Turning RSS Feeds into Tweets

Wouldn’t it be great if you could automatically turn RSS Feeds into Tweets! This would let you take your organization’s RSS Feeds, or any other RSS Feeds, and, after review, blast them out as Tweets. How’s that for valuable power ….

With our new TweetRoost “RSS Feed” feature you can do just that!

Here’s how it works: TweetRoost reads any RSS Feeds you want. It turns the items in the Feed, one by one, into TweetRoost ‘Pending Tweets,’ ready for you to modify the words; approve them; and then either Tweet them out immediately, or schedule them to be Tweeted whenever you want.

Let’s say you have an RSS Feed you like, for instance your own blog or Google News. You can direct TweetRoost to read that Feed. Once TweetRoost captures the RSS Items, it saves them into your queue, for instance: TweetRoost Unapproved Tweets. These unapproved Tweets can be edited, approved, and scheduled — or simply tweeted right out. Here’s an example of an Edit Screen.

And you can Tweet it right away, or schedule it for later.

You get complete access to all RSS items, and you’ll also have complete control over what is Tweeted and when. Sign up for a Trial of TweetRoost, see how this can work for you.


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Marissa Mayer and Saving Yahoo

When I was President of UniPress Software, five+ years ago, I wanted to have a personal email account outside of the unipress.com domain, where I received hundreds of work related messages a day. The first nice free email service I found was provided by Yahoo. I could also do some other neat things at Yahoo, both for personal and business purposes. I could get the day’s news, I could search the Internet, and I could keep track of the daily values of some stocks I followed or owned.

Along came Google. First chance I could, I started to do all my searching on Google. Who wouldn’t? It was way better. I left my news reading, financial info, and email on Yahoo. Once I looked at ‘gmail,’ which was better than Yahoo email right out of the box, I wanted to switch, and I quickly made an account with my name, but the task of moving my account over, and also alerting my friends and family of the change, was a big pain. So I just delayed and delayed, and continued to use Yahoo for a lot of my internet activities and email.

As an advertiser for my software company, I could consider both Yahoo and Google as excellent places to place ads. Both had many fans, both provide good leads, and they were the kind of places to advertise.

Then, about 2 years ago, I let a friend use my personal PC for an hour while visiting. I don’t know what they downloaded or accessed, but very soon after they left, my Yahoo contact list was hit by an ugly email spam message which came from ‘me.’ And my PC is very well protected from viruses. I found that this spam program which had infected my Yahoo email sent the message to each of my 500 or so contacts by sending to a list of 20 or 30 of the contacts at a time. Yahoo email would not let me (or the spammer) send to all 500 at once, so I could only take a few steps to make things better, like answering friends who thought I had lost my mind, changing my password, adding more layers of virus protection, etc. It was time for me to move to Google’s gmail.

So I did. I forward all Yahoo email (automatically) to my gmail account. I put a note into my emails about my new email address. I never use Yahoo email to send anything. My Yahoo presence is way down, and I would never advertise there now.

1) I find that spam messages, which are missed by the Yahoo email system, and end up in my email stream, never seem to get into my gmail. Google does this 1000% better.
2) The gmail interface and functionality are way better. Email is easier to read, write, access, search, etc, in so many ways.
3) gmail seems to be pretty impervious to getting taken over by spammers like my Yahoo email did. And every once in a while, of course, some friend using Yahoo email gets struck like I did, I get a crazy spam from them. Yahoo still hasn’t fixed this! As an aside, when this problem hit my Yahoo email account, I googled for the problem. Many thousands or tens of thousands of people had had their email accounts compromised. Amazing to me that this problem did not get solved. What were (are) they thinking in Yahoo-central?

So, finally, what should Marissa Mayer do? She should put a lot of technical energy into making Yahoo email better than gmail. The interface needs to be better. The functionality needs to improve greatly. The spam catching, both for random spam messages creeping into the normal email stream, and for spams which steal your email account need to be made bulletproof.

Philosophically, for Yahoo, this would be starting at the grass roots, and an email system which people loved would get Yahoo back a share of the community. The eyeballs reading Yahoo emails will look at news, financials, use their search (when convenient), and read the ads which companies place. If Facebook has the latest pix, news from friends and family, and Twitter has the latest micro-gossip, and Google has the search, Yahoo needs something. And an excellent email system is the way to start. Go get-em Marissa.


Canned Replies: Twitter and Customer Service

We’ve talked before about using TweetRoost for supporting your customers who contact you via Twitter and need Customer Service.  When we’ve looked at how organizations are using Twitter and TweetRoost, many replies are exactly the same as replies given to previous customers. For example, “@customer1 Follow @myaccount so I can DM you” or “@customer2 Our main phone number at @myaccount is 1-800-555-5555″ might appear over and over (but of course to different customers). Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to type the same text over and text when replying to customer Tweets?

