I love Social Media.
I “waste” more time than I should on facebook, twitter, and email (not really social media, but I check it almost as obsessively). I also tend to follow the statistics on my blogs fairly closely. It’s thrilling to watch my stats go up. It’s kind of like a game I play with myself, to see if each month will be higher than the month before.
I have two monitors that I use: the one on my laptop (of course), and then a second monitor that I keep Tweetdeck up on. I used to love this app because I could see updates from twitter AND facebook all at once, in different columns. Now, tweetdeck is no longer supporting facebook, but I can still see twitter updates, mentions, direct messages, and all the hashtags I follow (such as #kinderchat). It is a very handy tool, and I’m glad my husband told me about it (it took a little convincing to get me to use it). Tweetdeck though, is not the app I was referring to in the title.
I used to be one of those people that would log on to facebook, see a bunch of cute pictures, and share them on; one after another, after another. I didn’t like “spamming” people’s walls, but knew I’d forget later, and wanted to share them for one reason or another. Other days, I’d have some extra time to read a few articles that I had open on my computer, and share out the ones I thought were relevant or interesting. Again, I would often share out several articles in a row. This drove ME crazy, and I’m sure it drove other people crazy.
My husband offered a solution that he found to this problem. It’s called Buffer. For free, you can “buffer” up to 10 pictures, articles, etc on facebook, and up to 10 articles, etc on twitter. You can also connect it to other accounts such as LinkedIn and App.net. I believe you can have it buffer up to 10 items on EACH account, but haven’t tested that theory. I rarely use it for twitter, but usually keep mine full on facebook. For $10/month, you can have unlimited items waiting in your buffer.
So, what does it do? Well, it’s sort of like putting items on hold for you. It will hold the pictures or articles, and then post them at regular intervals of your choosing. This way, you aren’t spamming people’s walls or twitter feeds with post after post. I have mine set to posting for me 2 times/day. My husband has his set to at least 3, since he has the unlimited account, and has upwards of 100 items in his buffer.
Sharing on facebook
If you are on facebook, and see something you want to share, click the share button, just like normal. When the box comes up, you click on the green buffer button (see “Snapshot 1”).
You will then get a box that looks like “Snapshot 2”. Here, you can highlight which account you want to use to post the article or picture. The darker box is the account you are going to post it to. Here, you can see, I chose my facebook account. If I wanted twitter to post it instead, I would click the facebook button to de-select it, and click on the one with my twitter avatar to select it instead.
Any accounts you’ve linked your buffer account to would show up in the upper left corner. Also, if your twitter and facebook accounts aren’t linked, and you want to share something to both audiences, you can select both apps to post. You can also add any headings or comments you’d like about the object at the top (where it says “Found at buff.ly…”). I usually leave the link showing, but you can delete that as well if you’d like.
A word of caution. I learned the hard way that some links will not buffer for whatever reason. Most do. But, if the picture isn’t showing up, when it tries to post your link, it will post only your comments. Unless you want your friends to mock you endlessly for posts that don’t make sense, make sure the picture is there, as it does above. My friends would never do something like that – yeah right. 😉
You will then get a green box that says “You have successfully added another post to your Buffer.” (or something to that effect). It will then take you back to Snapshot 1. Just hit the x to cancel out of the share window.
If you are using the free version, and already have your maximum number of items on hold, you will get a blue box like in Snapshot 3. This is telling you that your item was NOT put in to your buffer. You will have the choice to upgrade to “Awesome,” which is their for pay version, or cancel out. At this point, I usually cancel out of the window, and go back to just sharing it out the old fashioned way.
Sharing from other locations
If you want to share things that are not necessarily on facebook, say you are reading an article online somewhere, you get a button on your toolbar you can click. The picture here titled “toolbar” shows how it looks on Chrome. The buffer button is the black one to the right of the one that says Pin (that is a shortcut to pinning things on Pintrest).
When you click the button with the stacked up diamonds, you will get a window that looks just like Snapshot 2. You go about putting it in your buffer the exact same way. Again, make sure the article/item you want to link to is showing up beneath the link name, or you will waste space in your buffer, and will post something that is blank. As my 11 year old step son says, “AWKWARD!”
While Buffer may not truly be “The One App to Rule Them All”, I do wish more people knew about it. There are some people who I follow, that while I enjoy the content they share out, I don’t appreciate seeing 7-10 posts in a row, several times a day. That many links back to back really tempts me to unfollow them.
You want to share out articles (and blog posts). You want to have people pay attention to them. You want your followers to get all the value you saw when you decided to share it out in the first place. Use buffer. It will spread out those posts, and have people take notice to what you are sharing. Too many in a row, and people will just ignore your tweets and your links.
This post was previously published under the title “One App to Rule Them All.”
An article posted at a later date about the growth of Buffer in a short time.