Items shared over social media have a perverse temporality. On the one hand, it can feel as though nothing on social media is ever forgotten, at least if it is humiliating. Your past can always be held against you. On the other hand, links and news shared via social media are shockingly ephemeral. Bit.ly has said that most links have a “half-life” (the time by which they will get half of the clicks they ever will get) of around three hours. A marketing firm said in 2010 that for active engagement (replies and re-posts), the real number is probably about an hour.
That’s fine for conversation and other real-time uses of Twitter. But what if you have links you’d like to share? Maybe you run a website and want people to see announcements of posts at various times throughout the day. Or maybe you’ve found a bunch of cool links and you’d like to share them, but not all at once. There’s a reason ICYMI (“in case you missed it”) is a thing.
In those situations, you might try distributing your social media posts throughout the day, in order to maximize the number of people who see them. I like Buffer, a web service that allows you to do exactly this. I first reviewed Buffer two years ago, and still use it today. In a web browser, Buffer’s trivially easy to use: After signing up for an account, you install a little bookmarklet on your browser, and then any time you find a page you like, you can click a button to schedule it. Buffer also has standalone apps for iOS and Android. And the service even provides some light analytics.
Two years ago, I had one complaint about Buffer:
The most important missing feature in the app right now is that it’s not integrated into any of the main Twitter apps, either for the desktop or for smartphones. Hopefully this won’t be true forever!
If you access Twitter from the web, you could use Buffer, but you have not been able to use it from a client such as Tweetbot, Twitteriffic, or whatever. This has been incredibly annoying, because Twitter clients are a prime venue for discovering links that you might want to share!
Good news: In July, Buffer announced that Echofon, a Twitter client for iOS and Android, now supported the in-app use of Buffer. The implementation is very easy to use:
Re-tweeting is even easier:
In addition to the run-of-the-mill uses for Buffer that I mentioned earlier, it’s also easy to see how such a feature might be used in a class: The professor might find something that should be re-tweeted for the entire class, but maybe right after that night’s class, as a sort of final thought. Echofon and Buffer make that sort of strategy very easy.
Echofon has a lot going for it: a spare, maybe even plain, interface (though it will be interesting to see how it plays next week), and it does notifications very well. I continue to prefer the overall experience of Tweetbot, but the ability to buffer tweets in-app is remarkably convenient, and I’ve been using Echofon more and more. (Note to self: When testing out new Twitter clients, move the preferred app out of your home screen. Old habits die hard!) It is available for both Android and iOS; for the latter, it comes in ad-supported and paid versions.
Do you have a tool for scheduling social media posts? Please share in comments!