A few weeks ago, I got a DM from Justin Vincent asking me for feedback on his latest project - TweetMiner. I’ve been trying it on and off for a while now and I must say that I’m impressed - it’s a solid piece of work that knows its target users.
What Is TweetMiner?
Available as an Adobe AIR application as well as a traditional web app, TweetMiner provides a dashboard for one or more twitter accounts. Each account has a set of streams associiated with it - by default you get the usual tweets from your friends, mentions, direct messages etc. You can add streams from individual users and/or twitter searches.
Each Twitter account can post an update immediately or schedule one for the future including the ability to add them to a “recurring schedule” (more on this below).
As well as the Twitter streams, you can add RSS feeds but this is no feed reader to rival Google Reader or NewsGator. The feed entries can be instantly tweeted or scheduled and you get to edit the message before it is sent, unlike Google Reader’s Send To feature.
TweetMiner’s Recurring Schedule
The recurring schedule is designed to prevent users from flooding their Twitter stream with updates when they find a rich seam of new information that they want to share.
You can configure the schedule to post queued tweets every few minutes and (optionally restrict it to between certain hours) for example every thirty minutes between 8am and 7pm.
TweetMiner Is For Power Users
After just a few minutes of using TweetMiner, it quickly becomes obvious that the tool is aimed squarely at Twitter’s power user community - the so-called social media gurus.
The real-time web loves breaking news and integrating RSS feeds with Twitter is a common strategy amongst those wanting to build followers. That is not to say that TweetMiner is for bots and spammers - feed entries are not mindlessly tweeted, instead the user must choose the items to tweet and can edit the text before sending.
TweetMiner is monetised via a Freemium pricing model that means users must pay to user large numbers of twitter accounts, scheduled messages or track their links via bit.ly. All these features will appeal to marketers looking to leverage Twitter and connect with large numbers of people.
It’s Not Perfect
It’s still early days for TweetMiner, but since Justin asked for my feedback I’ll list a few comments here:
- The page layout does not make great use of the limited screen real-estate on my Linux netbook.
- I’d like to see my RSS feeds merged into one stream - not an issue with just five streams but with many hundreds of potential news sources that would affect user experience.
- I’m not sure what advantage the Adobe AIR version brings? Using TweetMiner offline doesn’t make much sense to me - perhaps Justin could give us an answer in the comments.
- The "Please Upgrade to Firefox 3.5" dialog on every page is pretty annoying. After closing this once, I’d like to see it revert to a ribbon across the top of the page.
Not too many complaints there - I like Twetminer a lot and think it is definitely on track to become a very powerful tool. Oh, and I’d really, really like to see an API released for it too.
So I do recommend that you check TweetMiner out and I’ll be following its progress with interest (and using it to post to Twitter from time to time). You can sign up using the link below:
Finding Breaking News To Post To Twitter
Of course, you need to find some good sources of breaking news to get the most out of TweetMiner - preferrably sources that few other people use. So instead oof just tweeting the latest posts from TechCrunch or Mashable (good though both those blogs are), try thinking creatively to find interesting content.
Here are some of my tips for building a network of great sources of new and diverse content:
The Old Guard
Many of the first generation of social websites are still going very strong, with loyal, intelligent users that like to discuss the issues of the day in great detail. Sites like Slashdot, MetaFilter (and its simian sibling) are still great. Whilst K5 is good for US politics and B3ta is great for
peurile British humour.
Google Trends & Alerts
Feeds Of Search Results
Google doesn’t like to release its SERPs via RSS, but luckily there is
Smaller Social Sites
There are loads of niche social bookmarking sites out there if you look beyond Digg and Reddit. Places like Kirtsy, Mister wong and Twine have gold in their upcoming story sections. You can also check out this long list of niche social media sites on Traffikd.
Delicious Tags & Networks
I rave about how useful delicious.com is all the time and I am constantly amazed at how few people use it to its full potential.
Build a great Delicious network or grab an RSS feed from a number of tags and plug it into TweetMiner to find those gems that people will want to read again later. You could always add me to your delicious network too!
Do you know of any other great but unsung sources of breaking news of interesting content? Let me know in the comments.
Creative Commons licensed photo by cobalt123.