Since April, I’ve written several articles about recent changes in Twitter policy and how this has affected different third-party Twitter software applications. These changes have especially affected one particular application I wrote about extensively in my book Tweep-e-licious—Tweet Adder.
In April 2013, Tweet Adder released their new, ‘Twitter compliant’ software version 4.0. I’ve waited until now to write my product review of the 4.0 upgrade because the first few updates for it were extremely buggy and I assumed the developers at Tweet Adder would be releasing additional updates to iron them out. Then, in early July Twitter quite unexpectedly announced that all forms of automated following—including automated follow-backs—were also now prohibited. This required Tweet Adder to put out yet another updated version of the software, which introduced more bugs. As of today, the latest version (which I’ll be reviewing in this article) is 4.0. 130703. It finally seems to be stable and I do not anticipate any major upgrade any time soon (hopefully just more bug fixes). So I figured now would be a good time to take a look at it.
Here’s a quick look at the front ‘Overview’ view of a single Twitter account in Tweet Adder:
Figure 1: Account Overview
What Has Been Removed
As you can see from the overview screenshot above, several automation tasks are no longer options. Here’s a list of things Twitter required Tweet Adder to get rid of in order for their software to be compliant with their new Terms of Service:
- Automated following*
- Automated follow-back*
- Automated unfollowing*
- Spun Tweets (which I never used)
- Automated @ replies
The first three features are still a part of Tweet Adder, but now Twitter requires that you manually ‘follow’ or ‘unfollow’ people. In other words, you can queue up your ‘to follow’ lists, but you’ll need to go through them personally and select which ones to follow. While this caused an uproar in the Tweet Adder community when it was first announced, it should be stressed that this is not Tweet Adder’s ‘fault’ but a mandate from Twitter.
What Has Stayed the Same
Here’s a summary of the features that remain unchanged since 3.0:
- Automated Tweets
- Import/Export Tweets
- Automated RTs
- Automated RSS
- Automated thank you (when people follow you)
- ‘Other’ Tweets (automated DMs)
Old Features That Have Been Modified
These are features that were in 3.0, but that have been modified (for the better):
- Tweet searches
- List searches
- ‘To follow’ lists (although no longer automated)
- Import/Export ‘to follow’ lists
I’ll be looking in detail at these improvements below.
New Features and Improvements
Here’s an overview of new features and significant improvements in 4.0:
- Better Overall Performance: Tweet Adder 4.0 seems to have overcome the crash issues of 3.0.
- New Search Filters: Extensive filters on all searches and views including inactive accounts, foreign language, private accounts, high ratio, and others (more detail below)
- New Unfollow Parameters: In addition to unfollowing accounts that haven’t followed you back after a specified number of days, you can now choose to unfollow accounts that unfollowed you, are inactive, Tweet in foreign languages, or talk too much (or too little).
- Multiple View Options: Ability to view your searches and ‘to follow’ lists according to many useful parameters, such as date of last Tweet, number of followers, number of friends, location, number of Tweets, join date and name/screen name.
- New Export Format: You can now import/export your ‘to follow’ lists as CSV files, enabling more editing capabilities.
While these new features might seem to lack the ‘glamour’ of the former (and now prohibited) fully automated 3.0 version of Tweet Adder, they are actually the core of what makes Tweet Adder 4.0 a vastly superior product to its prior incarnation.
To get a feel for the new 4.0, let’s take a look at each of these 5 improvements in turn.
Better Overall Performance
The thing that was immediately apparent when 4.0 came out was that it was far more stable. The old 3.0 had become highly unreliable as it would crash several times a day.
On my ‘unlimited’ license, I currently manage 18 different Twitter accounts (for myself, my staff and my clients) with a combined follower count of hundreds of thousands of profiles. Since the latest upgrade came out three weeks ago, I’ve been running 4.0 solidly 24 hours a day / 7 days a week on a remote server, and it’s only gotten ‘hung up’ twice.
While the loading caused issues in the first version of 4.0, Tweet Adder provided some tips to ensure profile loading would happen much more quickly. While these occasionally take a bit longer than I’d like for larger accounts, they do load fairly smoothly as long as I use these recommended settings.
Occasionally (but rarely), when rebooting the programme after it’s gotten stuck, it will turn off a few of the accounts, requiring me to turn them on manually after it ‘catches up’ with itself. But since the latest update, I haven’t experienced this problem.
Overall Performance Score: 8.5 out of 10.
New Search Filters
The ‘follow’ and ‘search’ parameters have basically stayed the same, except that ‘to follow’ is now called ‘follow later list’ and all following is manual.