Well, this is just what we’ve implemented in TweetRoost! The TweetRoost administrator can create a library of ‘Canned Replies.’ Any time you are replying to a customer, you can pull down this list from a dropdown menu, and clicking on the current dropdown choice pastes it into the Reply box automatically.

This new feature gives you three advantages over typing the same answer in over and over:

a. You save many keystrokes.

b. Your organization can give ‘standard’ answers which have been carefully prepared.

c. Much less time is needed to look up answers to common questions, or keep a list nearby: The list in TweetRoost is right on the Reply screen you are using!

TweetRoost has many features to enable Customer Service to excel when using Twitter: Automatic import from Twitter of Tweets which match certain criteria (“Search Monitor”) and then assignment of these to the best person to answer them; Canned Replies; Scheduled Tweets and DMs; Archiving of Tweets and DMs; Email notifications; and of course it is multiuser and multi-Twitter account.

Try it out at The MediaRoost Website.


Email Digests, TweetRoost, and Twitter

We’ve just added a new feature to TweetRoost: Email Digests.

Generally as users we can look at important Twitter events in real time, but sometimes that’s not possible. We may be in meetings, teaching a course, programming, or just out at the movies or at lunch. But everyone reads their email from time to time, so we’ve added a feature to TweetRoost: the opportunity to see Tweets, Mentions and Messages via email, and what better way than an Email Digest. And with Email Digests, you get one email every day or one every week — your choice. And what you do not get is one email per Twitter event, which can be very annoying.

Here’s how it works: First, you decide which type of Twitter received events you want to see in the Email Digest. You can see all Tweets received in your TweetRoost account; you can see only the Messages and Mentions; or you can see only the results of a Twitter Saved Search (set up in TweetRoost under a Search Monitor). You decide which email account to send them to, then you decide how frequently. That’s it.

Here’s what the setup screen looks like:

Email Digest Setup

Once you set up an Email Digest you’ll get emails from TweetRoost with the list of Tweets, Messages and Mentions, and you’ll also get links to TweetRoost and to Twitter to see more information about those items you want to know more about. Here’s a sample email:

Email Digest

To try out TweetRoost, just go to mediaroost.com, click on Try it Free, and you’ll have a running version within seconds. Enjoy.


Why we love listening to customers

A few days ago, we heard from a customer who was having some conceptual concerns using TweetRoost. He wanted to see the Replies sent from TweetRoost in the standard list, which would make it easier for his people to know that a Tweet from one of his users had been replied to.

At first, we suggested making an Auto-Assignment rule. This would allow his staff to be assigned either via Round Robin or based on some Tweet content criteria, and each person could then work on their own list of Tweets and create Replies; and they’d know which ones they’d answered just by looking in TweetRoost at their own list of Tweets and Replies.

But that was not ideal, since it would be hard to see at a glance which Reply corresponded to which Tweet. So we suggested a simple method of marking whether a Tweet had been replied to; that seemed great, especially in this customer’s case, where some Tweets might go into a pool which anyone could work on. But the customer had a better idea: How about put the Reply inline, so the list of Tweets would show which were replied to, what the Reply was, and better yet, the Reply would go right inline. Brilliant! And even better, we already have an inline display method for internal comments about Tweets (or anything), so we could use that method to easily show the Reply.

Well, brilliant, but some catches: You can Reply directly or make a Draft Reply in TweetRoost. You can also Schedule a Reply, and also make a Reply which someone else needs to Approve. You cannot list those as Replies inline, since you’d want to list them as pending. Furthermore — yes there is always another catch — if you would Delete a Pending Reply, you cannot list it as Pending, since it is gone.

So we implemented this: Replies and Pending Replies go inline on the Tweet details page. We handle deleted Pending Replies. We also, to do this right, have made the Replies and Pending Replies clickable links to their details, so more than just the Reply text can be seen at a glance.

Here is what it looks like:
Inline Pending Reply

We think this is a great new feature, based on a customer request,. It was easy for us to implement in only a few days, and it will be helpful to everyone. This is why we love listening to customers. If you’d like to try TweetRoost, just go to MediaRoost



Unlimited access to the TweetRoost Archive

A few months ago, I wrote a blog about how TweetRoost Archive can be used to save all Tweets around a specific Conference, Meeting, event, etc. We put this into practice by setting up a search monitor to save all Tweets which had the ‘#140conf’ hashtag, and then we gave multi-user ‘guest’ access to anyone who wanted to search that archive. Ten or twenty thousand Tweets were made about that conference.

