Topify Makes Twitter Following Easier

topify-logoTopify is a great Twitter tool to help manage your follower requests. It saves you a lot of time and removes a lot of the headaches associated with new Twitter followers.  The three main features are:

  1. Improved twitter email notifications
  2. Follow back users with a simple email reply
  3. Reply to direct messages via email

I’ve been using the service for only a short time, but it has dramatically improved my overall Twitter experience and saves me a ton of time.   The two main Topify isssues are:

  1. It requires your Twitter username and password to do its magic
  2. You need to set your Twitter email to a new custom Topify address

There’s not much to be done for that first issue, but there are some options to make the second one more “secure”.  Despite these issues, Topify is well worth the effort.

Topify Feature: Improved Twitter Email Notifications

The new follower Topify email gives you all the details you need to quickly determine whether or not you will want to follow back.  This makes ignoring SPAM users and others very simple since you have all you the necessary data right in the email.  Let’s visually compare the default Twitter email with the new Topify email:

From Twitter:

twitter-default1

From Topify:

 topify-default1

As you can clearly see, the Topify message displays all kinds of valuable information while the Twitter email provides no context as to whether or not this person is someone you would want to follow. 

Topify Feature: Follow Back Users With a Simple Email Reply

After reading the Topify follower message, you can simply hit reply and send in your email program to follow that user.  This means that Topify is storing your username and password…which is the second issue with the service.  However, it is a small price to pay for the value you are getting from the service. 

Topify Feature: Reply to direct messages via email

Lastly, you are able to reply to direct messages via email.  Each direct message you receive comes in as email and all you have to do is hit reply, type your short message, and hit send.  Makes handling things from anywhere real simple.

How to Safely Use Topify with Gmail Forwarding

As mentioned earlier, you need to send your Twitter emails to Topify to make this work.  However, like many others, I didn’t want to hand over all Twitter emails (such as password changes) to Topify in case the service was broken or otherwise unavailable for any reason.  You can use a Gmail account (either your existing one or a new one) to act as the middleman to make your use of Topify more secure. 

For more information, you will want to read How to Use Topify Securely.

In Conclusion…

Topify a great service that is needed until Twitter decides to improve their own email notifications.  There’s no special sauce here; Twitter can do this at any time so I don’t know how long Topify will be around.  However, until Twitter makes these changes, Topify will remain is a valuable Twitter tool.

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8 responses to “Topify Makes Twitter Following Easier

  1. thanks for the great review. regarding password we re working on integrating oAuth so people won t have to share their password with us. So your concern will soon be solved :)

  2. Ouriel, glad to hear it. Now, if only it were possible to use this service without changing your twitter email. I suppose you “could” check the followers list instead of handling requests by email, but that simply isn’t scalable.

  3. not only that is not scalable but that would kill half of our features (reply by email and answer to DM)

  4. Ouriel, you could accomplish all of this without the email change but again, not really scalable unless twitter were to create event triggers as part of the API.

    But, there are work arounds to this email issue and I will share my thoughts on that next week.

  5. Thank you for this great review ! Btw, you forgot #4: ability to block and unfollow by just forwarding to block@ or unfollow@ topify.

    As you already noted, using the API for this won’t scale. We considered it at the beginning, but soon enough realized that using the email notifications is our only option.

    As your probably already know, there’s a workaround if you use Gmail. We currently only support forwarding from Gmail, as they keep all the custom headers of the email which we need. There’s a tutorial here: http://voyagerfan5761.blogspot.com/2009/04/how-to-safely-use-twitter-notification.html

  6. Pingback: How to Use Topify Securely « JC’s View

  7. Arik, glad to share my thoughts on Topify. You and Ouriel have done a great job with the service so far.

    I assume any forwarding system that keeps all the headers will work properly but for now, I’ve shared an example of how to setup a new Gmail account to auto-forward mail which is a little simpler for anyone who doesn’t already have a Gmail account.

  8. You’re correct – any system that forwards with all the header information will do. Although I didn’t find anything so far besides Gmail…

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