Feeding Twitter

Where you have a blog or other service on your site that provides an RSS feed then you can automatically feed that content across to your Twitter account so as to populate Twillter with links back to your blog. There are several different ways that you can achieve this depending on what sort of blog that you have and how many blogs and Twitter accounts that you want to link up.

If you have one WordPress blog on your own hosting that you want to link to one Twitter account then you have the greatest number of options available to you as there are numerous plugins available for WordPress to link it up to Twitter.Simply do a search of the WordPress Extends option for Twitter and you will be presented with dozens of pages of plugins designed to connect up a WordPress blog with Twitter. Some of these handle short URLs, some handle feeding in both directions, some handle multiple Twitter accounts, and some handle adding links to your blog entries so that others can "tweet" them as well. Which plugin you choose will depend on which combination of options you require. All of the plugins are rated so that you can tell which ones that other people recommend.

Where you have a blog where you can't add Wordpress plugins or you have multiple blogs you want to feed then there are other alternatives available for linking your blogs to your Twitter account(s).

A quick search brings up TwitterFeed as the top alternative on the results list. In fact the first few pages of results all seem to deal with TwitterFeed. This isn't necessarily the best choice though. When I first signed up with TwitterFeed their only login option was using OpenId. I tried several different OpenId options and found that most of the ones offered are rather slow and even unusable in some browsers. The recommended one was particularly unusable. I found that the only way to get OpenId working acceptably was to grab the simple self install code from the OpenId site and install my own OpenId on my own site to use to access TwitterFeed. Since then TwitterFeed have completely revamped their site to make it even slower and more unweildy than it was before. While they have added the option to use a conventional login rather than OpenId they have also managed to break the OpenId processing so that there is no way of accessing the site as the way they have redesigned their site means that even basic OpenIds such as I am using (where the code came straight from the standards site itself) fail to work with their code.

There are only two ways to fix the TwitterFeed problem and which will work depends on whether you set up the feeds using the password method or oAuth method. If you used the password method then the fix is to change your Twitter password from the Twitter/Settings/Password page. If you used the oAuth method then you need to go into the Twitter/Settings/Connection page and revoke TwitterFeed's authority to post to your Twitter account. Once you have done that TwitterFeed can no longer post anything to your Twitter account and the fact that you can no longer log in to that account is no longer an issue for you. How much of their resources that they use trying to process the feed requests that you have now denied access for is their problem. Of course when you scrap yor TwitterFeed account to implement a better solution then you should delete the feeds in your account if you do have the ability to login.

Buried several pages into the search results is a much better alternative to use instead of TwitterFeed and that better alternative is RSS2Twitter. RSS2Twitter has a number of advantages over TwitterFeed.

For one thing RSS2Twitter is much faster to use than TwitterFeed. The site is clean and simple without all of the fancy resource hogs that TwitterFeed uses. RSS2Twitter has a simple login/password setup where registering is extremely straightforward. RSS2Twitter supports using multiple Twitter accounts where you define each account once and tell that Twitter account to authorise feeds. You then simply select the Twitter account from a dropdown list when setting up each feed. When you do set up a feed RSS2Twitter immediately posts the latest blog entry (unlike TwitterFeed which waits an hour first) and it manages to track things properly so that only subsequently posted entries get fed to Twitter (unlike TwitterFeed where it will often work its way through all of the old blog entries as well and you have to waste time configuring how it is going to read the feed.

With all of the benefits that RSS2Twitter has over TwitterFeed I really wonder why people use TwitterFeed at all. I suppose that the reason is that TwitterFeed hogs the top few pages in the search results and so most people don't even realise that alternatives exist.

Of course these are not your only alternatives, just ones that I have tried. One blog to Twitter feed that I haven't tried is tweetglue which advertises that it avoids most of the disadvantages of Twitterfeed and which also does not identify itself as the sender of the posts the way that TwitterFeed and RSS2Twitter do.


This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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