Tech & The Web

Was I the 1%? Buffer App Kills My Favorite Feature in Update


Buffer App just released an update to its platform. I immediately noticed a feature I used often was nowhere to be found.

For about five years, I’ve used Buffer App (also known as Buffer) to help me with social media posting. I’ve tried other platforms.

The first one that I used (and liked a lot) was something called Sprout Social. But they raised the price to the point that their lowest plan cost $60 per month. When you have a budget of essentially $0, that’s a hard pill to swallow. Since I left them, their lowest plan jumped to $99 per month. For a price like that, they don’t even get a link.

I used Hootsuite Pro, which people touted because of its analytics. But I could never make sense of their reports because you had to use some sort of “credits” to pay for specialized reports.

Buffer App became my go-to platform. It allows me to set a posting schedule for any of my social media accounts — like my blog’s Facebook page or my Twitter account.

When you’re dealing with third-party platforms, you always face the chance a platform will make changes that limit your options. It has certainly happened before.

One of the features I liked best was that you could enter your blog’s RSS feed and it would immediately load in links to your latest posts in a tab called “Content Inbox.” You could load up to 15 RSS feeds. That meant your favorite websites that you tended to retweet or repost from could be quickly available if you had an empty slot.

This week, I signed on to my trusty Buffer App only to see that it received a facelift. OK, I thought…no problem.

But I quickly realized I had a problem.

The content inbox vanished overnight. There were no more RSS feeds. I couldn’t even schedule a tweet from my own blog from within the platform.

(Buffer offers a browser extension that allows you to click it on any website and immediately schedule a post. But that means visiting each individual page you want to tweet or post…and if it’s your own site, that gets a bit tedious.)

So I emailed them and asked what happened. Surely I must be overlooking it. Surely it must be somewhere.

Alas, they killed it.

A nice customer service rep delivered the bad news:

…We have spent many months looking into the usage of all of our features and found that only around 1% of our whole customer base was using the Content Inbox feature, and it was also a bit buggy, too. For this reason, it no longer made sense for us to continue maintaining it, and it allows us to focus our efforts on newer features.

I don’t recall it being buggy.

And I guess I must have been that 1% of its users. I used Content Inbox every time I touched the platform. It actually became the main way I scheduled social media posts of my own content.

It may be time to look for an alternative. I hate to switch things because I use Buffer for several accounts. But since I used that Content Inbox with all of those accounts, I now face a major inconvenience in the workflow.

I’m sorry so few people used that feature.

But I’m a little frustrated that they’d quietly remove it without a word. A little notice would have been the least they could have offered.

If you’re going to take something away and not lower your price, we’re almost always going to have a little problem.

How do you schedule your social media content? What platforms do you like most?

Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.