Better Twitter Bot? Twitterfeed Says Yes You Can

Date : 2009/10/21 In - Tech Op-Ed
Twitter you can

Twitter you can

If you don’t read ReadWriteWeb, you might have not heard about Twitterfeed’s shiny new features: Faster engines, Pusubhubbub for real-time goodness, Facebook integration, and Google Analytics tracking enabled. This is the best list of feature additions I have seen in a while!

I have been using Twitterfeed for a year and a half now: It has allowed me to post updates from anything that has a RSS feed to my Twitter profile. When Friendfeed came around the corner with its syndicate’n tweet model, I stopped using Twitterfeed and it slowly reached the bottom of my toys’ box. After a site re-design, Twitterfeed is now announcing a technology revamping. Will it change anything?

  1. The faster engine: Yes I reckon that the user experience might be a little smoother and faster. I created my Twitterfeed account with a ClickPass (OpenID) login, so it always take me about 2 minutes every time before I can access the site.
    Once on the site, I don’t understand why the team decided to give a flashy re-design to Twitterfeed, instead of a simple and easy to load interface. As one commenter mentions in the ReadWriteWeb article mentioned above:

    I used to use it a lot, but after they changed to the new interface, it becomes a lot more difficult to manage dozens of feeds 🙁

    Totally agree. I think that they should have made this issue a priority. For example, I love Tweetbots because it loads in secs, so you can easily go from one feed to the other without the painful loading times.

  2. Having a “real-time” label today seems as important as having a “green” label for any business out there: It’s just the trend, and everybody wants it, even though it’s not that important after all.

    For small publishers, it could actually have a negative effect on their sites: In my case, it happens many times that once I hit publish on a post, I keep working 5/10 minutes on the published post, because I always notice details that need slight changes. I know that Twitter usually takes between 5/10 minutes before posting new items, which is perfect to let me adjust the last details of my posts.

    With Pubsubhubbub (the stupidest name ever), it publishes my blog content to Twitter in a matter of seconds (technically), meaning some people will get to see my post published before I do. I don’t need real-time on my blog, and I think that I should have the option to not work with it.

    pollution

  3. The integration to Facebook is the most ridicule addition I heard for a product that has ‘Twitter’ in its name. There are thousands of things you can do with Twitter and RSS, but adding Facebook in the mix is more confusing then convenient. Plus I am sorry to say that I turned it on for one of my Pages on Friday, and so far it failed to work. Great!

    In the same article mentioned above, the writer wonders if Twitterfeed is following Feedburner’s steps as a RSS leader. It’s an interesting thought, since Twitterfeed now distributes over 350,000 feeds. However, where Feedburner burns content into RSS, Twitterfeed merely distributes it. Where Feedburner has the merit of enabling easy sharing of data, Twitterfeed has the inconvenience of making online noise pollution even easier.

    Again, Twitter is more bot than human.

  4. Last but not least, Twitterfeed is now integrated with Google Analytics. You can simply append an UTM tag to your Twitterfeed’s tweets, and Google Analytics will track them for you. I haven’t tried it yet, but I am sure this will drive more big publishers to use the service:

    You’ll be able to understand how people clicking on your posts from Facebook differ from those clicking from Twitter and track the complete path of their visit to your site.

Ok so basically Twitterfeed now lets you RSS-pollute the Web faster, in more places, and with deeper analytics. Of course I am a fan of Twitterfeed. I tend to trash them because they are becoming big and that’s what we do with big startups: We challenge them.

But it’s not all about trashing. I think that in terms of strategy, Twitterfeed is not in a very good spot: It offers users a very passive way to use Twitter: You don’t even have to tweet anymore with Twitterfeed. While this is a time-saver, it is also against the nature of Twitter, which, let’ not forget, allows two-way communications.

Twitterfeed stands in troubled water because any other popular Twitter client could easily let their users submit their own feed and offer features similar to the ones mentioned above. For example, Seesmic could very well offer the same feature, but it would be better, because from the same Twitter client, publishers could submit RSS news AND interact directly with readers.

Since I am not just about bashing, here is my idea for Twitterfeed: Get into the feed reader business. Today, all feed readers have a big weakness: If I share an item I liked on Twitter, chances are the author of the feed item won’t know I retweeted his article. Twitterfeed should build the next generation of RSS readers, one that is fully integrated with social technologies such as Twitter.

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