! (And Help Me!)
I’m not sure if this link will work (I think they intend for you to tweet this link once or twice, not blog it, but anyway…) but if I refer people to Buffer and they sign up, both they and I get extra space for buffered tweets. Try signing up here and see what happens. If it doesn’t work, just sign-up by yourself; I’ll get over it. But whatever you do, do sign-up!
[UPDATE: It’s totally working. Woo-hoo!]