Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Twitter to WordPress via ifttt - limitations

Weeks after Google's Day of Infamy i'm still failing to fully replace Google Reader Shares. Recently I gave up on Tumblr, Posterous, the zombie version of Google Reader, and some screen-scraping attempts to turn G+ streams into feeds.

Lately I've been focusing on my @jgordonshare tweets and tonight I tried using ifttt to create a WordPress feed-equipped archive of tweets.

It was easy to setup the ifttt task to turn the tweets into WP posts. I used a "1 button install" Dreamhost [1] WordPress instance I've been testing. I had to turn on XML-RPC publishing (used by Windows Live Writer, MarsEdit, etc) and provide a WordPress username and password [2].

The ifttt doesn't trigger immediately after tweet creation. I assume it checks the Twitter stream every 15-30 minutes. I manually triggered a check from the ifttt dashboard.

Here's an example of what I got

Just testing iftt tweeting to wp (sorry). http://t.co/GbR8Qdud

... Just testing iftt tweeting to wp (sorry). http://t.co/GbR8Qdud...

Yeah,  not to impressive. The problem is a tweet is simply a string, it has no special structure, no way to distinguish URL from my commentary from page title from annotation (not that there's room for all that). Tweets are much simpler entities than old-style Google Reader shares.

The experiment did work, but the result isn't terribly interesting.

So the quest goes on ...

[1] Use the code "KATEVA" or this link and you are supposed to get 50% off your 1st year costs and I get an equal saving as credit.
[2] Obviously you should create a user for this purpose and create a unique password. IFTTT has to know your credentials.

See also:


Martin said...

I have just cancelled my RSS subscription to @jgordonshare, I never clicked a single link since I never knew enough about the content behind the link.

John Gordon said...

Twitter feels like a vast room full of geeks talking into their mobiles -- and there's nobody at the other end of the line.

Except, I suppose, for the celebrity tweets. Other than celebrity broadcasting, and sharing via SMS, I don't understand Twitter's use case.

Any day now I expect an expose to be written; it will turn out there are only 300 real people on twitter.

I used Reader Shares as a way to curate knowledge and observations. I think you had the same use case. A curation item had a structure including title, link, excerpt and annotation and, of course, a feed. Optionally, metadata like tags.

I don't know of anything else like that in 2011. The closest is G+ sharing, but today G+ is a creepy echo of Reader shares.

Not only do we lack a robust repository, we lack the ecosystem that grew up around Reader Shares. For example - iOS Reeder.app's share services.

So, how are you feeling about Google these days?

Martin said...

Google is still an essential provider for some services I rely on every day – in my case on a paid basis although USD 50/year for a Google Apps account is too cheap to expect much …

- Google Mail (still great)

- Google Contacts (improving, no usable direct sync with iOS devices, usable sync with Macs only via third-party tools)

- Google Calendar (quite OK, sync with iOS devices works with one notable exception, usable sync with Macs works via third-party tools – I switched from iCal/BusySync to BusyCal. The notable exception are 'private' time only calendars which cannot be synced via CalDAV to iOS devices. ActiveSync would probably support such calendars but there is still the color issue)

- Google Reader (mostly used with Reeder on iOS, a fantastic piece of Swiss software except for the lacking offline support)

- Google Chrome (replacing Firefox although some Firefox extensions have not fully made it to Chrome yet)

I use other services such as Google Docs and Google+ but they are not that important. I still use Google Search by default, it has remained the gold standard, in particular for searches outside the English speaking web.

Finding alternatives has proved to be challenging. Google's low/zero pricing, at least in direct terms, makes it very difficult for any potential competitors.

JGF said...

Since posting this I've learned that Pinboard is a very good way to archive tweets.