Buffer+Ifttt=the new Ping.fm

buffer ifttt rss

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.

How-to Update Your LinkedIn Status With Twitter Automatically – Video Demo

twitter linkedin

I started wondering if there was a tool similar to the Twitter to Facebook application, but that would post tweets automatically to LinkedIn. Then I found Linkedtweet.com. Actually, don’t even bother to click through this link, LinkedTweet doesn’t exist anymore:

Linkedin sued me

This discussion was captured on the Human3rror blog, where its author, also creator of Linkedtweet, explains in the comment section what happened to his project.

It seems like developers are not really encouraged by LinkedIn to connect Twitter to its network of professionals. However, there is a bootstrap way to make this happen. The cornerstone to this trick is Notify.me (review) and Ping.fm (review):

  1. Ping.fm is a service that lets you update your status on a lot of different social networks (I think there is like 30 different services, including all the big ones) from just about anywhere. You can update your LinkedIn account from Ping.fm.
  2. Notify.me lets you take any feed, and have it send it to you the way you want: email, SMS, IM, and/or… Ping.fm.

From there, I think you get the picture: Connect your Ping.fm to your LinkedIn account, connect your Ping.fm account to your Notify.me account, and submit your Twitter feed to Notify.me.

In the video above, I kind of geeked out the process, tweaking my Twitted feed with Yahoo Pipes before sending it to Notify.me. I did so because I don’t think you want all your stupid tweets to appear in your professional space, so a solution to clean up your Twitter stream seems essential to make this hack really work.

The music is from The Watusi Brothers, Across the Bay. (Popcuts link)

Loic le Meur, Seesmic: Micro-Vlogging, Beyond The Concept

Seesmic

It is undeniable: the booming trends on the Web are micro-blogging and video. Therefore, how can you doubt that a micro-vlogging formula will tear the roof off? Seesmic, the company started by French entrepreneur Loic Le Meur, aims to fill this spot in the online video space.

Seesmic

The idea for Seesmic is fairly simple: It replicates the experience of comment threads common to all blogs: People can post video comments and reply directly to each other. Uploading a video to the Web is a lengthy process, but with Seesmic, it is a click away, which makes video commenting a breeze.

The concept is very novel and still looking to gain significant traction. Everything is done to make this happen though: Beyond a video social network, Seesmic is a video comment technology provider. It offers a freely accessible read/write API (from what I understood), which is already being used by more than a dozen technology partners. If you always wanted your visitors to communicate through video on your site, well now you can enable this. According to Loic Le Meur, the API is a no-brainer.

thwirlThe Seesmic team went a step further in the social media game. In April of last year (2008), the company acquired the Twitter desktop client Thwirl, by far the most popular Twitter app on the market at the time. The team worked hard on the development of this Adobe Air app, and turned it into a real social media companion by enabling posting to Seesmic, Friendfeed (I don’t remember if you could already do this before the acquisition), laconi.ca, identi.ca, and more recently, through a partnership with ping.fm, they added at least twenty other social networks to the list (the dev team is also playing around with the newly released Facebook status API for 2-way communications with the Facebook platform).

I told Loic I would be a more avid user of Seesmic if I could record comments from my phone. He told me that

  1. iPhone/G1 don’t record video yet (good point!), and
  2. they are working on a Thwirl iPhone app.

All of a sudden, it made more sense why Seesmic acquired Thwirl, because at first it wasn’t clear to me why a video company would bother to spend time and money on a Twitter client.

The limit of the Seesmic concept is people’s natural shyness. For example, Seesmic’s most noticeable publishing partner is Techcrunch: I find it very intimidating to drop a video comment on a site that attracts several millions known-to-be-bitchy visitors a month, and I am not the only one. The Seesmic team is well-aware of people’s shyness, and Loic told me they are working on developing more private video environments. I guess that it would be easier for me to leave a video comment to my Facebook friends for example.

Seesmic already secured two rounds of funding ($12 million), which gives the company leeway to explore a few ideas before finding the winning combination.

Ping.fm vs Hellotxt

pingfm vs hellotxt

Once Twitter’s update notification feature showed to be successful, a lot of other social networks developed their own status update feature. The result: too many profiles to update, too little time. It became obvious that there was a demand there that could potentially convert into business. Two leading services address that specific demand: Ping.fm and Hellotxt.

When I look at a new Web service, the service that it provides is secondary in my opinion. What I need to know first is “is it easy to access and interact with? Is it really saving me time?” If the answer is a yes, then I am interested to know what the service is all about. In a Web 2.0 world, saving users a minute a day in accessibility means saving users 6 hours in a year. And that’s only for a minute…

Both services offer to update your status on a wide variety of social networks. This blogger made a list of social networks you can plug Ping.fm in, but it works for both services.

Also, both services enable you to update your status remotely (sms, mobile, email, IM), meaning you don’t have to go to hellotxt.com or ping.fm to update your statuses. I personally use the Gtalk extension to update from my email inbox (along with other ways that are even more convenient).

The two services are different mainly for this reason: With Ping.fm through Gtalk for example, you can specify to which specific social network(s) you wish to send an update. Maybe you don’t want to talk the same talk on LinkedIn and Twitter. Simply pre-fix your updates with @li to send it only to LinkedIn for example.

Ping.fm also has a shorter short url: ping.fm vs hellotxt.com (7 characters vs 12). That’s 8.5% of your tweeting real estate eaten up by hellotxt.com, compared to 5% for ping.fm.

Where the two services really are different is in the direction they are taking. Ping.fm focuses on being a universal box dialog to update any social networks from literally any device.

Hellotxt is more interesting for the alpha features that are being slowly brought up to the site. There is a new tab on hellotxt called “friends status” that is unfortunately leading to this message as of today:

We are working to improve this page.

Some new additions are still obscure on Hellotxt, like those icons next to my accounts in my settings page:

hellotxt buttons

They don’t seem to activate anything just yet, but it seems like Hellotxt is building a social network around status updates. These icons above would – I guess – define how you would like to share your info on each social network. I am not sure I want one more social network in my list, but we always say that, and sometimes we are proven wrong.

Personally, I’m a Ping.fm guy. It lets me specify to which networks I am updating to, and that’s really all I personally need from such a status update service.