Should You Use Triberr? Why I’m Still on the Fence

I’m constantly testing out new tools to help me run my business and also so I can provide some honest guidance to my clients and my blog readers about the tools that work and those that aren’t up to snuff.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been trying out Triberr. If you haven’t heard of Triberr, it is a tool that allows you to create “tribes” of Twitter users who will share each other’s blog posts on Twitter.

Triberr was initially set up where everyone in your tribe would automatically send a tweet when you published a new blog post. I thought this was a bad idea. That’s why I was hesitant to give it a try. I didn’t want to share content with my followers that I had not yet read myself. My friend Erica Allison confirmed my resistance to it with this awesome blog post.

However, Erica later came around and said she had jumped back into Triberr because they changed the setting to allow users to approve the tweets instead automatically tweeting everyone in your tribe. I thought this was a great improvement, so I happily joined Erica’s tribe to give it a try.

After a few weeks, I’m still on the fence about it. I haven’t created tribes of my own yet because I’m not sure I want to endorse a product that I’m still unsure about. If I create a tribe, I want to feel confident about the tool and make sure it’s something I want to continue doing. And right now, I’m not convinced.

Here is what I think about my experience so far:

The Benefits

  • You see content you might miss otherwise. If you’re like me, your RSS Reader is chock full of hundreds of unread blog posts. I do my best to read my favorite bloggers every day, but I can’t always get through them all. Triberr is a great way to make sure you don’t miss great content from some of your favorite bloggers. It’s a more streamlined approach and you only see a few things at a time instead of being overwhelmed by your RSS Reader.
  • You get more Retweets. Certainly, one of the benefits of Triberr is that your content gets shared more often. Because you have people who are at the ready to share your stuff, you know you can count on your Tribe to help you spread the word. I know one of the first posts that came through Triberr got a lot of tweets simply because my rockstar Tribe members shared the content.
  • You develop new relationships. Thanks to our awesome Tribe leader, Erica, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know some new bloggers that I hadn’t yet developed relationships with, like Adam Toporek and Shakirah Dawud. I’ve really enjoyed reading their posts, chatting with them online and sharing comments on each other’s blogs. Without Triberr, I may never have gotten to know these folks, so I’m grateful to have make some new friends and colleagues.

The Downsides

  • You don’t have the ability to edit the full tweet. Triberr only allows you to edit the text before the link and it automatically inserts the “via @ericamallison” after that. Call me a rebel, but I don’t always format my tweets that way. I would love if I had more control over what I was able to tweet.
  • I don’t want to tweet the same people all the time. I love the people in the Tribe I joined. They’re great. And, most of the time, I would tweet their stuff anyway. The trouble is, I feel forced into ONLY tweeting their stuff. I feel pressure to go in and approve tweets from my Tribe. Then, my stream will be flooded with content from the same people over and over again. I like to mix it up and share content from a wide range of sources. If I started creating more Tribes, I would feel like I would only be tweeting stuff only from Triberr instead of curating content from other places. And, I don’t think this approach is the best benefit to my followers.
  • You can’t schedule tweets. People may call me to the carpet for this, but I think it’s okay to schedule some of your tweets. I tend to read in bursts, and I would rather space out my tweets over several hours than inundating my followers with 10 different articles in a short time frame. The problem is, when I go to Triberr, I want to read and then tweet the items in my queue. However, the tweets go out just as soon as I approve them. If I want to spread them out, I have to come back to Triberr and approve the tweet later. This just adds additional steps for me instead of making the process more streamlined.
  • It’s another thing to check. As much as I love tools that make my life easier, it becomes difficult when you have to visit numerous different sites to get the job done. Although I can see where Triberr does offer some benefit, it is one more site I have to check in order to review and then tweet blog posts. I can see where Triberr eliminates that step if you use it in the “automagical” mode, but that’s not how I roll. Because I’m using it in manual mode, I’m not sure it offers much more benefit than simply reading the posts in my reader and then sharing what I think is relevant to my audience.

I’d love to know what you think. Have you used Triberr? If so, has it helped you extend your reach? If you haven’t used Triberr, what’s keeping you from trying it out?

