Twitter as RSS Reader and Snagging URLs from Twitter

Tonight’s insanity was motivated by Jeff Utecht’s post on Twitter as My RSS Reader especially when he says:

Lately I’ve been thinking about Twitter as an RSS reader. My Netvibes page has about 30 RSS feeds in it, but my Twitter account has over 700 people or feeds that I can learn from. What I have found recently is that I’m reading and following more links from Twitter than I am from my RSS reader.

Yes, I love Twitter (it’s well known) but I’ve been getting a touch frustrated by the number of Twitter friends that are doing exactly what Jeff highlights here. In many cases their RSS feeds aren’t being read; they’re totally relying on people to post the links in Twitter which if they’re not careful could ultimately limit their learning by getting sucked into group thinking.

Snagging URLs from Twitter

However I decided to keep an open mind and inspired by Jeff’s post work out how to effectively collect the links posted in Twitter. Off course I’d just read a post recently, in my Google Reader, which talked how snag the URLs in TwitterFrank suggested TwitBox. And if I was going to road test a twitter application – I might as well also compare my Snitter with Twhirl that Jeff likes to use (for those new to Twitter these applications make it easier to use twitter than using Twitter’s web interface).

The insanity part — it wasn’t probably the best idea to run all three twitter applications at the same time.  Unfortunately whilst I could cope with running the three applications — it appears they couldn’t (think it was an issue with TwitBin and the other two).

twitterapplications.jpg

Have to admit – Twhirl is really, really pretty and the colours are a nice change from Snitter (this is important to some of us) — and more importantly can be used for connecting multiple user accounts.

Twitbin definitely snags the URLs from your twitter followers; but to capture them all you would need to keep it running all the time (and Frank’s right– it’s ugly looking) plus it only snags the URLs, not the entire twit which provide you with the reason to want to check a link.

Tracking URLs Posted by Your Followers

I think there is merit in grabbing links from Twitter but we need an application that makes it time effective — like a TweetScan or Terraminds application that searches for URLs within your followers and delivers the entire twits.

Meanwhile I’ve been grabbing some excellent posts to read by tracking terms using both TweetScan & Terraminds and subscribing to the RSS feeds using Google Reader.

Personally I believe I take the whole 10 signs of Twitter Addiction to an entirely different level.  Perhaps the Twitter Addiction signs should also include:

  • You’ve got more than one twitter account, doesn’t everyone?
  • You run more than one desktop twitter application
  • You track multiple terms in twitter using TweetScan and Terraminds

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Oh NO! Is Your Scanner Down And You Didn’t Realise?

I use TweetScan all the time to effectively manage conversations in Twitter that I want to track e.g. replies to my twitter name dswaters and any other variations people have used e.g. suewaters and tags like Edublogs.

With the number of people I follow I need TweetScan as my eyes and ears. By subscribing to the RSS feed for the tracking term using my feed reader I’m notified through Google Reader whenever anyone, anywhere, tweeters that term.

Unfortunately – DUH – I have had a bit of a delay in realising that TweetScan stopped scanning 36 hours ago and I wasn’t receiving the updates.

Not to fear! I just changed over to another twitter tracking tool – Terraminds – added these the RSS feeds for my terms to my Twitter folder in Google Reader and programming has now recommenced.

Here is how I subscribed to TweetScan using my Google Reader. You use the same procedure for Terraminds.

tweetscan.jpg

Here are some of my other tips for Getting More Out of Twitter.

FINAL THOUGHT

Proof – it is possible for me to quickly write a post, one handed, while drying my hair, with 2 kids fighting in the background, while drinking a glass of water!

If you aren’t tracking tag terms in twitter I strongly recommend you try it out.