Something that web workers deal with throughout the day but don’t spend a lot of time talking about is the deluge of e-mail alerts, updates, and notifications that batter us like a cacophonous rain of data throughout the day, much of it due to the social media web sites that keep a modern web worker dialed in and informed.
Twimailer is a new service that aims to provide a lot more value to Twitter email alerts by putting Twitter profile data right into the alert email itself. This is something that could save web workers the time and effort of having to go to Twitter to check out the user’s details, so is certainly worth checking out.
Twitter alerts are notorious email-cloggers. They are both time consuming to churn through and not all that useful. In essence, each time a Twitter friend request arrives in your email inbox, it forces you to:
- Figure out if the Twitter username is meaningful.
Usually it isn’t, except sometimes you can suss out that usernames like “x9scjceffff” and “WebCamGirl899″ are spam accounts.
- Click through to the Twitter profile page.
Note that, at this point, we’ve looked at the e-mail subject line, clicked through to the e-mail detail page, and clicked through to the Twitter profile page to figure out if the person is someone worthy of following back.
- Let the investigation begin.
This is where a quick investigation usually takes place, that gets honed down to an instant over time. The number of friends and followers, the Twitter profile bio, the homepage, and, most importantly, a sense of what the person is tweeting about usually tells us if this is a person that we’d like to follow. And, if they get the thumbs up, we pull the trigger by clicking the “Follow” link.
Going through that process many times each day can be downright draining (and don’t forget cleaning up your e-mail afterwards as well!), so Twimailer has the potential to vastly cut down on Twitter e-mail alert management each day.
Getting started with Twimailer is fairly simple. You simply provide your email address and click a link in a verification email, which provides you with a twimailer.com email address. You then need to change your email address on your Twitter profile to the twimailer.com address, and then wait for your new-look alert emails to start being sent to you.
All of the elements that I mentioned as part of the “investigation” above – number of friends and followers, Twitter profile bio, homepage and recent tweets – are provided by the service. And the clincher is that there’s a nice big “Follow Back” link at the bottom of the email that lets you pull the trigger on following the profile, directly from your email. I believe the removal of the nuisance of clicking through to the Twitter profile (and then clicking “Follow” in cases where you want to follow back) alone makes this service worthwhile.
One potential concern with any service that you route email through, of course, is security. Chris Messina provides a primer on How to use Twimailer securely by using email filtering techniques to send the Twitter alerts directly to the Twimailer email address (via NerdAbout).
A check-in with Twitter search shows that many people are already finding Twimailer useful:
thattalldude: Clicked the email addy box on #twimailer, and a dropdown with 7 different emails popped up. Sadly, that isn’t all of my email addys.
Though a few people are having trouble receiving notifications.
johanhal: @arnteriksen I like the idea, but for some reason only about 1 outta 3 emails from Twitter gets picked up so far #Twimailer
How do you handle the influx of email alerts from social media web sites?