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  • http://www.socialmediawannabe.com Todd Lyden

    Laura, you nailed down the main issues for me in terms of function. I’ve yet to see a benefit you describe that I can’t get from other sites, feeds or otherwise. 
    I think one of the bigger issues is the RT inflation (you will RT something you might have otherwise NOT have RT and vice versa for the TRIBE) – and lack of RTs- I was in a tribe initially and saw nada from it. 
    Unless you have people in your tribe who were fairly constant RTers for you in the first place, why would they OTHER than just because you are in the tribe?
    I still contend the REPEAT issue is STILL an issue. I’ve seen the same Tweet multiple times in my feed because people I know are in the same tribe. I ALMOST functionally ignore them now.
    And your one more thing to check is the clearest reason. 
    I think if you have tribes that are MIXED from people in different areas markets etc, you can see some benefit or people who are brand new to Twitter with people who have thosands of followers, it might help, but as a blogger tool to promote- eh…

    • http://www.flybluekite.com Laura Click

      Thanks for weighing in, Todd. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels the way I do about it. I like the term RT Inflation – that’s a good way of putting it. While I like the folks in my tribe, I certainly do feel an added pressure to approve the tweets in my queue. They are not pressuring me to do it, but I think that the nature of Triberr is reciprocity. I wouldn’t be a very good Tribe member if everyone was RTing my stuff, but if I didn’t return the favor. 

      I can see how the automatic mode would save folks some time, but that’s just not something I’m willing to do. I want to read everything I tweet. 

      So far, I’ve not seen a big traffic increase because of it either. I’ve maybe gotten a few more tweets out of it, but the traffic increase has been nominal at best. So far, I’ve not seen a ton of benefit, but perhaps that’s just me.

  • Erica Allison

    Laura, I appreciate the multiple link love and more importantly, your very balanced perspective.  I know exactly where you are and as I said to @kdillabough:twitter (Kaarina) yesterday in a conversation about this topic, it all depends on where you are and the tools that work for you at that point.  For me, Triberr definitely works right now. It is one of the tools in my tool box that will help me balance my social media life with my business and personal life.  I do get it however, that it’s not the preferred tool for everyone.  That’s awesome, too.

    I’m glad you’re giving it a try with me and my little tribe and appreciate all you do to keep us all evaluating and thinking about what works!

    • http://www.flybluekite.com Laura Click

      Thanks for your thoughts, Erica. I’m glad you stopped by. I appreciate you letting me in your tribe. I was really resistant to Triberr for a long time, but I’m glad I’ve experimented with it. It’s hard to make a recommendation to someone else if you haven’t tried it yourself. 

      I don’t think Triberr is altogether bad, I’m just not sure it’s the best tool for ME. It’s possible I would see more benefit if I started my own Tribes, but I’m just afraid of filling my stream with Triberr only tweets that I’m hesitant to do so. You’re in multiple Tribes – how do you feel about that? Have your followers noticed anything different?

  • Anonymous

    I’m against Triberr for a few reasons. The main reason is that we’ve all seen how a single tweet can damage a brand. Why put your brand at risk by automatically RTing content you haven’t approved of? I understand the settings have now changed but judging by how often some people are using Triberr to RT content I can only assume they are not digesting & approving all of that content.

    My other reason is that the same people who preach against automated tweets are using Triberr and thinking it’s okay. It’s STILL automating social media! No different than scheduling tweets.

    My fear is that over time Triberr will make people lazy with their social media. They’ll review content less and RT stuff more automatically just for the sake of maintaining their social media presence.

    Since the beginning of social media people have looked for ways to automate it. I suppose they always will. 

    • http://www.flybluekite.com Laura Click

      Thanks for your thoughts, John. You highlighted exactly why I didn’t try Triberr when it first came out. And, truthfully, I was surprised why so many influencers were using it because I didn’t think they would be all for the automatic setting. 

      I think there was a lot of backlash about the auto setting and Triberr quickly rolled out the manual mode. Correct me if I’m wrong, @twitter-14791769:disqus and @dinodogan:disqus , but I think many folks are likely using the manual mode.

      All that said, there are plenty of people who think that you can push the easy button with social media and magically move the needle for their business. As you well know, it doesn’t work that way. 

