Twitter Custom RSS feeds provide relevance and scale

Twitter can be used in many ways and reformatted to compile custom streams based on interests, people in almost countless ways, especially using Twitter Custom RSS feeds. With the recent twitter clamp down on developers however twitter is attempting to regain control of and wall in their eco-system so people need to head to twitter more often. This means a few things have changed, including the need for a GUID on RSS feeds. This is essentially a date stamp.

Previous people would build Twitter custom RSS feeds and use this feed in another third party service like Hootsuite or tweet later to stream relevant content to their friends/fans. This system is great as it is flexible and can be used in a variety of ways, that we will let you think about. This system needs well managing a testing however as if it outputs too large a number of posts then you will soon be banned from twitter for spamming. Be careful. Spamming is not the idea of this system, but the curation and aggregation of useful tweets that can be re shared.

We use Yahoo Pipes for the RSS customisation as is it really flexible and, well, looks cool too.

Head here and register or login as appropriate:  http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.edit

Stage 1 is to take a feed from twitter

Click “Create a pipe”. Drag the “Fetch feed” item from the left-hand panel and provide your Twitter search RSS link. You should see the feed output at the bottom of your screen.

Twitter has recently removed the ability to take an RSS feed from the search, so we need to build one instead.

Yahoo pipes feed and filters

Yahoo pipes feed and filters

http://search.twitter.com/search.atom?q=%23YOURHASHTAG

replace the words “YOURHASHTAG” with whatever you want. Alternatively:

http://api.twitter.com/1/statuses/user_timeline.rss?screen_name=AUSERNAME

replace “AUSERNAME” with any user to pull a feed from only that user.

Finally you can also create an RSS feed for the timeline of a user (competitor analysis anyone?)

First you need your user ID number, which you can find here:

http://id.twidder.info/

Enter you user name and convert it to an ID number. Then use the following string:

https://api.twitter.com/1/statuses/following_timeline.atom?user_id=YOURID

Replacing “YOURID” with the number you were given.

 

Now connect these boxes together by clicking on the top and bottom points, dragging them to connect them in order as shown.

Stage 2 is to filter the result

Now you have the RSS you want to use you will want to filter the tweets. At the very least to avoid retweeting a retweet as this will cause an infinite loop and cause your account to be banned immediately.  You can add extra filters like I have e.g. “buy” to stop any promotional tweets being retweeted as this are not valuable content for my readers.

For each filter you need drag the Operator > Filter pipe from the navigation and add the following:

Select “block”  “all” Rules.  Using the drop down menu select “item.title” (as all tweets are give as an RSS title) and then type “RT” in this case for the text you wish the RSS feed to ignore.  Add as many filters as you want in this way to eliminate a whole host of terms that will make your feed as relevant as possible.

 

Stage 3 is to build the output RSS

Yahoo pipes loop

Yahoo pipes loops

In this example we have given credit back to the original author by adding their author name

1.First, drag Operators > Loop Pipe and insert it before the “Pipe output” Pipe;

2. Now, drag String > String Builder Pipe right in the middle of the Loop Pipe and do exactly what is shown on the screenshot:

This stage adds the title (which is an entire tweet’s text) and author back into the RSS feed.

Now comes the date bit that people seem to be struggling with.  

1.First, drag Operators > Loop Pipe and insert it before the “Pipe output” Pipe;

2. Now under the date section drag Date Builder into the middle of the Loop Pipe and select item.date.  I have manually typed “-gmt” to format the date so that it is UK time and not US time.

3.  Ensure the radio button “assign results to” is selected and the drop down menu is set to “item.loop.datebuilder”

Connect these boxes together in order as well.

Stage 4 is to assign the output tweets.

Yahoo pipes regex changes the tweet to include things you want to add

Yahoo Pipes regex

Yahoo pipes regex changes the tweet to include things you want to add

3. Now you should cut the first part of the URL and make it @author. For that grab Operators > Regex Pipe and there in item.title replace http://twitter.com/ with “RT @” or “via @” “thanks to @” whatever you want.

Remember that RT will serve as a retweet while the others give just a mention.  In theory you should be able to use other functions like “via @ and @coffeemarketing” so that every time this RSS feed comes in user name @coffeemarketing will get a mention also. This can be useful if you want to direct these RSS feed posts to a specific account.

Connect these final boxes together to make the full loop and ensure they are all connected in order.

Stage 5 outputs the RSS and uses the feed

Save the pipe and at the top of the page click “run pipe” to ensure it is working as you want it to.  Right click or CMD click on “Get an RSS” and then select copy link address. This is the URL for your custom RSS feed.

All you have to do now is add this RSS feed into TweetLater, Hootsuite or any other Twitter client that accepts RSS feeds and there you have it.  A Twitter custom RSS feed that shares the tweets you want automatically.

Just ensure you don’t spam and keep content relevant. Keep the conversation going around this content don’t just leave it and believe that is your job done. a social media marketers job is never done!

Kudos to http://www.seosmarty.com for pointing out this method months ago and making me work out a solution.

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