Author Archives: SocialOomph

Which Of Your Twitter Followers Have The Most Clout?

If you have a few hundred or a few thousand followers, you will know how difficult it is to identify people from that list whom you would perhaps like to develop a better relationship with. It is a very laborious exercise to say the least.

Now we have made it extremely easy for you to do just that.

We call the new feature, “Followers With Clout”.

It analyzes all your followers and figures out who of them have the most people following them. In other words, we identify the folks who follow you who have the widest reach and audience for the tweets that they write.

You think it will benefit you if you could develop a working relationship with those folks, and have them tweet about you or your business to their followers? Of course it will.

Remember, these people are already following you. They have already expressed an interest in what you have to say. In addition, since they are following you, you can communicate with them in private via direct messages (just make sure you’re following them back before sending them a DM).

To access the Followers With Clout feature, login to your SocialOomph account, and click Followers, Clout in the menu.

It is available to SociaOomph Professional users and to people doing the Free Trial of Professional. As always, this new feature is included in the current subscription price of Professional.

Easily Segment Your Tweet Stream with SocialOomph Channels

When you’re following a substantial number of friends, it becomes near impossible to focus in on tweets that come from a subset of your friends. Those tweets are merged with the rest and you have to hunt for them, and worse, you may miss some if you don’t page back far enough.

We have now solved that problem for you with SocialOomph Channels.

With Channels, you can group Twitter users and view only those tweets that come from those users in a “mini” or “segmented” tweet stream. In other words, all the other tweets in your stream magically disappear, leaving only the tweets from those users that you have included in a channel.

It’s suddenly super easy to focus in on a few friends, or isolate tweets from users that tweet about a specific topic that interests you.

What’s more, you don’t even need to follow a Twitter user to include that account in a channel. That’s right, you can build a channel of Twitter users whom you follow and whom you don’t follow, all in the same channel.

In short:

  1. You can group Twitter users into a “channel” and we will show you their tweets, sorted from the newest to the oldest;
  2. You do not have to follow any of the Twitter users that you include in your channels; and
  3. You can define an unlimited number of Channels, meaning you can build as many private and segmented tweet streams as you wish.

Do we hear, “spying on the competition without following them?”

The ability to define custom channels is available to SocialOomph Professional users, and is included in the low monthly subscription fee.

We have not forgotten about our Free users. We’ve defined a number of system channels that you can view at your leisure, and see what the celebrities, musicians, and politicians are tweeting. Plus, you get breaking news from several sources, and if bargain shopping is your thing, there’s even a free channel that gives you savings and deals alerts from several sources.

To access Channels, login to SocialOomph.com, and click Monitors, Channels in the menu.

Why We Now Require CAPTCHA

On Tuesday morning, September 1st, 2009, our site went down from being overloaded by spammers who ran multiple automated scripts against the site to add thousands of Twitter accounts and hundreds of thousands of spam tweets.

To prevent this from happening again, we implemented reCAPTCHA on the forms that add a new account and add a new scheduled tweet.

That is the only way to effectively block automated scripts from abusing those forms.

We have had requests from users to remove the CAPTCHA from those forms and implement it only on the login form. Unfortunately that will not help. With CAPTCHA only on the login form, spammers can still run their scripts. All they have to do is let the script present them with the CAPTCHA at login, and then they are off to the races and can let their script run against the other forms as before.

Blocking of IP addresses also does not work, because the spammers simply hop from one IP address to the next using proxy servers.

We realize this is an inconvenience. But, in the end it is just one additional form field that must be completed, and it adds a few seconds to the completion of the form. We trust that folks will understand the necessity.

The benefits are that the system performance and system uptime are better for everyone, and our service’s standing with Twitter is not jeopardized by the gazillion of spam tweets that the spammers want to push through our service to Twitter.

Professional users are not presented with the reCAPTCHA challenge on the new tweet form for two reasons, namely: a) spammers rarely want to reveal their true identities via PayPal payments, and b) Professional users have access to the bulk file upload feature that makes running scripts unnecessary for adding a lot of tweets.

Update – Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009 at 2:30 PM EST: We have listened to you and have now modified the CAPTCHA challenge on the new tweet form to appear only occasionally. We trust that this will bring balance between site security and usability.

TweetLater.com Changing Its Name To SocialOomph.com

From Monday, August 31st, 2009, TweetLater.com will be no more and will be known as SocialOomph.com.
SocialOomph Logo

The transition to the new name takes place over the weekend of August 29th and 30th.

Why The Change?

