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Add Customization to Your Twitter RSS Feeds

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Twitter's RSS feeds aren't very exciting. And for real-time messaging, not so useful. As a result, Twitter's RSS feeds have been somewhat neglected by the community at large, and that represents an opportunity that's going begging.

Twitter's RSS feeds can be much more useful when you make them a little smarter and work them harder as an adjunct to your blog and social media marketing strategy. And it doesn't take much effort to set up, and next to none once you're up and running.

Firstly, let's take your basic Twitter feed for your tweets (here's my twitter page http://twitter.com/phollows and here's the RSS feed for it: http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/795606.rss). In the RSS the posts and the titles are the same - plain text, no links, no branding, just the unadorned Tweet. Dull, dull, dull.

Running your Twitter feed through FeedBlitz's RSS services, however, makes your Twitter feed more sociable. Go to FeedBlitz.com, RSS / New and enter the URL for your Twitter tweets home page (it's http://twitter.com/ and then your Twitter ID (without the @), so mine is http://twitter.com/phollows ). The page and feed are public, no need to add authentication here.

FeedBlitz will find your feeds - pick the one for your Tweets. FeedBlitz will suggest a feed path, I changed mine to be "twitter/phollows" - so my newly blitzed Twitter status feed is now http://feeds.feedblitz.com/twitter/phollows

If you visit my "blitzed" Twitter feed, you'll see that the improvements are:

  1. Links in the posts are, well, actually links.
  2. Each post has an email, rss and "tweet this" icon.
  3. The landing page is browser friendly and also good for SEO.
  4. There's a mobile friendly version too at http://m.feedblitz.com/twitter/phollows
Well, ok, that's heaps better, even if used as is, but what can you do with it? Bear in mind that the same approach can be applied to your other feeds at Twitter, and also to the RSS results of Twitter's real-time search. Being creative, there's an awful lot you can do with this as it turns out.

For example, you can:
  1. Add your Twitter feed to your blog or site's RSS autodiscovery links to others can subscribe without having to track down your Twitter page.

  2. Send your Tweets to yourself via email - and you get a searchable backup straight to your inbox.

  3. Integrate your tweets into your main RSS feed using a FeedBlitz "splice" (RSS / Splices) or a service like Yahoo Pipes, exposing your tweets to a wider audience that might not "get" Twitter. And remember, since the links in the Blitzed feed are live, the search engines can find your tweets.

  4. Offer email subscriptions to your feeds in digest form (you can brand the browser friendly and mobile pages as well).

  5. Set up real-time ego or competitor or industry searches on Twitter, run the RSS through FeedBlitz, convert to email, and send your colleagues a daily digest (or faster depending on the schedule you choose) of industry news.

  6. Convert your private timeline to be a public, branded, tracked RSS feed. The feed URL is always http://twitter.com/statuses/friends_timeline.rss no matter what your Twitter ID, but it's private, so you need to authenticate by providing your Twitter username and password. Once done, your new Blitzed version is public, and (if you want), anyone can see the conversations you're engaged in and whom you're following. Offer a branded version, get the widget (RSS Promote), convert to email - you get the idea.

  7. Let's not forget reporting and feed metrics! Once you have your branded Twitter RSS and email up and running you can use FeedBlitz's RSS and email for metrics on who's using your content, how they're accessing it and what they're reading.
And the real kicker? You can do this with ANY RSS feed, not just Twitter's.

Make the most of your social media investments. Beef up your feeds with FeedBlitz!

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Blogger akwoo said...

This does not work at the moment.
When you look at twitter feed vs feed blitz feed, nothing has changed.

7:13 PM, February 23, 2010  
Blogger Phil Hollows said...

Look again. It's working just fine. Social media icons, mobile friendly, links are actually links.

Try looking at the basic source feed and you'll see the difference.

7:53 PM, February 23, 2010  

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