      Even before Triberr came along, there have been scores of other products to help automate different portions of the Twitter experience (i.e. auto-follow, auto-DM, etc.). I don’t think it’s bad to look for ways to streamline social media a bit. As I hinted in this post, I do schedule some of my tweets. I don’t think that’s all bad. However, I do think trying to automate everything completely with no engagement is not a smart move.

      There’s a fine line here for sure. It’s just a matter of finding the right balance for you and your business. Thanks for stopping by and weighing in!

  • http://twitter.com/dancristo Dan Cristo

    Hey Laura,
    I came across a review about Triberr a few weeks ago where the blogger, who had never actually used Triberr, wrote a lengthy post about several non-factual reasons why he disliked the site. I left a lengthy comment myself on that post defending and correcting the mis-information. It was quite an ordeal. 

    What I love about this review is that it’s not some outsider talking nonsense about what they perceive the site to be. You’ve taken the time to try it for yourself. Sure, you found the concerns to be stronger than the benefits, but it’s a thoughtful review of your actual experience with the site. As Erica mentioned in her comment, no tool will likely work for everyone, because different people are at different stages and have different needs. Nothing wrong with that at all.

    My one request to anyone who feels Triberr the right tool for them right now… I only ask that you don’t count us out in the future. We’ve been online for a little over four months now, and we’ve already changed the site A TON from what it was originally. That’s going to continue and even accelerate.

    We have a pretty cool vision for the site, and it goes far beyond the core tool. In fact, in 6 months I highly doubt if people will look at the site as primarily a twitter tool. More on that soon.

    • http://www.flybluekite.com Laura Click

      Hi Dan,

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by and weigh in with your thoughts. I really appreciate it! I’m also glad to hear you like my review. I wouldn’t dream of commenting on how something works unless I tried it myself. As hesitant as I was about Triberr, I’ve seen some people I respect (i.e. @ginidietrich:twitter ) get great results from it so I was certainly curious to give it a try.

      One of the things I should have added to the benefits category is how responsive you and @dinodogan:disqus have been. When we were having formatting issues, we heard from you guys right away. It proves that you really care about listening to your users so you can make it a valuable tool for them.

      I certainly don’t think Triberr is all bad. If I thought it was useless, would have already jumped ship. I’m still wrestling with how to use it or if it even makes sense for me right now. I suppose I can always just hang out and dip back in later. I’m interested to hear what you guys have in store!

      Thanks again.
      Laura

      • http://spinsucks.com Gini Dietrich

        I just spent a couple of hours this past weekend building out another tribe and MAN, OH, MAN! The traffic it’s building is incredible. I was scared of the bounce rates it would create, but they’re actually going down. I’m a fan!

        • http://www.flybluekite.com Laura Click

          WOW! That’s great to hear, Gini. Are you and all of your Tribe members using it in automatic mode? I’m wondering if that makes a difference. 

          Also, any tips on how to build a powerful tribe that will build traffic like the one you created? 

          Thanks for weighing in!

          • http://spinsucks.com Gini Dietrich

            We’re not all in automatic mode. I’d say it’s half and half. I belong to a pretty active Facebook group so I asked who wanted to be part of a tribe. I made sure everyone was from a different walk of life. We’re up to 18 members now. It’s still too early to tell if it’s too much, but I’m happy with results so far.

          • http://www.flybluekite.com Laura Click

            That’s a great idea, Gini. I think mixing backgrounds and industries into a Tribe makes a lot of sense. I may have to try that. I just created my first tribe – Nashville bloggers who talk in the general realm of marketing, PR, social media and writing. Each of us takes a different slant on it, so it will be interesting to see how well that works. 

    • http://soulati.com/blog Soulati

      I have to say to Dan and Dino…you guys have done a miraculous job of integrating people, responding to the naysayers and those on the fence, being accessible to anyone with a question, sharing your developer perspective, and being hugely creative and did I say interactive and accessible?

      For any new app to be this much in tune to its members, prospects, and investors, you’ve got the right business model to be successful. The fact that you’re also highly reactive to critique and interested in making this many changes suggests to me you’re going to be successful.

      I’m looking at you two from a business perspective; I like what I see. Keep it up.