To date we have been focusing on providing productivity solutions for Twitter users. We decided to change our name to allow for future expansion into other social media solutions, and to ensure that our brand does not conflict with any current or future legal rights of the Twitter organization.

To allay any speculation, we want to make clear that this is an unsolicited, proactive and preemptive action on our side.

What Do You Need To Do?

TweetLater Users

To ensure that you enjoy an uninterrupted service, please do the following:

  1. In your email program or service, white-list the email address emailservice@socialoomph.com. This will ensure that you continue to receive your keyword alerts, and other email communication from us.
  2. In your browser, update your bookmarks to point to http://www.socialoomph.com. This is for your convenience only. After the transition, all traffic to tweetlater.com will be automatically redirected to socialoomph.com.
  3. If you are using a Status Feed, change “tweetlater” to “socialoomph” in the URL after August 31st. We will also automatically redirect your links to feeds.socialoomph.com.
  4. Your login credentials and the content of your account remain the same. No need to do or change anything.
  5. Look forward to new and exciting additions to our service!

TweetLater Professional Users

Apart from the recommended actions above, you do not need to change anything. Your subscription and your payments are not affected by this change.

TweetLater Affiliates

Your affiliate links to TweetLater.com will continue to work and track into the future. We will automatically redirect your links to SocialOomph.com. Your commissions are also unaffected.

Nevertheless, to avoid confusion in the marketplace, please do the following as soon as possible after August 31st:

  1. Update your affiliate links. You will need to change “tweetlater” to “socialoomph” in your links. The rest of the URL remains the same.
  2. Update the text of your promotional material to refer to SocialOomph instead of TweetLater.
  3. If you are using our banner graphics, we will replace the banner graphics with new ones that promote SocialOomph instead of TweetLater. The change-over should be seamless for you.

TweetLater API Users

After August 31st, please change “tweetlater” to “socialoomph” in your API call links. We will also automatically redirect any calls tweetlaterapi.com to socialoomphapi.com well into the future.

A New Future

We are very excited about this change because it broadens our scope from providing you with productivity solutions for Twitter to providing you with productivity solutions for all your social media activities.

For you and for us this represents a giant leap forward, which will stack even more benefits on top of those that you are already enjoying.

Add some OOMPH to your social media activities!

Partial TweetLater Outage Take Two

For a second weekend in a row, Twitter has put up defenses against a denial-of-service attack that also block all legitimate high-volume API calls from third-party applications such as TweetLater.

This issue started on Saturday afternoon (August 15th), and has been ongoing since then with very little support from Twitter and no communication about it on any of their status sites.

Please monitor the service notice that is posted above the blue menu tabs on TweetLater.com, which you will see after you have logged in to your account.

We will also publish updates here until the issue is resolved.

Update, Monday, August 17th, 1:39 PM EST: At 1:39 PM EST (10:39 AM PST) we started seeing activity from the Twitter engineers, saying that they were beginning to look into the issue.

Update, Monday, August 17th, 5:42 PM EST: Unfortunately, there is still no indication from Twitter regarding a timeframe for them solving the issue. Several other applications are affected by the same issue and other API issues at present. Some are rendered completely inoperative, while others can only limp along at best.

Update, Monday, August 17th, 8:15 PM EST: We have now enabled all Twitter automation. The Twitter API appears to be functional again.

Partial TweetLater Outage Due To Twitter Denial Of Service Attack

Early on Thursday morning Twitter suffered a denial-of-service attack.

As part of their defense against the attack, they blocked a large number IP addresses, including, we presume IP addresses that were making high-volume calls to their API.

TweetLater’s IP addresses were also blocked in the process, since we normally make more than 40 API calls per second in the normal course of our business.

TweetLater was not part of the denial-of-service attack. We were simply caught up as innocent bystanders in Twitter’s defense against the actual attackers.

As part of the recovery from the attack, Twitter is unblocking the white-listed IP addresses of third-party applications such as TweetLater.

This unblocking process is a meticulous one and there are many IP addresses to unblock (not only TweetLater’s). According to Twitter engineers, the process can last well into Saturday.

We do not know exactly when the actual unblocking of TweetLater’s IP addresses will occur, but we do know they will be unblocked.

We appreciate your patience and understanding.

Normal service will resume as soon as the IP addresses have been unblocked.

Free trials of TweetLater Professional will be extended by a few days once normal service resumes.

Update: This thread on the Twitter Developer Talk Group shows that many other third-party applications were also blocked.

Update Thursday, 8:25 PM EST: We have now restored normal operations. We have also extended all active free trials of TweetLater Professional by one day.

