May 12, 2010 3 Comments
For a long time, I’ve used Twitter in two modes – “live” mode, where I’m uploading an interacting in real time, and “delayed” mode, where I make use of time-delayed tweeting.
I use the Hootsuite client and the “Hootlet” toolbar for the latter – Hootsuite has an excellent capacity for scheduling tweets.
“Timed” tweets have sometimes gotten a bad rap because of the fear of spamming behavior. However, scheduling tweets can, in fact, be a very helpful way to communicate with your network. Here are three reasons why (and how) I use them.
1. The audience on Twitter at any given time is always changing. If you put out a tweet at 8:45 am, and someone logs in at 9:30 who really would have benefited from that information, guess what? It’s probably lost. Since the audience is changing throughout the day, it is wise to spread out your informational tweets (sharing of interesting links, etc.) throughout the day to reach a larger and more diverse audience. Most people that know me know I’m an early-morning guy, and I do most of my information curation/writing between 6-9 am. But many of those tweets are then timed to show up all throughout the day and into the evening. Because only a small percentage of us (a very predictable group, by the way – you know who you are!) are on the early morning Twitter train.
2. Not only do you touch a greater number of people by timing your tweets, you can also help your network pals by timing re-tweets of their stuff. Most RTs happen within 5-45 minutes of the original tweet. Which means that the tweet is spread to a broader audience, but still one limited by that time slot. Simply time-delaying a RT to reach a different group 2 or 5 hours later is doing a wonderful favor to the author of the tweet, and the recipients who see the information.
3. Timing tweets allows you to avoid avatar overload. Some folks have a whole bunch of informational tweets lined up, and they hit the tweetstream all at once. Hate to break it to you, but that’s not a good way to get people to read your stuff. It’s like someone coming up to you at a party and overwhelming you with train-of-thought babbling. Space them out and people will be less inclined to tune you out. It’s just…more polite that way.
Now, I have to emphasize that you can’t time-delay live interaction. When I’m actively discussing or bantering or pretending to be a Tweet-up Comic, that’s all “live.” But I also feel that an important part of social networking is sharing information and resources. That’s where timed tweeting is a wonderful tool. And, if I might put in a plug here (disclosure: no fiduciary relationship; I just like them!), the folks at Hootsuite have developed a great tool to enable it. The “Hootlet” allows you to be on a page, click the toolbar button, and it presents you with a compact URL and (usually) the page title – making it very easy to compose a tweet on the fly, AND schedule it for later (or publish immediately).
So, “timed” tweets are not evil. In fact, they’re a great way to help everyone. Take advantage of them!
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