I know from personal experience that simply having thousands of Twitter followers is not enough to get those followers engaged in what you tweet. Tweeting the right content and at the right time helps tremendously in making sure your tweet gets acted upon. HootSuite is one of the hundreds of new social media tools that aim to help you do just that. HootSuite allows you to, as well as many other things, schedule your messages for the future. What HootSuite lacks, however, is the breakdown of how many of your Twitter followers are online at different times during the day. 14 Blocks fills that gap perfectly at the moment.14 Blocks works is by analyzing the number of your Twitter followers who are online and engaging in some online activity. Whether a user is tweeting something, retweeting someone or replying to someone, 14 Blocks sees it as an activity and counts that in your profile. In you 14 Blocks dashboard you see the total number of active online Tweeters, who follow you, at different times during last 2 weeks. This gives you an idea of when the next good time to post may be.
The great thing about 14 Blocks is that it gives you an almost up to the minute breakdown: 15 minute intervals is what you get. You can basically see how many of your Twitter followers were online every 15 minutes of the day for the last 2 weeks.
To help you decide if 14 Blocks is for you, here is a review of the different features 14 Blocks brings, and the elements it should work on more.
See how many of your Twitter Followers are Online Right Now
The entire power of 14 Blocks lies in its ability to let you know the number of your Twitter followers who were online at different times during the last 2 weeks. This is a tremendously vital piece of information for anyone who wants to analyze and improve the engagement rates from Twitter followers.
The best thing about 14 Blocks is shown in the above image. You can see the number of your Twitter followers online in the last week, and the number of Twitter followers online at this very moment. Imagine tweeting a very important message at 7:45pm according to the above chart, where it would get the least exposure immediately. Compare that to me tweeting that same important message at 7:00am or 10am, where according to 14 Blocks my message would get the most immediate exposure that day.
Where 14 Blocks scheduling becomes a bit more effective in theory is its combination with the data of when the next batch of highest number of your Twitter followers will be. The entire point of scheduling future tweets for many people and corporations is to make sure that different messages go out at different times for best results. 14 Blocks makes it super easy to schedule a tweet at any time you wish, or to automatically schedule it at the next best time when the most of your Twitter followers will be online.
14 Blocks service comes optimized for your phone or tablet. Simply fire up your mobile browser and the entire 14 Blocks interface will be available in a nice, clean format for your phone. Here is a snapshot of how the user interface looks on my HTC Evo 4G standard browser:
The mobile version offers all the features of 14 Blocks, including finding out the best times to post and scheduling tweets. This makes 14 Blocks a very good option if you want something that works while on the go and while being away from your main desktop or laptop.
14 Blocks Plans14 Blocks comes with 1 free plan and 2 premium plans called One Account and Unlimited.
The free 14 Blocks account is forever and gives you the ability to see the latest number of Twitter followers online data refreshed every 2 weeks. What that means is 14 Blocks will analyze and update the “How many people are online at different times during the day” information every 2 weeks for you. 14 Blocks also offers a 14 day trial of the premium accounts. After the trial, you can choose one of the following 2 paid plans or keep your previous free account:
The One Account plan, as you guessed it, works on one single Twitter account.
- Weekly Updates instead of bi-weekly.
- Filter by the language of your choice.
- Schedule future tweets.
The Unlimited plan works for as many Twitter accounts as you wish.
- Everything in the One Account plan.
- Support for unlimited accounts.
There is Live Chat support during business hours. I have also noticed Live Chat support online randomly during non-business hours. Other forms of support are via 14 Block’s official @14Blocks Twitter account, via Felipe’s own Twitter account @twtfelipe, and via 14 Blocks e-mail.
Things 14 Blocks can Improve
While 14 Blocks worked nicely while I used it, there are a few things it can address to improve.
- The data provided for calculating the number of online users is not 100% accurate.