Update Thursday, 8:38 PM EST: We spoke too soon. Sorry. Services have been paused again. Twitter is not out of the woods yet.

Update Friday, 12:24 PM EST: Some features of the online website have been restored. All automation processes are still in paused mode, because the Twitter API is still refusing to process any high-volume API requests.

Update Friday, 10:38 PM EST: There has been no change yet. The Twitter API is still refusing to process any type of volume API requests. Twitter has communicated that the denial-of-service attacks have been ongoing and have intensified on Friday, and that they believe those attacks are geopolitical in motivation. Twitter is still defending against the attacks, and has asked everyone to hang in there with them.

Update Saturday, 00:19 AM EST: The latest update from Twitter is that there is no, we repeat, no ETA on when these issues will be resolved.

Update Saturday, 8:12 AM EST: The status has not yet changed. The TweetLater web site is operational, but all Twitter automation is still paused. Blog feeds and Ping.fm automation are processing as usual. Please login to TweetLater and read the service announcement above the blue menu tabs for more details on what is paused and what is running normally.

Update Saturday, 5:44 PM EST: There has been complete and deathly silence from Twitter today. No communication about the status to application developers. We have cautiously turned on the process that publishes scheduled tweets to Twitter. There may be periods where it may be blocked, during which it will revert back to putting tweets that are older than two hours into an error condition. But, so far so good…

Update Saturday, 6:00 PM EST: Nope… As soon as you send even a small volume to the API their edge defenses simply block your IP address. It is high time that Twitter identifies who are their friends, and allow them to operate normally while defending against the bad guys. They already white-list our IP addresses, so they know exactly which IP addresses are approved ones that should be allowed to work normally.

Update Sunday, 10:55 AM EST: The status has not yet changed. All developers of third-party applications are still waiting for an update by Twitter regarding correction of the severe limitations currently imposed by the Twitter API. The last time Twitter has provided any meaningful update was on Friday.

Update Sunday, 1:54 PM EST: The status is still the same. Twitter has published an update saying that the attacks are still ongoing, and that they are still working on restoring normal access to the Twitter API. There still is no timeframe for the resolution of this issue.

Update Sunday, 4:29 PM EST: The Twitter API has now been opened for volume transactions. It appears that the issue has been resolved, and we have resumed normal operations. Existing free trials of TweetLater Professional have been extended by three additional days. Thank you for the patience and support that you have shown.

Learn How To Gain New Followers on Twitter In Two Easy Steps! Free and Guaranteed!

Credit goes to Joshua’s comment on the previous post for sparking the idea of writing this brief article. Joshua said:

The only way to follow more people is to increase your account followers. But, what can you do in order to increase your followers if you are stuck at one of the Twitter thresholds without dumping a lot of people who aren’t following you? Why don’t you write up a follow on article with that as the focus? I would love to know your thoughts…

The question, “How do I increase my followers if I am stuck at one of Twitter’s following limits,” assumes that the only, or the best way to gain more followers is through following more people yourself.

That is an incorrect assumption. It is a pity that some folks are teaching others that this is the way to gain more followers, because it completely distorts what Twitter is about.

Twitter is a social platform, and by definition, social means interaction.

So, here is the free and guaranteed process to gain more followers on Twitter.

1. Participate in the conversation.

That means, actually read what others (those whom you are following) are saying, and compliment, add to, or comment on what they are saying.

Your purpose for getting more followers is so that they will read what you tweet, correct?

So why on earth would you expect them to read what you tweet, if you are not willing to read what others tweet?

If everyone just wanted others to read what they tweeted, Twitter will morph into one massive megaphone where everyone is shouting and nobody is listening.

2. Induce others to compliment, add to, or comment on what YOU are saying.

You will never accomplish this if all you do is tweet your teeth whitening affiliate links.

You can only do this by thoughtful and helpful tweets, in other words, tweets that make other people feel good, tweets that they find interesting, and tweets that they find helpful.

This step is absolutely required because…

People voluntarily follow others whom they find interesting.

But, not only do they voluntarily follow you, they also voluntarily reply to you and voluntarily retweet your tweets.

And that is where the viral power of Twitter kicks in!

Every time that they reply to you, THEIR followers get to see your Twitter username, and every time they retweet you, their followers get to see your Twitter username and your tweet.

Most people are curious and will check out your profile, if they notice that someone they are following is finding you interesting. And if they like your profile, they will follow you.

