BufferApp’s scheduled Twitter links improve social consistency

Since this blog is about linking, it’s pretty important (to maintain some consistent branding with all five of my readers who also follow me on social networks) that I use Twitter to share links. Since I started using BufferApp to schedule my tweets, I get a friendly reminder via email whenever I have no tweets scheduled to post, and I think it had improved my tweeting.

BufferApp is basically a button on my browser. It’s a button I press whenever I come across a web page that I think my followers might like. Pressing that button brings up a window in which I compose a tweet with a shortened link. Instead of going out to the twitterverse immediately, the message is added to a “buffer” that BufferApp will send out one of the 9 times that I’ve already chosen in my settings. If BufferApp runs out of tweets to send, it sends me that email to remind me to add more tweets to the queue.

For me, that email might be the key to BufferApp’s success. It really annoys me. It annoys me like my boss annoys me when she bugs me about an overdue project (that polling page is almost done, Terry). It annoys me like I annoy my children when I have to remind them again to do their chores.

I hate that email so much that I work harder than ever to scan my Google Reader in the morning and fill my BufferApp with links. That’s right, that annoying email has basically made me a more consistent tweeter.

If you aren’t too proud to see if being treated like a child can sometimes be an effective time management tool, give BufferApp a try and let me know what you think.

Empire Avenue makes team social metrics fun

Screen shot of Empire Avenue home page

If you manage multiple social network accounts for clients, or if you a have a team of workers who are tasked with being socially active, you’ve probably surveyed various tools to monitor the performance those accounts.

Empire Avenue is not billed as a social metrics tool, but after playing it for a week I became more aware of what some of my friends were doing on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and LinkedIn. That’s exactly what I would need if I managed a team of customer service reps, reporters or social media account managers.

At its most basic level, Empire Ave is a stock market simulator in which you build virtual wealth by investing in social people. From Empire:

Every day, you’re on Twitter, talking to friends on Facebook, uploading videos or photos, and writing blog posts. Just for doing that stuff, you’ll earn Eaves – our virtual currency – and we’ll dish out some more virtual cash to your shareholders.

So you gain wealth when the people you invest in engage in social activities. There’s a whole lot more to the game, but the basics are enough to show how easy this game can be used to evaluate and manage your company’s social activity.

  1. Get your whole team to create an Empire account and connect their social accounts.
  2. Invest in those team members and no one else. At first, invest in each member equally.
  3. Check your portfolio every day. If you gain wealth then you know your team is being social.
  4. Sort your portfolio by “gainers” and reward those team members for a job well done.
  5. Sort your portfolio by “losers” and coach those colleagues to become more social.

The biggest challenge I see is that Empire Avenue might be too fun. Since beginning, I’ve divested in my friends (sorry) and transferred those funds into accounts with a higher return.

Oh yeah, another challenge is that your share price isn’t determined exclusively by your social activity. Your price also goes up if people buy more shares of you. So … go to http://empireavenue.com/?t=fvcx1nr0 and add (e)KSABLAN to your portfolio!

Here are a couple of links to get you started in the game:

The @ReallyVirtual tweets, reportedly of the Bin Laden raid

A few hours after President Barack Obama announced that Osama Bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan, I saw this tweet from Mediagazer’s Megan McCarthy (@megan): “So looks like at least one Twitter user (@ReallyVirtual) live-tweeted the Osama raid yesterday without knowing what it was.” I have not confirmed that report, but here is a text version of @ReallyVirtual’s Twitter stream in chronological order (in Pakistan time).

@ReallyVirtual: Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event). May 1, 12:58 am

@ReallyVirtual: Go away helicopter – before I take out my giant swatter :-/ May 1, 1:05 am

@ReallyVirtual: A huge window shaking bang here in Abbottabad Cantt. I hope its not the start of something nasty :-S May 1, 1:09 am

@ReallyVirtual@m0hcin all silent after the blast, but a friend heard it 6 km away too… the helicopter is gone too. May 1, 1:44 am

@ReallyVirtual@m0hcin http://bit.ly/ljB6p6 seems like my giant swatter worked ! May 1, 1:46 am

@ReallyVirtual@m0hcin the few people online at this time of the night are saying one of the copters was not Pakistani… May 1, 1:48 am

@ReallyVirtual@raihak I try, man, I try May 1, 1:57 am

@ReallyVirtual@raihak Funny, moving to Abbottabad was part of the ‘being safe’ strategy May 1, 1:57 am

@ReallyVirtual: Since taliban (probably) don’t have helicpoters, and since they’re saying it was not “ours”, so must be a complicated situation #abbottabad May 1, 2:02 am

@ReallyVirtual@raihak yep, the mad power cuts have reached abbottabad – 14 hours daily – luckily I have a generator AND a UPS at the coffee shop May 1, 2:03 am

