Buffer is a new type of social app that caught my attention and that I am testing. Buffer is a simple app that collects the messages you wish to tweet (or post to Facebook), and posts them at a time when there are the greatest chances for your friends/followers to see it. You just stack tweets in your Buffer (by sharing items with Buffer) and the service tweets them out at targeted hours.
How does it know when’s the best time to tweet? I don’t know for Buffer, but other apps that analyses best tweeting times often base their analysis on two metrics:
– activity: the app crawls your followers’ tweets, records the time of each tweet sent, analyzes this data, and suggests to tweet at approximately the same time your followers tweet, because their tweets is a signal that they are online and connected to Twitter.
– Engagement: the app looks for all tweets that engage with yours, such as replies and retweets. It records the time of those tweets and suggests to tweet at these hours when engagement seems to be peaking.
Both approaches have their flaws, but each have the merit to look for ways to enhance our online social experiences: They turn the online status of the receptor of the message into the trigger that publishes that very same message.
Back to Buffer. Buffer fixes a huge problem of mine: I only tweet when I am in the subway, waiting in line, or when I go wandering the streets of Paris. If most of my followers are not checking their timeline when I am active, chances are they won’t see my tweets. However, I cannot tweet while I work, take care of my son, cook, have a drink with friends, take a shower or sleep. This is what Buffer aims to fix: to dispatch your tweets publishing times according to your followers’ peaks of attention.
Again, Buffer is not the first player focused on identifying best tweeting hours, but the followers-based tweet-triggering part makes it pretty unique.
This post on Techcrunch explains how you can connect your Buffer account to a service called If This Then That. If This Then That is a service that sorts your social feeds in a smart way by filtering your content based on pre-defined criteria, and distribute it to the right channel. The good example that Techcrunch gives is, say you are Techcrunch, you publish 40 posts a day, you’d like to send your posts about Facebook only on your Facebook page, and you’re publishing them all from 7 to 9 pm. If This Then That will first analyze Techcrunch’s feed and single out all posts about Facebook. Instead of posting them all at once, it sends it to Buffer, who then top them up and publish them throughout the day, when fans are connected. In short, Buffer+Ifttt=the new Ping.fm.
This combination of technology is not just clever, it perfectly fits the « statuspocalypse » dilemma that the Web is facing today: too many status updates, not enough time to sort it all. Buffer and Ifttt help reducing the noise by offering more astute social features.