Now, does this mean you need to be glued to your Twitter web interface 24 x 7? Absolutely not. You must be physically present for Step #1, participating in the conversation. But, for Step #2 you can easily use the tweet scheduling feature of TweetLater to compose your tweets, and post them even when you cannot be physically in front of your computer. Most people do not appreciate it when one person dominates their Twitter stream with a barrage of tweets. You can use our free scheduling engine to spread out your gems throughout the day.

It is not how you publish your tweet that matters, it is what you say in your tweet that matters. Great content will get reaction, and useless content will silently disappear into electronic oblivion, regardless of how you got it into your Twitter timeline.

Lastly, if your idea of interesting is the posting of quotes, please pry that idea loose and cast it into the outer regions of the universe. Quotes are completely overused on Twitter. Besides, people do not want to hear from Einstein, Twain, or Confucius.

People want to hear from YOU. That is why they followed you in the first place.

Best regards,

Dewald Pretorius
Owner of TweetLater.com

Bulk Unfollow – Why You Shouldn't and Why We Don't Offer It

A feature that many of our users request is the ability to bulk unfollow friends. We want to clarify here why you should not do it on your Twitter account, and why we do not offer that feature.

The rationale for the feature usually goes like this:

I want to follow a number of people and wait a few days to see who follow me back. Then I want to get rid of those who didn’t. This way I can remain within the Twitter following limits while still being able to follow new people. Then, each time I can wait for them to follow me back, bulk unfollow those who didn’t, and rinse and repeat. This is a great way to build a follower list.

Service X and service Y are doing it, so why can’t you guys also add it? It will be really nice, and if you add it I will definitely upgrade to Professional. Thanks.

It sounds like a reasonable request, doesn’t it? Except, there’s one problem with it.

Twitter hates it and calls it “following churn”.

In the Twitter rules they do reference following churn as an undesirable activity, but it is only on their Business for Twitter site that they more clearly reveal how they define following churn.

We quote:

To make sure you’re not spamming folks, we also suggest you avoid the following:

Following churn: Following and unfollowing the same people repeatedly, as well as following and unfollowing those who don’t follow back, are both violations of our terms of service.

In other words, Twitter will suspend your account if you do bulk unfollow.

There’s no “safe” way to do bulk unfollow. It’s like an on-off switch. Either you do bulk unfollow or you don’t. And if you do, you will get into trouble.

That’s the reason why we have not added bulk unfollow as a feature to TweetLater, and why we believe you should not do it on your Twitter account.

TweetLater Launches Keyword Following With Automated Twitter Profile Filters

Something a lot of folks asked for in TweetLater is the ability to search for people to follow based on keywords.

We’ve listened to your requests and have now built in that feature.

For each of your Twitter accounts, you can specify a range of keywords. We search for Twitter users who have recently published tweets that contain those keywords.

But, we don’t stop there. We know that many spammy accounts, which you wouldn’t want to follow, might also tweet about those keywords.

So, we’ve given you the ability to automatically filter the Twitter profiles and ignore the spammy ones.

You can filter based on the following:

  • Keywords and text snippets contained in the profile bio, latest tweet, and Twitter username.
  • The age of the Twitter account.
  • Number of tweets.
  • Following-to-follower ratio.
  • Number of followers.
  • Number of friends.
  • The language of the tweets.
  • Whether or not other TweetLater users have marked as spam or blocked the Twitter user.

We take those Twitter users who pass through your filters and place them on a queue where you can cast a human eye over them and make the final decision whether you want to follow them or not. (You can also tell the system to skip this review step and auto-follow those profiles).

Furthermore, you can pause and unpause the TweetLater Friend Finder at your discretion, and you can even tell it to automatically pause when it has found a certain number of potential friends, or when your own following-to-follower ratio exceeds a certain percentage.

It’s power at your disposal to follow quality Twitter users while you remain 100% in control. And in the process we save you the hundreds of hours you would have spent to achieve the same results.

Keyword following is available to TweetLater Professional users and, as always, this new feature is included in the low monthly subscription fee.

If you are a Professional user, you already have access to and will find the TweetLater Friend Finder keyword following under the Followers item in the menu.

If you have not yet taken up the 7-day free trial of Professional, then now is a great time to do so.

Now you can say buh-bye to spammers!

TweetLater Surges Past 100,000 Users Mark

Sunday, July 26th, 2009 marks an important milestone in the development and growth of TweetLater.com.

At around 2:00 PM EST our number of users went past the 100,000 mark.

Many thanks to all our wonderful users who have made this possible.

It is our honor and privilege that you have chosen us to improve your productivity on Twitter.