Sunday, March 4, 2012

Quote of the Day now powered by Tumblr

Image: Frank the mouse stops in mid-step and looks in dismay at his foot, which has gotten snagged on a large, shiny, lowercase 't'. Caption:
Yes, I shamelessly ripped off my own artwork. What of it?

You may remember that when I originally created my Twitter account, I also set up a “Quote of the Day” deal that automatically sent quotes I had hand-picked and collected. This was powered by CoTweet, which in the past I wholly and unreservedly recommended. If you’ve been watching my twitter account, you may notice that these quotes stopped on February 18

To keep it simple, CoTweet doesn’t exist anymore; ExactTarget Inc. discontinued it on February 15 of this year (they did finish sending the quotes I had scheduled – even those that were for after February 15 – that was nice of them) in favor of a paid alternative. I, of course, barely have money, so switching over was out of the question. I had to look for another, free alternative, which is where Tumblr comes in.

The Tumblr bot, a staple of Tumblr.
You’ll probably remember the discussion: how microblogging was pointless, it would never catch on, etc., etc. The thing is, Tumblr doesn’t even look like a blog because getting it set up seems so easy! Part of that is just a very uncluttered interface, part of it is that the few “setup” steps that there is are totally optional.

But the main reason why I’m going to Tumblr is because of something that seems very basic: the ability to choose the date on which each item will be published. I initially tried to do that with a Google Sites RSS feed, but discovered it was impossible. Evidently, I’d need some sort of blog for that, but creating another Blogger blog seemed too much of a trouble.

Tumblr makes everything seem so simple, even the part of having the quote appear in my Twitter feed, which is simply a checkbox. Except that… it doesn’t work that way.

Tumblr’s automatic Tweeting service always includes the link to the Tumblr post, which makes sense when you realize Tumblr considers this promotion of itself. However, most of my quotes have been tailored specifically to match the length of the tweet; the 20 or so characters Tumblr takes up with its link are characters I need to deliver (for lack of a better word) the punchline and the source. So I needed a middle-man.

The solution? Twitter-feed. Twitter-feed allows you to select just the title of the post or just its content. It may seem trivial, but it's not something many services have. And since I was already using Twitter-feed to let my twitter followers know when I post here, it didn't seem like that much of a stretch.

The only thing I don't like about Twitter-feed is their inconsistency: although you can tell them how often you want them to check for a new update, that doesn't mean that is the frequency with which they will do it. So sometimes the quote of the day will go up at midnight, and sometimes it will go up later in the day.

What does this mean to you? Simply, if you're dying to see what the quote of the day is, and it hasn't appeared on Twitter yet, remember that you can get it first via my Tumblr.


  1. I never knew scheduling a series of tweets was so complicated.

  2. And that's my point! It shouldn't be! Why do developers have to be so shortsighted?

    1. Maybe because they think if it was easy, we wouldn't appreciate their work.

  3. Hi Frank,
    thanks for visiting my blog and for your kind comment!!
    I really appreciate it. :) By the way your art is awesome!!!
    Have a nice day.

  4. Tumblr can be an ideal space for launching a product, service or brand, gaining recognition in a small community before entering larger networks with an already established reputation.