UPDATE: Twubs acquire Twylah in 2014
If you're looking for a way to get more from your Twitter stream and show your followers and potential followers what you're really all about, then Twylah could be the answer. I've been following the development of this new Twitter interface for more than a year. In fact, I first reviewed it over on another blogging site, but a lot has changed since then. Twylah started as a way to give tweets ‘context, perspective and agility' to quote creator Eric Kim, and now it's a tool that also gives publishers their own Twitter fan page. If you're a blogger who's active on Twitter, then this could be a great tool for you.
Using Twylah is as simple as signing in via Twitter and waiting for your page to generate. The Twylah page has a crisp, clear design (sort of like Paper.li, but with just your own tweets). It features your top 10 Twitter topics, along with the latest tweets you sent on them. Click on a tweet to see a page dedicated to that sub-topic with a longer list of tweets. Click on a tweet with a link to see a brief preview of the content you are linking to as well as replies to your tweets. You can retweet or reply from the Twylah page and you can also send a Power Tweet from the top menu. This means sending a tweet which will automatically have its own Twylah page. All Twylah pages within your profile include your Twitter bio, a Facebook Like button, a tweet button and a follow button so that people who see the page can connect with you and share your content easily through the major social networking platforms.
Interview with Twylah Founder, Eric Kim
The best way to understand what Twylah offers is to hear it from Eric himself, so I asked a few questions about the latest version of Twylah.
1. Eric, what exactly is Twylah and why do we need another Twitter interface?
Twylah creates engaging, dynamic Fan Pages out of your Twitter content. These pages are organized by your trending topics, they are shareable on Twitter and Facebook, and they beautifully showcase your content and your content alone. You get true engagement with your fans and a real brand presence out of the tweets you're already creating.
As far as why we need another Twitter interface, I'll say that no one really needs another Twitter interface or even Twylah for that matter. It is all about your goals. If your goals on Twitter are to have fun, to discover content serendipitously, or to make connections, you don't need Twylah. If you want to have a deeper level of engagement with your audience or to have more control over that engagement and traffic, Twylah is for you.
2. Can you sum up the changes between original Twylah and new improved Twylah?
The alpha version of Twylah incorporated a reader of your inbound tweets as well as an outward facing presence. In other words, you could both show the world your trending topics as well as read your inbound stream in the same topical format.
For our beta, we decided to focus solely on your outbound tweet stream and to create a real brand presence and custom Fan Page for publishers.
3. How does Twylah help with SEO?
Thanks for asking. This is one of the biggest discoveries we've made so far. On Twitter, tweets are fairly disposable. A tweet is gone in a matter of minutes to an hour. This is not a defect of Twitter, it's just the way it is. But with Twylah we pull in all your Twitter content around a certain topic, so that your older tweets on topic are pulled in, which makes them more durable and findable through search.
And not only are our Fan Pages search engine friendly, they are more easily understandable to the people who find them. Only 8-10% of Americans are on Twitter because it is not necessarily the most intuitive experience. Our pages were designed so that when the 90%+ of the population not yet on Twitter find you, they'll stay for a while and engage with your content.
As a function of time spent with your tweets, we're increasing engagement by 400% on average, which is pretty incredible.
4. What's next for Twylah?
We're in the process of rolling out two very exciting features — monetization and analytics.
“Monetization” is whatever it means for you as a publisher. Maybe that means an email opt-in for your newsletter or maybe it means a coupon download or selling an app of some kind. Whatever it means for you, we are soon going to allow for you, the publisher, to “monetize” your tweets by making available to you an ad space on your Twylah.
And our analytics are fantastic. We've put together some actionable analytics that are very understandable. We're going to tell you which topics your fans are engaging with the most, which times of day and day of the week your particular audience is most likely to engage with them, and which types of tweets are most likely to get which kinds of responses.
It's all very exciting and we're looking forward to getting these out in the next few weeks.
More Twylah Goodness
Another great feature that hasn't rolled out to everyone yet is the ability to hook your Twylah page into your own domain, so that effectively it's part of your site. After a little bit of tweaking, my Twylah page now appears on tweets.sharonhh.com. This has great potential, especially if long term you can brand your Twylah page to fit in with the rest of your site.
How I Use Twylah
One of the ways I've been using Twylah is to see whether the topics that appear in my Twitter stream are the ones I really want to be known for. As a writer and blogger, I'm happy when my Twylah page reflects my interest and expertise in those topics, but occasionally some random elements creep in. For example, when I looked at my secondary topic list (in a drop down under the top list), I saw the word ‘life' – that's a big topic, but apparently that's there because of my interest in lifestyle design.
Twylah's also a good way to check back on my own recent tweets on a certain topic, which is something that's difficult to do via the Twitter web interface. As a blogger, this is particularly useful, as it's a tool I can use to build post content.
Finally, linking to my Twylah Twitter fan page is a great alternative to linking to my Twitter web profile in the places where I promote that account. That's because it gives a more rounded picture of what my Twitter followers can expect.
So how about you? Have you used Twylah yet? What did you think?