Saturday, April 24, 2010

Social wrestling: Google Reader, Twitterfeed, Blogger and Facebook

I might be close to a use for Twitter, bringing Google Reader closer to what Buzz should have been, and distancing Facebook.

The most important of these is distancing Facebook. For the past year I've been reluctantly using Facebook. Why reluctant? It's not distrust. I trust Facebook completely. I trust Facebook to lock in my data, and to exploit any information I provide. So while I like some of the things FB gives me, I want to keep it at a good distance. I want to be able to leave at any time, and I don't want to entangle friends in FB's world.

My latest solution is to combine blogger with the misnamed twitterfeed social network routing service. Twitterfeed consumes feeds, and generates output updates to (currently) Facebook, Twitter, (a rival actually), Loconica/ and Hellotxt (another rival). Unlike rivals I've looked at before (, twitterfeed understands and implements Oauth and OpenID. Twitterfeed doesn't Fail by storing my credentials.

Oauth and OpenID are imperfect, but just right for this task. Now the equivalent of my Facebook Profile page is a special purpose Blogger page. I own the blog, I own the posts -- Google Data Freedom means I can even move the blog. That's where I post stories I want to remember, and where I post about albums I've put on Picasa web albums (or anywhere else). Twitterfeed consumes the RSS (Atom, technically) freed from my blogger "Profile" page and creates posts to Facebook with a shortened URL. It could also create posts to Twitter from the same source. (I used to do similar things with the uber-geek-cool Yahoo Pipes, but they have been shut out of FB and seem to be waiting for an acquisition.)

Twitterfeed does all this with modern authentication protocols - I never gave 'em a password. I write my posts using blogger tools and the updates show up, about 30 minutes later, in Facebook (no pubsubhubbub or even ping support yet - hence the delay). They come out pretty well in FB.

In a related experiment I'm using twitterfeed and my little used twitter account to create prefix-tagged tweets from my Google Reader Shared Items. So far I'm just experimenting, but I might find something useful there. (Back when it worked, I used to share the Reader Share feed with Facebook -- see the long list of post refs below for other permutations).

This approach looks promising, but of course Facebook may break it at any time and, sooner or later, Twitterfeed will either run out of money or become part of Google or Twitter. In the meantime I continue to wait for Google to publish a GR Share API (maybe as a special case of a Buzz API, though I fear Google's tweet to Buzz feature will forestall this). Then someone is sure to make it possible to tweet to Google Reader notes.

More to come I'm sure ...

Update: The Twitter feed of shares doesn't really fly. It chops off my annotations, and the link, of course, goes to the unannotated original.

Update 10/26/10: I switch to using Feedburner to do tweet my reader shared items.

See also other stuff:
my stuff:


Rob said...

Did you ever find any luck with this? Just like you, I've been trying to find a nice way for my Google Reader share items to facebook. So far I've been using twitterfeed, but I'd like them to appear as nicely as when you explicitly share a link on Facebook.

JGF said...

Just twitterfeed, and it doesn't render very well.