Suggestion for a New Buffer Feature: Top Story Slots

I have been using Buffer for well over a year now to manage my social media and schedule tweets and other posts throughout the day. I love it, and I’ve been fascinated by the open culture at Buffer and the candid look they give into their organization.

One of the nice things you can do with Buffer is set up a schedule of when your Tweets get sent out. So you can “buffer” things throughout the day, and each time you do so, the Tweet gets put into the next empty slot. Buffer has pointed out tools that you can use to find out when your followers are most active online, and you can use this to better optimize your schedule.

It seems to me that a person would want their most important tweets (or status updates) posted at their “peak” time, much in the way a newscast will lead with the top story. Buffer allows you to schedule tweets outside your set schedule, but I think what is missing is the notion of flagging slots in your schedule as “top story” slots. For instance, here is my Buffer schedule. Between 1 and 4 pm are the “peak” activity times for my followers. So it would be nice to be able to flag the slots as “top story” slots:

Buffer top story

My idea would work similarly to the Share Now / Share Next feature in buffer. When you add something to Buffer, you have the option of sharing it now, or sharing it next. The latter option pushing back everything in your buffer and shares the current item in the next slot (it jumps the queue instead of going to the end of the queue).

What I propose is a Buffer feature that allows you to Buffer your item as normal, or Buffer into the next “Top Story” slot. It might look something like this (excuse my crude sketch):

Buffer Example

Doing a normal “Buffer” would add your item to the next available slot. Doing a “Buffer Top Story” would add your item to the next available slot tagged as a “top story” slot.

This comes in handy when planning out your day. Suppose you plan your buffer items first thing in the morning. You find something that you think is a “top story.” If you add it to your buffer things stand now, it will go out in the next open slot. But you want it to go out at 1 pm, when most of your audience is active. Buffering as a “top story” would skip the three empty slots before 1 pm, and schedule the “top story” in the 1 pm slot. The next item you Buffer would go into the next empty slot (even an empty slot before 1pm) so long as it was not flagged “top story.”

As a software developer myself, I realize that this might be an underlying architectural change for Buffer, and perhaps not practical. But I do think it would be an incredibly useful tool for those of us who try to plan out our day in advance (or days, or week!).

In any event, I toss the idea out there freely, and with the hope that the folks at Buffer will look into its feasibility, and if it turns out to be reasonable, implement it in a future version. It would simplify things for me, but I imagine the same would be true for others as well.