@ReallyVirtual@tahirakram yea. *hides his giant swatter* May 1, 2:03 am

@ReallyVirtual@kashaziz technically, it is unidentified until identified, and it is a flying object, so year, why the hell not, we have seen weirder stuff May 1, 2:04 am

@ReallyVirtual@tahirakram they’re not saying anything May 1, 2:05 am

@ReallyVirtual: The abbottabad helicopter/UFO was shot down near the Bilal Town area, and there’s report of a flash. People saying it could be a drone. May 1, 2:10 am

@ReallyVirtual@wqs figures, if they have the right to shoot planes flying over the president house, the must have the same instructions for PMA May 1, 2:14 am

@ReallyVirtual@smedica people are saying it was not a technical fault and it was shot down. I heard it CIRCLE 3-4 times above, sounded purposeful. May 1, 2:15 am

@ReallyVirtual@tahirakram very likely – but it was too noisy to be a spy craft, or, a very poor spy craft it was. May 1, 2:16 am

@ReallyVirtual@smedica It must have been more, I started noticing the helicpoter when the noise got irritating – which part of Abbottabd are you in? May 1, 2:20 am

@ReallyVirtual@smedica I live near Jalal Baba Auditorium May 1, 2:23 am

@ReallyVirtual@smedica ‘safer’ is a relative term that has lost its meaning in Pakistan May 1, 2:26 am

@ReallyVirtual: Here’s the location of the Abbottabad crash according to some people >>> http://on.fb.me/khjf34 May 1, 2:34 am

@ReallyVirtual: Two helicpoters, one down, could actually be the training accident scenario they’re saying it was >> http://bit.ly/ioGE6O May 1, 2:43 am

@ReallyVirtual: and now I feel I must apologize to the pilot about the swatter tweets :-/ May 1, 3:05 am

@ReallyVirtual: And now, a plane flying over Abbottabad… May 1, 3:39 am

@ReallyVirtual@raihak The day there is uninterrupted electricity in Lahore for a whole month, I will start packing my bags, until then, Abbottabad is home May 1, 4:14 am

@ReallyVirtual: Interesting rumors in the otherwise uneventful Abbottabad air today May 1, 8:00 am

@ReallyVirtual: Report from a taxi driver: The army has cordoned off the crash area and is conducting door-to-door search in the surrounding May 1, 8:02 am

@ReallyVirtual@kursed What really happened doesn’t matter if there is an official story behind it that 99.999% of the world would believe May 1, 8:08 am

@ReallyVirtual@kursed Another rumor: two copters that followed the crashed one were foreign Cobras – and got away May 1, 8:10 am

@ReallyVirtual@ahmedbilal @kursed Sadly. We should start learning how to spread believable stories and recreate a reality that suits us. May 1, 8:12 am

@ReallyVirtual@kursed True, but stranger things have happened. I just hope they don’t find my giant helicopter swatter. Must hide it :-/ May 1, 8:15 am

@ReallyVirtual: Report from a sweeper: A family also died in the crash, and one of the helicopter riders got away and is now being searched for. May 1, 8:21 am

@ReallyVirtual@kursed Well, there were at least two copters last night, I heard one but a friend heard two, for 15-20 minutes. May 1, 8:24 am

@ReallyVirtual@kursed I think I should take out my big blower to blow the fog of war away and see the clearer picture. May 1, 8:24 am

@ReallyVirtual: I guess Abbottabad is going to get as crowded as the Lahore that I left behind for some peace and quiet. *sigh* May 1, 8:27 am

@ReallyVirtual: Wondering what would be the right music to play in the coffee shop today… May 1, 8:35 am

@ReallyVirtual@kursed so, not that hard anymore I guess? May 1, 8:35 am

@ReallyVirtual: I guess I should unsubscribe from the #abbottabad search on twitter before it kills my machine. Leave Abbottabad alone, Osama and Obama… May 1, 8:41 am

@ReallyVirtual@harisn we are both right outside Islamabad :-) May 1, 8:47 am

@ReallyVirtual: I need to sleep, but Osama had to pick this day to die :-/ May 1, 9:03 am

@ReallyVirtual: Uh oh, now I’m the guy who liveblogged the Osama raid without knowing it. May 1, 9:41 am

@ReallyVirtual: and here come the mails from the mainstream media… *sigh* May 1, 9:42 am


How Nieman Journalism Lab optimized for social, curation and search

Stories from niemanlab.org constantly show up in Twitter and Facebook streams, email roundups from Summify, and curated pages from Paper.li. Conducting Google searches for three items that Neiman recently covered – slate redesign, pearl project and byliner – show Neiman on the coveted first page of each search results page.

With no real research to back up this claim (remember, this is just my personal blog, not a product of journalism), I’m sure the key to the lab’s success is that they do a great job surfacing stories that I, and the people I follow, find helpful, informative and useful.

The sites and humans that I follow frequently share links to Neiman because they consistently provide interesting content that is often news to their audience of journalists. Those links increase the chance that Neiman stories will show up high in search engines, social streams and curated sites.