I believe in only certain kinds of automation when it comes to Twitter. I’m against automatic direct messages because they come across as fake and insincere. I’m against automatically following someone just because they follow you. But I am all for automating select blog and podcast feeds into a Twitter stream, as long as it is done strategically.
There are many tools that will send a feed into Twitter, usually with the title of a post followed by a short URL. A short description is optional as is adding a few words as a preface to the tweet. I see this kind of automation as laying a nice foundation to a Twitter stream.
I’ve been using Twitterfeed to handle integrating my blog and podcast feeds into my Twitter stream, but I recently learned about competing service dlvr.it and was given a demo of the app the other day. First impressions? I like it, and here’s why.
Routes. Twitterfeed lets you take a single feed source and publish it to multiple destinations, so my Dashboard ends up listing each feed and then all the destinations where they publish. dlvr.it takes a different approach by letting you set up “routes” starting with multiple sources and ending up in multiple destinations. Suddenly, you’re not thinking in terms of “this feed goes to these places and then this feed goes to these places.” Instead, the thought process is “here are all these different feeds that I’d like to go to this destination or these destinations.” It’s the groupings of feeds that matter.
For example, I want all the feeds from my blog posts and podcasts each week to go to the Twitter account I set up for them (@alizamedia). With Twitterfeed, I have to set up each feed, one at a time, and then choose @alizamedia as the destination account. With dlvr.it, I can choose 10 different feeds as the sources and feed them to @alizamedia as one route. I could also feed my blog posts geared toward working moms into my motherhood-oriented Twitter account, so I’m pulling content from multiple sources in one fell swoop.
Stats. How you group and send feeds is just the tip of the iceberg with dlvr.it, though. You get stats, too. You can see the number of clicks, posts and clicks per post for each of your routes. Then you can see trends graphs for click volume and another for posts volume. You can also check out activity, and see which post got how many clicks per day.
Under the “Social” category for stats, you can see the number of followers who shared a dlvr.it link from your Twitterstream into theirs i.e. retweeted it, but dlvr.it also calculates what it calls your “Direct Reach” and “Extended Reach.” Here’s how it defines those terms:
Direct Reach: Direct Reach looks for the dlvr.it short url generated that was posted to your stream, then counts any of your dlvr.it short urls that are outside of your stream plus the number of followers of anyone who retweeted your link. So Direct Reach is the number of people who have seen your content via other sources that have retweeted your dlvr.it short URL.
Extended Reach: In calculating extended reach, it looks for any use of your content item’s long URL. This is a great number to have, because it doesn’t matter if the URL to your content was shortened by dlvr.it or any other URL-shortening service, or was used in its original form. Each time dlvr.it finds a link somewhere to your content, it then calculates the follower count of the person who posted the link and adds it to the total, giving you a pretty good idea of how far reaching your content is.
I’m not much of a stats and numbers geek, but these numbers are actually interesting to me; I haven’t seen this kind of calculation to not only show how many people have retweeted you but the number of people who have seen your content before. I’m all for apps that build in robust and useful statistics in addition to providing valuable functionality.
dlvr.it has a number of other features such as the ability to post directly from dlvr.it, being able to add hashtags as well as a front-end message to tweets generated by the service, being able to filter feeds so only posts with certain keywords hit your Twitterstream, as well as setting feed pull frequency, maximum number of new items, and daily post limits. Many of these features can be found on services like Twitterfeed, too, but one that I didn’t recognize from elsewhere is the ability to “trickle” content over time into your stream, and in an upcoming version of dlvr.it, you’ll be able to set the frequency that content is trickled into your stream.
How do you deliver content from other content sources into your Twitter stream?
Related GigaOM Pro Research: Report: The Real-Time Enterprise