This brings to mind some interesting uses of the TweetRoost archive of Tweets:

  1. Are you running a conference or any kind of user forum where Tweets are associated? Just create one ‘guest’ user account in your TweetRoost, and multiple people can login simultaneously to this guest account and search the archive of Tweets about the conference or forum.
  2. Do you want to give non-Twitter users access to your archive of Saved Tweets? Maybe your management wants to see what is going on in your Twitter account, but they don’t want to learn a new product (TweetRoost or even Twitter); and you don’t want to buy many seats of TweetRoost for the occasional and casual users — just make a single ‘guest’ account for as many of these read-only people as you want.

Are you required by laws or regulation to have archive some or all of your communications? Some organizations absolutely have that obigation. TweetRoost will do that for you. The archive can be much more active when you make a ‘guest’ account that any number of people can use to see the Tweets which are the database entries!

Try TweetRoost out, we’re sure you’ll like it.


Followup on Long Tweets

A couple of months ago, we added Long Tweets to TweetRoost, giving users the ability to create a Tweet longer than 140 characters. Many users like it, but — not surprisingly — some people want to keep their Tweets under the standard 140 character limit.

So today we’ve added a new capability to User Preferences: You can control whether your Tweets from TweetRoost can be more than 140 characters or not. We think this is the best of both worlds, and this is a controversial enough topic that we thought we should let individuals choose for themselves. (It is very easy to choose: Just click on your name, click on “Long Tweets” and select yes or no.)

We aim to please!



Task Management in TweetRoost

People have been saying to us: “We love to have an interface to manage multiple Twitter accounts better — including approvals, scheduling, and archiving [which are all handled by TweetRoost] — but we’d also love to manage and track our work — which may have nothing to do with Tweets and DMs — in that same interface.”

So we’ve done it: “Task Management” is now included in TweetRoost. What’s Task Management?

At any time you can create a new Task. Tasks are like richer to-do lists, including a brief description and an initial full description — to which you can append additional comments whenever you’d like. They have optional Due Dates, Status, Assignee, and Tags, so they can be tracked via a common tag or keyword. Tasks which are not completed by the Due Date are marked as Overdue.

Lists of tasks can be displayed on the Saved Items page — and when they are, they are marked in that list as Open, Completed or Overdue and color coded. In addition, they can be printed or filed offline, and they can be shown in the Analytics engine.

I use Tasks to keep track of all of my TweetRoost business and development projects and sub-projects. You can use them to help your business too. Sign up for a free copy of TweetRoost at our website and you can try Tasks too.



Non-profits using Twitter | A gift from MediaRoost

For many years we’ve been licensing software at MediaRoost and our previous companies, and for most customers, the standard pricing and usage model works just fine, but for some, at very different ends of the spectrum, it does not. I’m going to share my thoughts today about one end of the spectrum, non-profits – who generally do not often have large budgets. In a few days  I’ll discuss the other end of that spectrum — customers who have large budgets, and larger needs, but who want to have more control over the software they use — and what we’re planning for them.

We had an email today from someone at a non-profit. He loves TweetRoost, but does not have the budget for the number of users he needs. I felt our team here missed this one, since we’ve always had plans for people at non-profits  (schools, research institutions, charities., etc.)  — in our previous companies.  We should have had a plan in place for them at MediaRoost. We’ll solve this quickly. The non-profit who contacted us will get special pricing, and so will every other non-profit too.

It makes sense to have a policy for these folks, especially in today’s economy where money is so tight.

a. It allows them to have excellent software they can afford to use.

b. It means that we get a new customer, and along with that we get some revenue, even if that revenue is smaller. And we’re doing a good deed.

c. Their staff gets to learn the software and use it and tell their friends. In addition, people move on, and when they do, we hope they’ll buy new copies for their new organization. At UniPress, we had one customer buy our FootPrints product at his university (at a discount), and then move on to two other institutions of higher learning, and each time, that new place licensed the product because he loved it so much.

Check our pricing page over the next few days, you’ll see our new policy on non-profits.



The full Vegas | Unlimited Twitter management with source code

My old friend, John Ryan, who runs UniPress UK, the UniPress Software distributorship in the UK for FootPrints back in the day, once took me to a local casino near his office on the Isle of Man. He said ‘This is not the full Vegas’ … and I’ve loved that expression to this day. Of course it means that the small Casino — with 5-6 tables — had nothing of the power and glitter of the ‘real Las Vegas.’

When you sell or license software, sometimes people want the ‘full Vegas’ — they want unlimited use, they want to be able to request modifications from the software vendor, or to make such modifications themselves, and perhaps they want the source code of the software. These customers probably, for a variety of reasons — most particularly security concerns — do not want the software running in the cloud — they want to host it themselves.

We’ve started to hear this ‘full Vegas’ request – this is not uncommon to us, we heard it in our last software company too. So we are happy to oblige. Check out our Pricing page at the MediaRoost Website. We’ve added an option for full source code, internal hosting, unlimited internal use. Interested? Just contact us, we’ll be ready to discuss.