Our Favorite Zaps: How to Spend Less Time on Twitter

Get the most from Twitter without ever visiting the site or opening the app with these 3 tricks

Jill Duffy
Jill Duffy / Published August 31, 2018

Twitter can have a lot of value, but more and more it's an arduous event to spend quality time on the site due to the high volume of contentious conversations, public shaming, political fervor, inauthentic accounts, and so forth. What can you do when you want to continue using Twitter for all its value, but you don't want to expose yourself to all the muck? (To be fair, the adorable puppy videos are just as distracting.) The answer: You can automate.

Below, I share three simple ways you can use Twitter without having to visit the site or open the app. The key to this lifehack, if you want to call it that, is to send or receive tweets from a different app that you connect to Twitter using Zapier. By connecting another app, you create what Zapier calls a Zap—in other words, an automated process—that lets you bypass having to open Twitter.

There are some limitations, however. Twitter's rules prohibit @ messages in automations, so you can't automatically tweet "hi" to every new follower, for example. But you can pull in tweets from specific accounts to read elsewhere, and you can tweet more generally from another app. Here are three Zaps to get you started.

Beginner: Share New Twitter Mentions in Slack

Do you watch mentions of a Twitter account, either for your benefit or to track your organization or brand? One easy way to see them all without looking at Twitter is to port them automatically into a dedicated Slack channel. By bringing them into Slack, you can also get notifications every time a new mention occurs. Additionally, consolidating @ mentions into Slack helps other people on your team see them in a timely fashion, too.

Beginner to Intermediate: Write in Google Sheets, Post to Twitter

Why would you first write a tweet in Google Sheets and then have it automatically post to Twitter? For starters, if you're an individual or small team using social media as part of your business strategy for the first time, searching content you've previously posted on Twitter is a nightmare. It's much better to have a record of your posts in a more searchable format.

Additionally, by using a spreadsheet, you can easily tack on other automated steps, whether they come before or after the content goes into Google. For example, you could have a Zap that says, "When I post to Facebook, save the text to a new row in Google Sheet, and when a new row populates in Google Sheet, send the message to Twitter." Or, you could have two Zaps running in parallel, such that Zap 1 says, "If I create a new row in Google Sheets, send it to Twitter." And Zap 2 says, "If I create a new row in Google Sheets, send it to LinkedIn." In that way, you can further customize how each Zap runs, adding rules such as only post the content if it contains certain words, or delay posts to LinkedIn until 9 a.m. the following day.

Intermediate: Send Someone's Tweets to a Webhook

Are you watching your competitors on Twitter? Does your industry have one or two highly influential leaders you should follow closely? When you set up this Zap, you get all the tweets—even if they're deleted later—from any account on Twitter that you choose posted to a webhook. Webhooks are messages sent from an app whenever some criteria is met. Usually, it's an event, such as a new tweet being posted or a transaction occurring. And you "hook" into the webhook to pull the information wherever you like. Think of it as a custom activity feed.

If using a webhook doesn't jibe with you, swap it out for another app from Zapier's catalog. Then, you can collect the tweets you need to watch in an email, a note in your favorite note taking app, a spreadsheet in Google Sheets, a Slack channel, and so forth.

Look for new lists of Our Favorite Zaps every month, such as Zaps for:

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