Figure 2: Follow and Search Menu
But what is vastly superior to 3.0 are the new filters you can apply to your searches:
Figure 3: Search Filters
Instead of having the option merely to save or export the entire list of search results to your ‘to follow’ list, you can now apply highly-customisable filters to refine your search. For example, I find it extremely useful to ensure I’m following active Tweeps, so I typically set the ‘Days since last Tweet” to 15 days. I also hide private accounts and say I don’t want profiles with the default picture. You might also wish to specify ranges on the followers, Tweets, etc. Using these filters can help you refine your ‘to follow later’ list so you don’t end up unfollowing loads of people later.
These filters, used in combination with the multi-view options and/or the CSV export feature (see below) make refining your searches extremely easy and effective.
Room for improvement:
- While the foreign language filter is a great idea, see below under ‘New Unfollow Parameters’ for some limitations of this particular filter.
- The list search has this irritating error that comes up if you paste in anything but the user name. In the past, this error used to come up only after you hit the ‘search’ button, and I find it annoying that I cannot paste in the info and edit it before the error pops up. I also wish it gave you the option to paste in the entire URL of the list instead of having to do it in two separate parts.
Search Filter Score: 9 out of 10.
New Unfollow Parameters
Figure 4: Unfollow Menu
The ‘unfollow’ parameters in Tweet Adder 4.0 are far more sophisticated (and useful) than they were in 3.0. Instead of just seeing who is not following you (as in 3.0), you can now choose from 7 new parameters: unfollowed me, no profile image, foreign language, high ratio, inactive, talkative and quiet.
While there are several other Twitter applications out there that can perform some of these functions, I’ve never had a programme that has them all in one place. Here’s a look at what I feel to be three of the most useful new parameters.
For the past few years I’ve used UnTweeps to unfollow Inactive Tweeps but now there’s no need to use a different app to perform this function. I’ve also found Tweet Adder 4.0 more reliable than UnTweeps, in that it actually DOES unfollow every account I select, with one exception: It doesn’t seem to allow you to unfollow suspended accounts. If you try to, they’ll just reappear in the list later. And you can’t unfollow them manually on Twitter because if you click the link to their profile, you’ll get an error page. That means suspended accounts never seem to ‘go away’.
The ‘Talkative’ parameter is interesting. This is where you identify which of the people you are following send out Tweets way too frequently. For example, I used this parameter to find people who were tweeting more than 500 times a day. One (a job announcement site, which I really didn’t care about) was Tweeting an average of 894 times a day (one Tweet every 96 seconds).
Avid bloggers and news syndication services will often Tweet 100 times a day (about 4 times an hour), which is usually acceptable as long as the content is diverse. But unless I’m really interested in the topic (or looking for a job), 500+ Tweets a day is over the top!
The foreign language filter is useful, but still very glitchy:
- The good news is that it does identify people you follow who Tweet in foreign languages (you choose your preferred language from a drop-down menu).
- The bad news is it will also give you a lot of people who shouldn’t be on the list.
For example, many Europeans Tweet in both English and their native tongue. Some might even Tweet more frequently in English. But if the filter is set to English, any recent non-English Tweets will flag that person up in this filter. If you simply unfollow these people without first carefully checking to see if they Tweet bilingually, you might end up disconnecting from some loyal followers.
Also, if people use slang, symbols or urban (mis)spellings of English words, these can show up in the foreign language stream.
The filter also seems to have a few issues with hashtags (e.g. #7Graces) and sometimes sees them as foreign characters. I can’t help but think this should be an easy glitch for Tweet Adder to fix.
Long story short, this parameter is useful, but I wouldn’t arbitrarily unfollow everyone who appears on this list. Go through them with care and put people on your ‘white list’ if you don’t feel they belong on the list (or you happen to speak more than one language).
Unfollow Parameter Score: 7.5 out of 10 (but I expect this will improve with future upgrades).
Multiple View Options
I love this new addition and I think it’s one of the biggest improvements in Tweet Adder 4.0. Whether you are searching or simply viewing any of your follow/unfollow lists, you can now organise them by selecting any number of different views
First, you can select whether you want to see the profile/join date or the last Tweet of each account you are viewing:
Figure 5: Last Tweet or Profile View
After that, you can organise your list by a number of useful parameters that can make your decisions about who you want to follow or unfollow a whole lot easier:
Figure 6: Multi-View Options
If you select ‘Last Tweet Date’ for example, you can delete profiles of people who are inactive. I also like to use the ‘friends’ parameter, because I can see who doesn’t bother to follow people back, or who is ‘stuck’ at the 2000 friends mark (with few followers). I don’t want to follow these types of accounts because they are unlikely to engage with me.
