Making my Social Media better – Part 1 – dlvr.it

I realised a some time ago, that my twitter accounts had little to say about the world at all.

First, I need to make something clear, for a long time I run two separate Twitter accounts. I use the MikeSharpewritr as an extension to this site and associated extensions, while another was for gaming and personal things to share. Another was that I needed to get promoting a YouTube channel that I am working on with other people.

I used to use a service called TwitterFeed, but that was shut down about a year before I wrote this article. The last article it posted was my announcement for my attempt at NaNoWriMo 2016 from this site. The main purpose of TwitterFeed was to post a link to an blog post on blog sites whenever the RSS Feed got updated. I found the TwitterFeed on 26th August 2008, less than an month after getting in to Twitter itself. (I got in to Twitter on the 7th August 2008)

RSS feeds have been around for many years and were a major part of the Podcasting delivery systems, until people started putting their Podcasts on YouTube. This very site can let anyone to subscribe to my site. There is even a pair of links on every page for this site’s RSS Feeds under the Meta Section. In theory, RSS feeds can tell a computer if there has been an update without the need to load the full page and all it’s content. Podcast software will download the media files attached to RSS feed.

So, time for a replacement, and I’d rather like it to be “low” maintenance. I’d rather not be manually posting links everytime I want to share content from various sources. The initial recommendation was for Dlvr.it. I knew other people had been using this, and I’ve seen this was used as the Twitter app to post particular tweets in the past. One of the recommendations was from the TwitterFeed team, as a possible “replacement” to there own services.

As the new YouTube Channel needed Promotion, and I still wanted the built in Twitter tools available for possible Twitter account for that YouTube Channel. I just needed my personal twitter account share the video, ideally within a few hours later. But the question was how? It turns out that YouTube has RSS Feeds in the back end. It was more apparent about 8 years ago, when I was setting up Twitterfeed for a few sites, including this one. With a quick Google search, the method to find the RSS Feed address was soon found on the YouTube’s own Help pages.

With RSS feed address in hand, it was time to setup Dlvr.it. It was quite easy, as I could use my the intended Twitter account as Login. That will saved some time, when I choose the account to to share to.

Automated Feed Setup Screen in Dlvr.it as of 27 November 2017

DLVR.IT OPTIONS

Due changes to Dlvr.it made during writing, I will convey the “current” version of this service as of writing, not as it was when I started. During this time, both Twitter and Dlvr.it added support for 280 characters for English users such as myself.

After creating my account, I needed to tell the Dlvr.it which RSS feed I want to use. Since I already had one in already, this was easy. After it ran a check to see if the Address was a valid RSS feed, there came a new with a Series of options. Many options were commonly found on a many Podcatchers and RSS reader software. Refresh time, is one of the more common ones, which basicly was how often that feed was checked. Computers and services need to regularly check the RSS feed for changes before informing the User that a feed as been updated, so timer is how often they check the RSS feed.

Dlvr.it has the ability for the to check the post and post an appropriate image from the post in question. Quite often this will be first image within a Blog post, or the Youtube thumbnail. Both of these make a Tweet standout more as there will a image in addition to the link to a post in question.

Additional options include an automatic Hashtag converter, and add auto Prefix/Suffix text on selected feeds. There are even filter options to prevent or allow certain content though via user generated rules.

Finally, I had to choose a Social Media platform to post to. As I signed up with a Twitter account this was already set up ready to post. Other sites include Facebook, and several others. I could add a second Twitter account, however to do this I would need pay, which I choose not to as this is for Personal use. This even had addition posting options, which is mostly the same the Feed’s own. This is mainly to create certain changes for each of the multiple accounts in which is unlocked with Pro mode.

THE QUEUE

One set of options that wasn’t present of Twitterfeed and most RSS Feed readers I have seen was the “Queue” options. Having a Queue meant I could add new content on the site all at once but was posted Twitter later on a schedule. Options allowed the site to post newest first or Oldest first, or ignore the queue post it all at once. A few extra options let the Dlvr.it to post older content if it was missed during the last refresh. Given my nature of posting my content in bursts, this would mean I could stretch one session out over a few days.

The Schedule window showed when in a 7 day week, when a post should go live. I could pick a time, and then choose to disable that time on certain days. For example, I choose to not post on Fridays at 11 AM for various reasons.

Schedule Screen showing the weekly schedule. Blue text is active, while Grey text is not.

By visiting the Queue window, I could check out what was due to come out and even edit the Tweet before it went was send out live. If there was more than one item in the queue, I could alter the order of when the queues when out. I could even change the time to be outside Schedule time, including making the post go live immediately.

One thing to note, is that dlvr.it by default was set to a US time zone, and not the the time in BST or GMT Time zone which is where live. I spend a week before I noticed that there was a time zone option, within the User options.

OTHER SITES ADDED

While the Taken Wolves of Felwinter YouTube channel was motivating factor to use Dlvr.it, I chose to add a few additional feeds as well. I started with the few remaining active feeds that I had used with Twitterfeed, I added the Feed from this site, and this sites YouTube channel, both added to the Queue. Quite a lot of the feeds that I used to power Twitterfeed have been discontinued due to their services being withdrawn or in some cases, I chose not to use the services soon after I set up Twitterfeed. In a few cases, a built in service released since initially setting up Twitterfeed is a better fit.

In total, I ended up with 4 feeds added. The only feed, that I’ve I not mentioned, posts images from Steam Screenshots function. As these Steam Screen shots are uploaded when I choose to, was inclined to use this.

CURATING A FEED

Finally, I added this sites Instagram, which uses it’s own login method. Unlike the other feeds I picked, I felt like I didn’t really want to have my Instagram feed being posted straight away, but on my time table, not on the next free slot on the feed. This is where Curated Feeds come in to play. For each post in a Curated feed would allows me to pick a time or to add to the queue when I felt like it. Unlike Normal feeds, this could be pushed to the next slot in the queue, pushing any existing post back, or right there at that time. Once a post was in the queue, it was like any other post in the queue.

THOUGHTS ON PRO (AS A FREE USER)

So far, I’ve been covering the “basic” functions that the free users have. While the restrictions can seem tight, but Dlvr.it can act like an all in one posting app, with support for many social media accounts. While having only 10 posts per day is fine for one Twitter account, from a few feeds that rarely updates more than once per day. Another limit was that only one Twitter account could be used. The Paid Pro give you the ability to get around these limits.

A few additional “Pro only” options are to Repost content, which is useful keep the impression of new content every few hours.

Currently, I’m not that interested in using the features given the cost. This was more to keep my Twitter account becoming very stale, with months between posts, which it had.

FINAL THOUGHTS…

For what Dlvr.it says it does, it does deliver on the “promises” for the services I required, and does so in away I liked. While not as “hands-off” as I initially said, but then my “hands-on” is certainly alot less than I would be doing for every post manually. If I had to make every post manually, it would end up not get posted.

As for the Goal of making the Taken Wolves Youtube channel getting more views? Initially, I thought it didn’t work, I did see an improvement after some time working tweaking some parts. However was not just done by the work of Dlvr.it alone: That in itself worth it’s own topic.

 

EDITOR NOTE: All images of this Article has been edited to remove identifiable information for privacy reasons.

Leave a Reply