      • http://www.flybluekite.com Laura Click

        Totally agree! A lot of businesses could learn from their example. 

  • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

    Hi Laura,

    I agree with Dan about the thoughtfulness of your review. I carries much more weight than a review from someone who has never used the tool.

    Having said that, I would like to learn little bit more about the shortcomings you brought up so that we can figure out how to incorporate the improvements into future releases.

    1. Editing the tweet: This has been possible for some time now. You can edit the body of the text before it goes out via your stream. You can not edit the link nor the “via @tlyden:disqus   @username:disqus ” portion.

    Would you want to and if yes, how and to what extent?

    2. Tweeting same people all the time: I agree. You shouldnt tweet the same people all the time. So why not grow your tribes with new people? Keep some tribes in manual mode, some in auto, approve some posts, delete others, etc.

    3. You cant schedule tweets: You forgot to add “at this time” :-) This is something our community has been asking for and we are working on it :-)

    4. Another thing to check: Like Dan mentioned, we have some awesome plans for Triberr. It will not be another tool to check, it will be THE tool to check. And we have a very clear plan on how to get there, which I will share with you now.

    We iterate the platform based on user feedback. So, we’re not the ones driving the development, people like you are.

    And, from the inception, Triberr development had to answer one simple questions. How do we help a blogger. So all the features  and even the existence of the platform is in response to that question.

    Im looking forward to hearing you thoughts on all this :-)

    Salute

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      I have no idea why DisqUs insisted on inserting @tlyden:disqus in above comment. Weird.

      • http://www.flybluekite.com Laura Click

        Hmmm….maybe Disqus is acting up today.

    • http://www.flybluekite.com Laura Click

      Hi Dino – Thanks for all of your questions. I’m happy to share my thoughts on how Triberr might be improved. The fact that you want to know my opinion shows you really care about making it a site bloggers want to use. Kudos on that!

      1. I would love the ability to edit the whole tweet. I know I can edit the portion before the link, but what if I want to include the username BEFORE the URL? I’d like the ability to do that. (i.e. Check out this great post from @ericamallison:twitter about why she decided to give Triberr another try) Why not let users edit the whole thing how they wish? That’s how I tweet normally, so don’t particularly like having to fit my tweet into the Triberr mold. There have been times that I have tweeted stuff from my Tribe, but NOT from Triberr because I wanted to rearrange how I tweeted it. 

      2. You make a good point. I should probably try starting my own Tribe. But, even then, I think I would be sending so many tweets from Triberr that I wouldn’t be tweeting much else. Perhaps this is just my own hang-up. 

      3. Glad to hear you’re looking at scheduling. That would be a huge plus and would make my time spent on Triberr far more productive.

      4. Looking forward to hearing more about what you have in store!

      Does this help? Let me know if you have any other questions and I would be happy to share my thoughts. Again, thanks for taking the time to stop by, provide some insight and ask questions – that means a lot!

  • Anonymous

    This is the first time that I have found that enhancing a product is making it less useful. It appears that Triberr was started as a means for bloggers to get RTs easier. The trade off was that you had to RT everyone else as well. Not bad if you are really wanting to get RTs fast. However, now with all of these ‘enhancements’ that Dino is referring to, it appears to be getting away from this basic premise and is becoming, as Laura pointed out, another thing for me to check. What am I missing here? What can this provide me that I cannot already get from Twitter besides the implied ask from my tribe that they RT my stuff? I mean, I can create tribes on Twitter. I follow people, put people them into lists and then RT their posts as I find them to be of interest to me and those that follow me. From the outside, I have to say that this looks like a Twitter pyramid scheme.

    • http://www.flybluekite.com Laura Click

      Thanks for your thoughts, Kacy. I know we talked a little bit about this the last time we were together. 

      First, you’re right, much of what you can do on Triberr can be accomplished elsewhere. You certainly don’t need Triberr to tweet or even find good content. As you mentioned, you can do that with RSS feeds and lists. I think the idea with Triberr is to streamline it, make it easier and amplify your reach.

      I will say, Triberr is not all bad and it’s nowhere near a pyramid scheme. For instance, without it, I may never have connected with @adamtoporek:twitter or @shakirahdawud:twitter . I think it does offer the ability to expand your network a bit and I do appreciate that. While there is no pressure from my tribe to RT their stuff, I have felt that there is some quid pro quo at play here and you feel somewhat obligated (or at least I do) to tweet their stuff since they are tweeting yours.

