Monday, August 24, 2009

Using an aggregator in twitter

I'm not a fan of bots on twitter. As a matter of fact I generally try to stay away from them. It can be rather annoying to get 20 tweets from some bot that takes up your stream so you can't see anything else that's going on. That said there are things that I do like about bots. For instance I follow @alfie6 an artificial Intelligence Agent. It constantly crawls the web looking for bioscience related news, which are published on Life Sciences Blogs. Since I work in bioscience this information is relevant to me and it is not like following @snakelicious which may send 10 tweets at a time.

I thought about the work account I manage. If I set up some basic filters it would make that so much easier. I started out by setting up a aggregator of RSS feeds with filters using Yahoo! pipes.

After clicking save, to save your pipe, a new button appears at the top of the screen

When you click "Run pipe" the results are shown and next to those results are a couple of choices.

If you click "Get as RSS" it generates an RSS feed page for the search.

Copy the URL for this page. Next I went to feedburner pasted the URL in there and followed the prompts. I copied the URL of the feed from feedburner and then created an account on I went to twitterfeed and created a new feed there. If you follow the steps it is fairly easy.

On the first page you have to allow access to your twitter account. Next give the Feed a name and paste the URL from either feedburner (better) or directly from yahoo pipes' get as RSS page. Click "Test RSS feed" to make sure it works. Next click "Advanced Settings":

Here you set the frequency and how many updates at a time, what is included in the post, shortening URL info (if you have a account put the info in here - see below), sorting, if you want to put something before or after a post (like a hastag), and finally if you want to use keyword filtering.

The final screen, when you are done, should look something like this:

As I mentioned, if you open a account you can integrate the shortened URLS into your feed and track them. Otherwise you can still track them but you can't easily see all the shortened URL's in one place.

Twitterfeed feeds your twitter account tweets that you captured with the pipe and then filtered. So all the information I want to capture about cancer from my work site and the NCI site, I feed to my work twitter account. I do this a little bit with my personal account, but not nearly as much. I let twitterfeed tweet things that I would normally tweet anyway.

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