Do you have a Twitter account for your company, and would like to give employees access to post to it? Would you like to start your own Twitter group and allow others to join and post their own relevant tweets? Twittbot may just be what you’re looking for.
What is Twittbot?
According to the website (twittbot.com), “TwittBot is a service that allows multiple people to publish to a single Twitter account, and for a single person to post to multiple Twitter accounts.” Developed by app developer Nick Davis (@davinic), it’s a free service that just launched in open beta on December 4th.
How Does it Work?
By creating a Twittbot account using your current Twitter username and password, you can allow others to post to that account with a simple @ reply. This allows you to create your own groups on Twitter. You can keep the group (or “bot”) closed (meaning that only authors that you allow will be able to post tweets to the account), or open it up for anyone to post.
To test this out, I created a Twitter account called coffeelinks (for my inner coffee geek). I kept the coffeelinks bot closed and invited others to join my group. I added those who were interested as authors, as shown below (click to enlarge):
I then told all allowed users to post links to coffee-related news, recipes, reviews, etc. to @coffeelinks. When they did, it showed up on the coffeelinks Twitter profile like this:
The post is preceded by the author’s username, so you can see who is posting to the account. I’m able to monitor the status of all posts through the Twittbot user interface and decide whether or not to publish a certain post. I can unpublish posts, or even allow authors who aren’t on my list (since the bot is closed).
Overall, I think Twittbot is a useful tool. It makes “group tweeting” and community-building via Twitter pretty easy – either for a company that wants a new way to engage customers on Twitter, or an individual who wants to start a Twitter group around his/her hobby. Twittbot does, however, have a little way to go before it becomes the robust group Twittering tool that I know it can be.
Looking through the user interface, there are quite a few bits that are still in development and “coming soon” – such as pro settings for auto-following, spam filtering, and update frequency. Also, once you’re in the UI, there are no links to help documentation or even back to the Twittbot homepage (where you’ll find a link to the tutorial). While the UI is pretty intuitive, it wasn’t entirely clear to me how to do certain things (like post to more than one account), and I ended up having to send a tweet to Nick Davis for his help. To his credit – he did respond quickly and with clear instructions for a single user who wants to post to more than one account.
Another drawback is that it can take up to 10 minutes for a post to be published to an account. One of the coffeelinks group members pointed this out to me – he mentioned that he posted a link to @coffeelinks; but it wasn’t showing on the @coffeelinks page. It eventually did; but I think 10 minutes is a bit long to wait in the Twitterworld.
What I’d Like to See
What I’d eventually like to see is a better way to manage multiple Twitter accounts through one Twittbot interface – and clearer instructions for doing so. As far as help documentation goes, I’d like to see a help section fleshed out and added to the UI for easy access – without having to go back to the homepage.
I’d also like to see options for how authors’ usernames are shown on tweets they post. Currently, they’re shown in parentheses at the beginning of the tweet. Depending on how you plan to use this tool, you may instead want author usernames to appear at the end of the tweet, or perhaps not appear at all (useful if you have several people at your company posting to a single company Twitter account; but you want tweets on that account to all show as coming from the company rather than individual employees).
Twittbot has a lot going for it, and a lot of potential as well. I recommend taking a look at it if you’re interested in building your own Twitter community.