      I think I’d likely feel better in situations where I set up the Tribe. For instance, I’ve considered putting together a Nashville bloggers tribe for folks in town that I would likely tweet anyway. I do think there are ways to use it well, I’m just not sure it’s right for me…at least right now.

      • Anonymous

        I can see the expanding the network but I would venture to say that you would probably have met them on Twitter eventually…you are quite the networker, #82.

        • http://www.flybluekite.com Laura Click

          Well thanks, friend. :)

  • http://twitter.com/ShakirahDawud T. Shakirah Dawud

    I was excited to be invited to Erica’s tribe and meet you and Adam, Laura. I have to say my experience is really limited to checking it every now and then to make sure there’s nothing sitting in the queue I should have read and retweeted (which kind of tells you something). I’m actually kind of grateful to be “forced” to check, because I’d miss a LOT from you all, but really… it is extra pressure. Is it pressure I’m willing to put up with? Right now, yes, mostly because there’s only 6 of us, and most of us don’t post every day.

    Interestingly, just yesterday I recommended Triberr to a network of blogs, one of which I blog for regularly, asking the founders to check it out in case they wanted to start a tribe of the writers for the network, so our retweets of each others’ stuff wouldn’t be so haphazard. It was my guilty conscience speaking, though, since it could be that everyone else is a lot more consistent about getting out into the blogosphere than I am. 

    • http://www.flybluekite.com Laura Click

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Shakirah. I think even though our tribe is good about not pressuring each other, there is that underlying feeling of needing to get over there and check it. That is, unless you’re using it in auto mode.

      I think the writers group you mentioned would actually be a great way to use Triberr. I could see how a company could set it up a Tribe with its partners and strategic alliances or maybe even have a Tribe of all the bloggers within a company. A group like you mentioned is also a good idea. And, in those instances, I think the automatic mode would really work well. 

      I do think there are some great ways to use Triberr. I’m just still trying to wrap my arms around it. One thing’s for sure – I’m glad I’ve gotten to get to know you through all of this!

      • http://soulati.com/blog Soulati

        Dang. VERY SORRY I’ve been a terrible tribe member. My apologies.

        • http://www.flybluekite.com Laura Click

          Whoa – where did you get that idea?! I don’t think you’re a bad Tribe member AT ALL.

  • http://twitter.com/adamtoporek Adam Toporek

    I will admit I reversed my own leanings the moment I joined the wonderful tribe with you and @47d58be98d1441a276245024c9457dbf:disqus . My hesitation was always the automatic tweeting, and I joined based on Erica’s change of heart and the ability to do manual admin. However, the time I joined was extremely busy, and as soon as I got in and messed with Triberr, I realized there was no way I was going to be able to check in and approve tweets. I figured not tweeting my new tribespeople for my first two weeks in the tribe would not be a very team-oriented way to start off my entrance, so I spent a long evening reading extensively the material of the members I didn’t know and decided I would be comfortable trying automatic (figuring I could always shut it down). Of course, almost as soon as I made that decision, Erica wrote a blog post about Weiners!  :)

    Kidding aside, since that time, I actually have been very happy on automagic mode. I have not yet seen a piece that I would not have retweeted manually. Is every post worthy of a Pulitzer. No? But heaven knows, most of my own posts are not either. I believe in providing quality content and exercising a sense of responsible tweeting. I actually don’t take it lightly, but that being said, I try not to give it an importance in excess of what it is. We’re tweeting — not solving world hunger. If the RARE mediocre post gets through that you might not have tweeted in manual mode, it will not cause the death of you or your personal brand. I would rather expose my followers to the work of great writers regularly (risking an occasional stinker) than not share that great content due to time constraints.

    Obviously, there are some limitations to the above. If someone in your tribe put out a post that was hateful or offensive, etc. that is a different matter and would certainly be a big problem. Someone mentioned a
    single tweet ruining a brand, and something really inappropriate being passed along with my name is certainly a concern. However, I have yet to hear of anything like that happening, and as long as you are careful in whom you tribe with, the odds are in your favor.

