My latest ‘in thing’ is Buffer. I love it.
It’s not without faults – I’ll get to that in a minute – but it has been a godsend to me. Here’s why:
I know that the modern writer today has to do all his or her own publicity and that means social media-ing the heck out of life to build a fan base who will buy your work and encourage others to do likewise. But I find I spend so much time doing the publicity sometimes that I don’t actually do any writing.
For this reason, I limit myself to just an hour or so each day to spend on Facebook and Twitter, swiftly sifting the trash and looking at the good stuff.
The problem is I see a lot of good stuff!
Now I could just enjoy it, like it, favorite it or whatever but ultimately ignore it. But then I’d be like a parasite – only sharing my writing with others and not passing on ‘the love’ as we’re all supposed to do in this world of ‘share and be shared’.
So here’s the dilemma:
If I don’t share things I see, I’m a parasite, my conscience breaks down and I weep like a baby.
But if I share all the stuff I like, I end up with like a million tweets and shares all within an hour. Most of it gets missed because it’s just too much too soon. Even if I went back to spending my life on social media and never writing seriously again, finding tweetable things is a bit like waiting for the proverbial bus – nothing worth waiting for then a load all come at once.
So what to do?
Well, find a service which can help you space it all out, of course.
I’ve tried other websites and services but, you know, I can’t even remember their names. I tried one site twice. The first time it needed a degree in math to figure out how to use the thing and the second time I couldn’t remember how to log in. Once I did, nothing I set up had changed and nothing was published no matter how pretty my ‘personal page’ looked with all its columns of stuff I’d saved on different media all lined up. It would have been easier just to do it all myself in the first place. Too complex for this Pooh bear brain.
Then I found Buffer.
Buffer is quick, easy to set up, free (of course) and once running it works like a charm. I downloaded the app to work on my Chrome browser too so that I can share anything I like even if it doesn’t have a Twitter link or any kind of link at all.
Buffer does it all for me. There is a limit to how many things you can share in a day. I can’t remember how much it is but I haven’t reached that limit yet and I use Buffer every day. However, if you join using the links I’ve given (just click on the word Buffer wherever you see it in this post) then you will get an extra post (and so will I too! 😉 ) for your account.
So now I can go on Facebook and Twitter for my hour and share a ton of stuff through Buffer and, instead it coming out like multicolored vomit from a greedy child at a birthday party, it will be shared evenly over the next twenty-four hours. You can fully adjust your settings dictating how the shares are to be spread and where to. I set mine to be tweeted but my Twitter is already set to send everything to Facebook too. You can arrange your Buffer as you like.
It’s not perfect however. I’ve noticed that pictures are a bit hit and miss. When you press the Buffer icon if you don’t see the picture you want to share come up in the pop-up there’s a good chance you send only your comment with no actual attachment or link at all. I’ve had a few people respond to my “Oh wow this is great” shares with a “what is?”
Also, occasionally, for some reason, a share fails. You need to keep a quick eye on your Buffer dashboard to see if this has happened and, if necessary, try it again. I’ve not worked out if this is a fault at the end of the thing I’m trying to share or with Buffer.
Despite these issues, Buffer‘s simplicity of use and versatility makes it far more useful than it is a pain. I highly recommend it to any writer who, like me, enjoys sharing the wealth of great things out there (and the plain silly, I’ll be honest) but doesn’t want to find the day has passed by and you’ve not managed to do a jot of writing, but at least the whole world knows about it.