Twitter as RSS Reader and Snagging URLs from Twitter

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).


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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12 thoughts on “Twitter as RSS Reader and Snagging URLs from Twitter

  1. Funny! Thanks, Sue …

    “..which if they’re not careful could ultimately limit their learning by getting sucked into group thinking.”

    I agree! Hahaha…

    My ideal twitter app is a combination of TwitBin (in the sidebar of FF), pretty as twhirl with all the bells and whistles, and snags the URLs like TwitBox that can also be easily archived or exported. Now THAT would be Twitterlicious!

    P.S. TwitBox supports multiple twitter accounts, too,

  2. I agree that it’s hard to follow all the links on twitter and compile them somewhere. When I find one I like, I bookmark it in delicious and tag it with viatwitter. I like twitter, but I still prefer reading the conversation on blogs. It’s self paced, which is what I need , to take the time to consider ideas and think about them.

  3. Okay, I’m on my way to addiction if not already there…only currently have one twitter account, although seeing good reason to have more than one after a few disgruntled followers moaned at me recently for tweeting on aspects other than just my nptech stuffs (they can always unfollow me if they don’t like my tweets I said!)
    …and yes…
    often end up hopping to more websites than using my RSS alone. Whereas used to check RSS first in the day, now often a lot later on, as Twitter gives me what I need…

    and erm…
    yes.. sometimes have more than one twitter app running out of curiosity of which one works best and fastest…
    Okay – confess – I love twitter!!!

  4. The problem that arises from runing more than one Twitter client at a time is the Twitter itself restricts the number of calls that can be made via the API to 70 per hour (at times of peak events they cut this back to 50).

    So when you are running more than one you very quickly approach the limit allowed.

  5. The good news Gary is I’m not a total addicts since I only have one twitter account. True but I like the colours so far.

    Sounds like a good idea Frank however I still think it needs to snag both URL and tweet. I personally would like this feature added to TweetScan and think they could do it if they wanted to?

    Janice – I like you also bookmark them using but I am more likely to follow a link on a blog than on Twitter because normally a blog post provides me with more information why I would want to check a link out. I also like the self paced nature of blog posts. But whether I like it or not the major traffic source for people checking out my blog is from Twitter.

    Laura – My thoughts about twitter has always been if they don’t like what I twitter than feel free to unfollow. Me — I still go through my Reader first thing in the morning – used to be check overnight twitters first but no longer do this. Okay we’re both addicts.

    I thought – Steven – that how they do this is by applying the restriction with the API so assumed that each would apply their own restriction rather than make it cumulative. I’ve also noticed this applies to the new update on Snitter but not the version I’m currently using.

  6. Thanks for the link!
    Twitter can lead to lemmings behavior for sure, but equally it leads to great exposure potential. For me, it’s led to many new acquaintances, introductions to new tools, and news I’d never thought to even find before. Lots of exciting stuff comes to me via my Twitter stream.

    This doesn’t make it a replacement but a nice addition to my life.

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