    I do think it is important to remember that in real life, we recommend “the writer” and not “the post” all the time. You’re in the market for a new house? Great, my friend Jim’s a real estate agent. We don’t know what Jim is going to say to the people we refer, we only know that we think highly of Jim and assume it will be professional and will not reflect poorly on us.

    My biggest issue with Triberr is the duplicate tweets, but I feel confident that will be solved over time. And I do fear that if it gets too popular it will become too noisy. Hopefully, @twitter-14791769:disqus  and @dinodogan:disqus  are planning for that

    Summary, I like Triberr and have been happy so far. I am glad it brought you and @twitter-59802772:disqus  and others into my world. I am going to stick for awhile longer with our tribe, and if I’m still pleased, perhaps start my own. I understand your personal debate Laura, and obviously it’s about what works for you. So I can only say that if you leave, you will be missed. :)

    • http://www.flybluekite.com Laura Click

      Wow! Great comment, Adam. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 

      I had NO idea you were using it in auto mode. You had me fooled for sure! Since you’ve been so good about stopping by and sharing your comments, I thought you were doing it manually.

      I really appreciate your perspective – especially since you’re using the auto mode. I guess perhaps I place too much importance on my tweets. As you mentioned, they are JUST tweets. However, I view them as somewhat of an endorsement. And yes, while I always endorse the writer, I want to make sure I’m recommending something that I’ve read (and often commented on) and is relevant to my followers. I think it’s hard for me to let go of the control. That, and I just want to be careful not to automate too much of my Twitter experience.

      Have you noticed much of a difference in traffic for your site, Adam? Curious about that…

      I may have to give the auto mode a try. We’ll see. It does seem that those who use auto mode like it more and are perhaps seeing better results. But, that might just be a hunch.

      As for now, I’m not abandoning Triberr. In fact, I think I’m plotting a new Tribe so I can see how that works. I appreciate the kind words and I’m so glad I’ve gotten to know you through this experience, Adam!

      Cheers!

      • http://twitter.com/adamtoporek Adam Toporek

        Hey Laura, thanks! I have seen a bump in traffic; however, it is hard to tell how much Triberr is responsible (need to dig into the reporting). Also, I am only in the one tribe at this point, and it is fairly small though engaged.

        I believe in automating anything you can as long as it meets one criteria: is it something I would be doing or want to be doing manually. Triberr does that. As counterpoint, Paper.li, which we discussed last week,  does the opposite. When set to auto, it sends purposeless mentions to random strangers — which I would never do myself.

        Very glad to have gotten to know you also. Have a great evening!

  • http://soulati.com/blog Soulati

    Great observations, Laura. As we’ve discussed, I’m just going with the flow. The auto tweeting for me is tops b/c it’s summer, I’m slammed, and there’s no more time. I’m still trying to master the inbreeding function, though, so I can extend into other tribes. None of the folks who invited me to their tribes have that down pat yet, either. I know there’s more functionality to this service; it’s just that if it’s not intuitive, then my time is non-existent to master it (although, I’ve tried a few times to figure it out). Why does it need to be so hard? Thanks for presenting your thoughts here; thorough and spot on.

    • http://www.flybluekite.com Laura Click

      I’m with you – the site could be a little more intuitive. If it takes a lot of time to master, it’s not worth the trouble! That’s certainly one of the reasons to go the auto route. I may have to give it a try to see what I think about it.

      I’m glad I’m not the only one trying to figure out how to navigate these waters! So glad you’re in my tribe, Jayme!

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  • http://twitter.com/olsenjaynelson olsen jay nelson

    I’m seriously considering joining but may wait a while and research it a bit more.  Also, I’d like to see if they can sort some of the problems out and make it any better. I think the fundamental concept sounds appealing, and I’ve felt for some time that we need more resources like this that help to spread our reach and attract traffic and comments more easily and effectively. In any case, I don’t want to be a terribly late adopter on some of these things. Thanks for your analysis.

    • http://www.flybluekite.com Laura Click

      I think the best way to decide is to give a try. I was like you – I was trying to figure it out from the outside. But, I think it’s better to dip your toe in the water and see for yourself. You might find that you like it.