Multiple View Options Score: 10 out of 10
New CSV Export Format
You can now import/export your ‘to follow lists’ as CSV files (not just text files), enabling more editing capabilities. This means you can perform several searches and filter the data any way you want then delete batches of rows in one go for whichever profiles you don’t want to follow, and then upload them to your ‘to follow later’ list.
I know I’m geekier than many, but to me this new feature is just so useful, and it is already having an impact on my follow back ratio. I sit down with a nice glass of wine at night, and take an hour or two to put together a really fine list of maybe a few thousand names, and my ‘to follow later’ list is good to go for many weeks.
CSV Export Format Score: 10 out of 10
Total Score = 9 out of 10
To give you an idea of how 4.0 stacks up against its predecessor, I’d have given the old 3.0 a mere 6.5 out of 10 even though it used to be fully automated. The reason for the low score is that it simply wouldn’t stop crashing. I also had some ethical issues about the spun Tweets. But mostly, now that I’ve seen the new filters in action, I realise how much of my automated following and follow-backs were a waste.
It should be stressed that the Tweet automation features common to both 3.0 and 4.0 are brilliant, i.e. random/recurring automated Tweets, automated ‘welcome’ Tweets, automated RTs and customisable RSS Tweets. I know for a fact that the Tweet automation features in Tweet Adder are responsible for nearly one-third of my web traffic (I found this out whenever the old programme used to crash and my web traffic stats would go down by one-third!). Now that the 4.0 is really stable, and it has all these great new features, it’s certainly worth a score of 9 out of 10.
Limitations of both 3.0 and 4.0
If you haven’t used Tweet Adder before, you should understand that both versions have their limitations. The Tweet automation is random (set by approximate intervals rather than exact times). This means, of course, that you cannot schedule Tweets to go out on specific days at specific times. For that kind of precision, you still need to use a programme like HootSuite, Gremln or TweetDeck.
Speaking for myself, I like the randomness; it makes Tweeting more organic than having to schedule Tweets at precise intervals. It’s also incredibly easy to schedule Tweets in Tweet Adder. All you have to do is upload a plain text file, set the number of Tweets you want to go out each day and the interval between them, and you’re done. The more precise programmes like HootSuite, etc. require far more time and planning.
The other limitation is that Tweet Adder does not post to other social networks such as Facebook or LinkedIn. But this is not a limitation so much as a specialism. Tweet Adder (as the name suggests) is for Twitter and Twitter alone. As Twitter-specific software goes, it’s the best I’ve used so far, but it doesn’t eliminate the need for other apps for other content syndication purposes.
The prices of Tweet Adder’s monthly subscriptions are dependent upon how many registration keys you wish to purchase (i.e., how many Twitter accounts you want to run on it). If you have only one account, you’ll only need one key. If you manage multiple accounts as I do, you may want to consider purchasing their unlimited package. As of this writing update, prices start at $11.40 per month, but do be sure to check their site for the most current pricing options.
Whatever option you choose, I think the new Tweet Adder is well worth the price, as the quality of the leads you will be able to define through its new search parameters and filters will be a real asset to your social media marketing platform.
Admittedly, with the recent changes in Twitter policy, it means you can no longer be a casual ‘bot’ on autopilot. To make Twitter work for you as a business tool, you have to be actively searching and filtering your followers. There are simply no more short cuts or ‘get followers fast’ options. But while this will require more time and attention, I think this is going to make Twitter a MUCH more powerful and effective marketing and networking tool.
I’m happy to say I’m tremendously pleased with the new version of Tweet Adder. I’ve never been able to give the product my 100% whole-hearted recommendation, but now I can. If you’d like to give it a shot, I’d appreciate it if you used my affiliate link for it: http://www.tweetadder.com/idevaffiliate/idevaffiliate.php?id=11067
23rd July 2013
P.S.: I also encourage you to pick up a copy of my book Tweep-e-licious, which will give you a wealth of ethical Twitter marketing strategies. When you do, be sure to register for the free Twitter Resource Kit (link is inside the book/eBook), which includes the download to a 90-minute Twitter audio class. Also, if you register, I’ll be able to send you my updates that reflect the new Twitter policy, with tips on how to use them effectively.
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LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.
Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.
(not just for Londoners, as we meet also on Skype)