I, like 200 million other people, am a keen Twitter user. I use it to disclose my daily thoughts and opinions (and, from time to time, to have a good rant) as well as to keep up with current affairs. Twitter has become one of the fastest growing social networks of our time, with people signing up to it then discovering just how useful it is.
Buffer, from British developer Joel Gascoigne and Austrian developer Leo Widrich, is a great way to space out your tweets whilst you’re not online. This way, you avoid bombarding your followers with 20 tweets in a row.
Of course, there are many different ways to access Twitter on your Android device and the wealth of Twitter clients out there just show how popular it is (remember, supply usually reflects demand). And with this surge in popularity, a certain Twitter “etiquette” has developed. Of course, there’s no written rules on how to use it (as long as you don’t spam or post defamatory messages!) but if you want to keep that ever-so-important follower count permanently high, then follow these two basic rules:
Post interesting things. No-one wants to know what you had for breakfast this morning.
Don’t flood your followers with a barrage of tweets.
Rule 1 is fairly easy to follow (and applies to brunch, lunch, afternoon snacks and dinner as well) but Rule 2 can be a difficult one. Usually people read Twitter in chunks, and not spaced out during the day, so if you want to tweet a few interesting links for your followers, you either have to tweet them all at once, or wait before tweeting another link, something which isn’t exactly of great convenience.
At least, those used to be the only options. Now you can buffer your tweets, to automatically spread them out throughout the day.
People seem to like this new method of tweeting. According to Mashable, who recently had a good look at Buffer, there are around 30,000 current Buffer users. Our neighbours over at Web AppStorm already had a look at their web version, but now there is a version for all us Android users! Let’s have a nosy…
What Is Buffer?
To save you having to read two reviews instead of one, let’s have a quick overall look at Buffer.
Buffer allows you to schedule tweets to go out at different times, meaning that you don’t flood your followers with a load of tweets at the same time. You can, of course, set the post times to suit your needs.
The main interface of Buffer
To add a tweet to your “Buffer” (i.e. your scheduled tweets) you simply enter your tweet into the box (Buffer will even shorten the links for you) and click on Add To Buffer. Buffer will automatically tweet your post at the allotted time.
A tweet in your Buffer
Buffer can also provide analytics for you (avoiding the need for additional services such as bit.ly), so you can how many people are clicking on your tweets.
Don’t underestimate the power of hashtags on Twitter. They can help you reach a much wider audience.
The analytics side of Buffer, showing how many people have clicked on your tweets
Buffer on the Move
The developers of Buffer have released a handy (though very basic and far less feature-rich than the web version) Android application which allows you to add tweets to your Buffer wherever you are. Unfortunately, you cannot delete any scheduled tweets from your current Buffer or view your list of scheduled tweets.
Adding a tweet to your Buffer is relatively simple using the Android application
The Buffer Android app also integrates handily with Android’s built-in sharing features. If you are reading a web page which looks interesting, then you can click on Share page then Add To Buffer, which sends your page straight to Buffer.
Seen an interesting page that you want to share with your followers? Simply tap "Add To Buffer" from Android's Share menu.
You can also send tweets to your Buffer directly via your e-mail application (whether you use Gmail or the default Android mail client) by simply sending an e-mail containing your tweet in the subject line and the link in the message body to firstname.lastname@example.org and voila! The tweet appears in your Buffer.
if you don't fancy using the Buffer app, you can e-mail your links to your Buffer instead
Is It Worth It?
The answer to this question really depends on how much you use Twitter. If you are simply a passive user of Twitter (i.e. you use it to just get information), then you will probably find Buffer of little use. But if you are a keen Tweeter (i.e. an active user of Twitter) then you’ll find that Buffer is a really helpful tool. It will not replace your default Twitter client (and it isn’t intended to), but it does complement your Twitter experience nicely.
If you’re looking to get your word out to more and more people, then Buffer can definitely help. Mashable says:
According to the startup’s analysis of a 2,000-user sample, on average Buffer increased click-through rates on tweets by 200% in the first three weeks after sign-up — probably because they tweeted more often and at times of the day when more people are using Twitter.
I love using Buffer. The two features that will appeal to most people is the fact that Buffer is both so simple to use as well as completely free (for the basic plan) and it can be such a useful tool that you are left wondering how you ever did without it.
In today’s fast-paced, ever-changing world of technology it is extremely difficult to come up with something new and innovative. Most “new” features are simply an improvement of someone’s else work however both Joel and Leo (Buffer’s developers) have come up with something new and fantastic. I wish them all the best with Buffer – it is certainly an internet startup like no other!