The time data of 14 Blocks is based on an algorithm that 14 Blocks thinks is relative. Thus, when 14 Blocks says that 160 people are online, it actually means that a total of 160 Twitter users were online on tools like the Web Twitter, Android Twitter, and several other clients, but not all, that 14 Blocks thinks are worth considering. The real number of users is far higher in almost every case. 14 Blocks also counts only users who are doing something like tweeting or replying; people who are online reading tweets do not count. Thus, you may be inclined to post at times when 14 Blocks says the highest number of your Twitter followers are online when in reality, most or many of such people may actually be tweeting themselves and not reading your tweets.
- Only the Twitter social network is supported.
In today’s day and age, I think the biggest limitation of a service like 14 Blocks is its social network integration. Enhancing it to include something like Facebook or Ping.fm would greatly add more value. This if of course for me a preference since I usually use Facebook almost as heavily as I do Twitter. Facebook integration would bring 14 Blocks in line with something like Social Oomph. Social Oomph, however, is overpriced compared to what the competition brings, and in terms of price alone, 14 Blocks has an advantage. Facebook API does allow you to see how many of your users are online, and integrating scheduling with that feature can make the service focus on both Facebook and Twitter users. That can also help it become a one stop shop for scheduling messages and finding out when your Twitter followers and Facebook friends are online the most. It is definitely something that none of the other major alternatives currently focus on.
- 14 Blocks @ mentions you every time there is an update on your account.
This is more of a personal preference for me. I would rather have 14 Blocks DM [direct message] me instead of posting @ mentions with new time [latest data on how many users are online at what times] updates. It is more of a marketing route also because 14 Blocks needs to promote itself publicly too. These @ mentions are rare, though. They happen once weekly at max for each paid account and once every 2 weeks for free accounts.
- PayPal subscription model is not synced according to the billing agreement and can end up with you losing money.
I started my subscription on June 7th. I cancelled it on July 5th. Within hours, my 14 Blocks account was reverted back to the “free” version, even though the proper end date should have been July 7th. That is 2 days of paid service that I will not not be provided. I don’t need the service myself now, but for people who prefer a “per month” service instead of “per month and as long as your subscription is active” service, this may be an issue. What if you pay for a month and cancel on the 10th day – will you then lose 20 days of paid service? At this time, your 14 Blocks service plan gets cancelled the moment you cancel your PayPal subscription, instead of being cancelled when your current paid month finishes.
- Design can be improved. Look at the above chart with the 15-minute interval info of how many of my Twitter followers are online. Looking at that chart regularly to try to figure out if some line is at 2:15 or 2:30 or something else can give you a headache and waste time. The feature is awesome; it needs to save time and be easily understood also.
- The settings area is too basic.
There are not enough options to configure in the settings area. For example, while you can use a Bit.ly shortener to your advantage, there is no way to integrate data from Bit.ly, which is available via an API, into your 14 Blocks account so that you can compare how many of your online Twitter followers are actually clicking. Thus, 14 Blocks feels very efficient at the basic tools it provides. For anything extra, you’ll have to keep using external services.
- No Online Community.
I know many people consider Twitter an online community, but a proper online community is something with a comments enabled area, a forums section or somewhere where users can interact with one another easily or even offer suggestions. 14 Blocks offers no such community at the moment. Having such an area would greatly help socialize the entire 14 Blocks experience because of interaction among 14 Blocks users who can help one another, ask questions or simply offer feedback, bug reports or suggestions.
What do You Think of 14 Blocks?
14 Blocks is probably the simplest and most effective way to figure out how many of your Twitter followers are online. At this time, 14 Blocks seems like the only main tool out there that very easily shows you how many of your Twitter followers were online throughout the last 2 weeks. In comparison, none of the other major services, including what I use to schedule our messages at Social Improve, HootSuite, offer any data that shows how many of my Twitter followers are online.
The free plan shows you the number of your Twitter followers who were online in the last 2 weeks, with such data updated every 14 days. The paid plan refreshes that data on a more frequent level, weekly to be precise. Scheduling tweets is also thrown in with the paid plans, which is an added bonus for anyone who wants to know exactly how many people will most probably end up reading your tweets.
What do you think of 14 Blocks? Do you use it or have plans to use it? What do you think of the pricing compared to the alternatives?
Share your opinions about 14 Blocks or any comments below. Thanks!