Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Technology Tuesday: Cyborg posting

How do you keep up a social media presence with a full-time job?  I don't want to set up a bot that does everything without me, but I can't be on social media day long.

Well, there are a few tools to help:

1) Buffer
2) Tumblr
3) If This Then That

1) Buffer

Buffer is an app that can be linked to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other platforms.  There are also browser extensions which integrate more closely to Facebook.  There is a free version, or one can go to the paid version.

I like Buffer for those not-time-sensitive informational posts.  Sometimes I'll only have ~10 minutes on Twitter, but will run into 4-5 things that I want to share.  If they're time-sensitive (i.e., reactions to a TV show, debate, or news event), then I'll usually just reply or retweet.

If I just want to share the information, but it doesn't need to be shared NOW (an article of interest, information, cute/funny pictures), then I can send it to my Buffer.  Buffer asks what platforms I want to share it on, and then Buffer will add it to the queue of things to share.  I can set the queue up for how often I want it to post.

There is a Buffer app for phones and tablets, where I can change the order of the queue.  I believe there is also a way to schedule a post for a later time.

The free version of Buffer, however, has a limited queue.  When I have the time for significant browsing & sharing, I have hit that limit, and then wondered what to do with the next thing(s) I find.

2) Tumblr

Tumblr is yet another social media platform, that doesn't seem very well-known yet.  This is one of the places that young people prefer over Facebook, but it hasn't been taken very seriously because of its reputation for p0rn.

The reason Tumblr is here, is because it, too, can be tied to Twitter and Facebook for multi-platform sharing, AND Tumblr includes both a queue and a "schedule post" feature.  If Twitter and Facebook are connected, sharing to those platforms can be changed on a post-by-post basis.

I have taken to sharing news articles on Tumblr, where I can include the title, the link, my own comments about the post, and I can tag the post for searchability.

The minor drawback to Tumblr is that it does not have a built-in "share to LinkedIn" feature.

3) If This Then That (IFTTT)

If This Then That is the ultimate automation site for robo-posting.  Users set up rules, called "recipes" for actions, with a "This" trigger and a "That" response.

I once followed a cousin's business handle on Twitter, and soon received a "Thank you for following me" tweet.  I replied with "You're welcome," and then received a "Thank you for mentioning me" tweet.  It was awkward enough to realize that a bot was involved.  Recipes should be set up with care.

Recipes can also be shared, so I don't have to create everything from scratch.  Social media triggers can include post tags (like "toTumblr" on this article) to filter which items should be shared across platforms.  Which means that I should be able to set up a recipe to share Tumblr posts on LinkedIn, if I choose.

IFTTT is even more powerful than that, because it also allows one to schedule tweets, status updates, and even longer posts via Google Calendar.

Beyond posting to social media, recipes can alert the user to RSS feeds like free Amazon books and free iTunes music, send out a daily weather report, record activity, and more.