Due to restrictions placed on Add-ons, Birdfeeder will currently only work with an interval greater than 60 minutes. If you want this to change, please take a minute to star the issue by visiting this link.
Birdfeeder is an add-on for Google Sheets which will allow users to create and schedule tweets in batches. This can prove to be useful when a user would like to release information at a specific time, tweet out messages at regular intervals, or create a batch of tweets which will start at a later date and be published over a given time period (duration).
It was authored by James Petersen, a Google Certified Teacher and Google Education Trainer. He is currently an education and data consultant with Amplified IT, a technical- and instructional-focused consultancy for schools and districts. I wrote this add-on to solve a problem I encounter often when giving professional development: I generally have a series of informational tweets that I want to publish during my session, but I don't want to schedule each one individually. The series doesn't change much when I'm giving the same session to a different audience, and it's boring to copy and paste the same content into a Twitter scheduled post interface, such as TweetDeck.
- After installation, users will need to authorize Birdfeeder to tweet on their behalf. This authorization is necessary for the add-on to function, and can be revoked at any time.
- It is best to use a dedicated spreadsheet with this add-on, as the structure of the spreadsheet will be altered to accommodate the requirements of the add-on.
- It is recommended that users do not modify the contents of the spreadsheet manually unless they are confident in their understanding of how the add-on functions. Some modifications to the information created by the add-on will result in malfunction of the add-on.
- Install the add-on from within a spreadsheet itself. Click on Add-ons > Get add-ons... and find it in the Add-ons Store.
- Authorize Birdfeeder to tweet on your behalf by clicking on Add-ons > Birdfeeder > Authorize. This will open a sidebar with instructions on how to authorize Birdfeeder.
- After authorizing, click on Launch to format your spreadsheet and display the user interface.
- Check that the add-on lists the correct time zone at the top of the sidebar. If it does not, you'll need to change your spreadsheet settings (don't worry, there's a helpful video that can take you through that process, and it only takes a minute).
- That's it, you're ready to use Birdfeeder!
- Create a list of tweets that you would like to publish. Write these in the "Tweets" column of the input sheet (it's highlighted for you by default).
- Launch the add-on by clicking Add-ons > Birdfeeder > Start. If you do not see this option, make sure you've authorized Birdfeeder to tweet for you.
The User Interface
1. Time Zone
Ensure that your time zone setting is correct. This is managed through the spreadsheet settings themselves, not through Birdfeeder. If you're not sure how to change it, click on the [?] for help.
2. Start Date and Time
By default, the start date and time are set to today, about 5 minutes in the future. You can change the start to be any time that is at least two minutes in the future. Why two minutes? This ensures that the add-on has enough time to successfully process all your tweets and schedule them, and then run the first scheduled tweet at the appropriate time.
3. Delay Option
You can choose to delay either by an interval or a duration. Here's a handy little chart to help you decide which is best for you.
| If you...
||Then you should use...
| Know the start and end time, but aren't sure how many tweets you want to schedule.
|| Duration. Set the start time, and tell Birdfeeder how long you want the whole series of tweets to last (in minutes).
| Know that you want each tweet to have a set amount of time between them.
|| Interval. Set the interval to be the number of minutes in between each tweet. The tweet series will last for the following amount of time: (interval multiplied by the number of tweets).
4. Add Hashtag
This option will append a hash tag to the end of each tweet in your list. This is helpful if you're using a specific hash tag for a series, and don't feel like typing it over and over.
5. Run, Load, or Close
If you're happy with your choices, click on the Run button. If you've saved a series of tweets, you can use the Load option to load them into the input sheet (more on that later). When you're done, you can close the sidebar. Don't worry, Birdfeeder will still be hard at work behind the scenes, making sure your tweets go out as scheduled. There's no need to keep the sheet open.
Saving & Loading
To save a list of tweets for later, you need to make sure you've got your tweets listed in the "Tweets" sheet of your Birdfeeder spreadsheet. Don't click run just yet, because once you've clicked run, the list of tweets will move from "Tweets" to "Scheduled Jobs." Here's how to save a list for later:
- Enter your tweets into the spreadsheet. If you're going to add a hashtag to all the tweets, don't do it quite yet.
- Click the little triangle next to "Save for Later" to reveal the option to save.
- Enter a job name, and click save. If you change your mind, you can click cancel to close the dialogue. Once you've saved it, you can collapse the menu by clicking the triangle once again.
- If you want to update a job, you can simply save the job with the same name, and it will update the previous version.
To load a job, you will need to have one previously saved. Click the load button, and choose a job from the list. When you select it, the stored tweets will appear in the "Add Tweets" sheet. You can then work with them in the same way as if you'd typed them in manually.
Trusted Tester Group
Birdfeeder uses a trusted tester group as a tool for feedback on the development of the add-on. This group is tasked with trying out the add-on and reporting any bugs they find when using Birdfeeder in their own environment. To view the group, you need to be a member. If you're interested in become a tester, you can ask to be added to the group.