Twitter has an open API. That means anyone can use it to create interesting tools. The accreditation is swift and the rules generous which has empowered the creation of hundreds of free Twitter tools.
From identifying when someone joined Twitter to identifying when is the best time to Tweet, these tools have been useful for quick look ups or basic planning to improve one’s Twitter presence.
However, these free tools all have their limitation. Twitter restricts the amount of data that can be retrieved in a ‘pull’ – so when an app goes and gets data it will usually have one pull’s worth. If it is a simple ‘when did you join Twitter‘ the data retrieved is minimal so there is no concern. However, if you are planning business or marketing decisions based on this data, one ‘pull’ may not be enough.
Great tools like Timely will base their decisions on the last 199 tweets - effectively one ‘pull’ of data. If your account tweets once per day that will be 199 days of data. If it tweets 10 times per day, thats the last 19 days. That may be all you need but when we started working on BirdSong we knew 199 tweets was not enough.
With a background in Direct Marketing, Jamie Riddell (a client, now an investor and Director) needed robust data to plan. The last x days would not cover elements like monthly activity, let alone seasonality. For BirdSong to work, we needed to request data from Twitter that covered a longer period which could take multiple calls. We needed to combine this data to deliver the big picture, and deliver it quickly.
Using Amazon Web Services and a team of ec2 workers, we have created a tool that will pull in historic data, working with the parameters and in a timely fashion to deliver on demand social media insight. The first BirdSong launch has Twitter insights including most active time of day and day of week – breaking this down into tweets, replies and retweets. The timeline feature also allows the BirdSong user to delve into the tweets from the latest as far back as we can.
Delivering such rapid insights is no small task. BirdSong is a premium tool that reflects the complexity of pulling and analysing the data, on demand.
Free Twitter tools offer great value. Simple look ups can be created easily by most developers. However, when it comes to deeper integration and analysis you may need an expert.