A Rube Goldberg sketch of an overly complex machine
Over the past few months, I've been publishing a LOT of content on this blog, my Telerik blog, and on Twitter. To simplify the publicity of these blog posts, I have configured a small handful of services to automatically detect new content and broadcast it appropriately. What follows is a brief run-down of how I have configured this Rube-Goldbergian publicity machine.
It all starts with IFTTT
The main cog in this whole machine is a wonderful web application called IFTTT. Don't be intimidated by the acronym, it stands for If This Then That. This is a web application that listens for events from services that you use and triggers actions on other services that you use. The beauty of this whole thing is that the application is completely connected with OAuth tokens. My password never enters any of their screens.
A glimpse at the Actions available in IFTTT
IFTTT runs with a concept called recipes. These are the mini-programs that you will write to connect a trigger service with an action service. The almost 50 trigger services vary from the date, to foursquare checkins, and even ESPN sports score reports. The 60 action services are all kinds of notifications and publications like Twitter, SMS, and even a voice phone call.
Among the collection of trigger services are RSS feeds. This blog, along with my other blogs, all expose an RSS feed that IFTTT can consume. From there, I trigger a free service called Buffer.
Scheduling Tweets with Buffer
Buffer is a free web service that will publish messages to Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and App.Net With this service, you add links and messages to your Buffer message queue and at scheduled times the application writes one message at a time to the target service. The first messages added to the queue are written first, but the Buffer dashboard gives you an easy drag-n-drop interface to change the order of publication.
Once again, all authentication is done with OAuth, so I am not publishing passwords to this service either. I also have a plugin installed in Chrome (my current browser of choice) that enabled me to add links and retweets to my buffer without navigating to Buffer. Very handy.
Buffer has a free plan that will schedule posts to a single account on each of your connected services. On the free plan, you can only configure one schedule for messages to be posted. If you need more accounts or more schedule options, there is a paid subscription option that will manage more activity.
When Should I Post Those Tweets?
Finally, to ensure that I have the correct times to schedule these messages, I use another service called Tweriod. Tweriod has a free service that will analyze your tweets and interactions on Twitter and report a schedule of the best times to post tweets. This analysis can take some time, and operates asynchronously from your web interaction. Once you request a report, you should get a notification emailed to you in just a few minutes with your results.
Tweriod can be connected directly to Buffer, so that the scheduled times in Buffer can be automatically configured. Be sure to set your timezone properly in Tweriod so that you get a report with times that make sense to you.
Putting it all together
The connection of these items is a snap. With the Tweriod schedule configured in Buffer, I simply created a series of recipes on IFTTT with a Feed trigger that sends a message to Buffer.
My recipe to add Telerik blog posts to Twitter
Give IFTTT, Buffer, and Tweriod a try and let me know in the comments below if you figure out a better way to manage your publications or other cool IFTTT recipes that you've put together.