I have over 250 feeds in my RSS reader, and I keep up with a TON of news that way. I also often find things that I want to share. Unfortunately, due to my schedule, I often plow through hundreds of news items in one sitting, and if I were to share everything I wanted to, I would flood my Facebook and Twitter timelines and all my friends would unfollow me. I had often wished there was a way to have these sort of trickle into my timeline periodically, to avoid the flood.
Enter Buffer. Buffer is an awesome service that does exactly what I was looking for. You can load your ‘buffer’ with up to 10 posts (you can pay a small monthly fee for more, if you need them) and then those posts will trickle out to either Facebook, Twitter, or both at various times throughout the day.
The times that Buffer publishes your posts can be chosen in two different ways. By default, Buffer will analyze your Twitter and Facebook timelines to determine the best times for your individual usage. You can also specify certain times, if you prefer.
There are two main reasons I love Buffer:
1. It’s a ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ type service. Once I set everything up, I simply click a button to load content into my Buffer and that’s it – everything else is automated. I even get an email from Buffer when my queue is running low – a great reminder that I have room to add content, if I wish.
2. Multiple Posting Options. Buffer offers a handful of different ways to load content. You can use a Chrome plugin, a bookmarklet, integrate it into Google Reader’s ‘Send to’ option, or use email or the Android app. It’s genius, and it makes loading my Buffer completely easy no matter where I’m consuming content.
There are a few limits to Buffer, though. For starters, the free version only lets you load up 10 items at a time, and you can only have 1 Twitter and 1 Facebook account connected. If you want more of any of those, you’ll need to pony up $10/month for the ‘Pro’ service. The other downside is that Buffer auto-populates itself with the meta data of the page you’re looking at. Most of the time, this is NOT optimized for sharing via social networks, so I find myself having to tweak the post before I submit it to Buffer, which is somewhat annoying. It would be great if Buffer could automatically reformat its content to include just the headline of the post and the link, at least.
There are TONS of tools to help you be more productive and efficient with social media, and quite honestly, many of them are good, but many of them also require quite a bit of upkeep. Buffer solves this one problem for me, and it solves it really well. I would highly recommend Buffer if you’re a prolific sharer and want an easy way to spread that out a little bit.
Disclosure: I really honestly love Buffer. The links above are referral links – if you sign up through these links, I’ll get an extra post (and you start with an extra post, too!). Honestly, the free 10 posts are good enough for me.