If you haven’t had time to get into Twitter yet you might want to jump over there and do a Twitter crash course before you read this post, but for others who are already knee deep in Twitter, how effectively are you using this great service? There are so many aspects to Twitter that can be utilized that the deeper I go in Twitter the more I find.
One thing I started really using lately is the “favorites” feature on Twitter. If you haven’t given this much thought, the favorites feature is a great way to start to bookmark those really great posts you see and don’t want to forget. Once you start to mark tweets as favorites (or star them) you need some good way to get back to the information at some point. I was marking the posts on Twitter I didn’t want to forget but never went back to look at them. So, this is how you can take the Twitter favorites and pull the RSS feed from Twitter into your favorite RSS feed reader.
First thing you want to do is start marking your favorite tweets. You can do this in TweetDeck or in the basic browser application by clicking on the star icon when you mouse over a tweet. Then, follow these steps below to start pulling your Twitter favorites feed (if you want the short version just read step 1 and that should do it).
1. Create the Twitter Favorite Feed in RSS Reader
This doesn’t seem to be published on any Twitter help pages or anywhere else, but you can grab your favorites feed (or anyone else’s for that matter) by using the address: http://twitter.com/favorites/%5Binsert_your_ID_here%5D.rss , so to pull an rss feed of my twitter favorites, you would place the url http://twitter.com/favorites/scottfillmer.rss. Just drop this url in your feed reader and it works just like any other feed.
For more information on actually pulling RSS feeds from Twitter that are posted by Twitter (that would be the friends timeline, profile page, @replies page, and the home page, you can visit How do I find my Twitter rss feed? from Twitter support. You can also read an older post of my called Add Value to Your Blog, Offer an RSS Feed in Reverse if you really want to look at some different rss feed stuff.
If you question after reading this is what in the world is an RSS feed Brad Ruggles has compiled some of the popular how-to YouTube videos on what is an rss feed, twitter, and blogs. You can see that here.
2. Make Your RSS Feed Public (optional step)
You can now use it in any way you would use a normal rss feed. So do some cool things with it like make it a public feed or as a blogroll on your site. You can see the results below, those are live and updated as I mark items as favorites.
You can do this (if you use Google Reader) by going to the “manage feeds” link in your reader, then choosing the tag where you placed the rss feed to be public, then either choose to “add a clip to your site” or “add a blogroll to your site” and it will give you a piece of code to use where ever you like. The list below is my last 5 favorites (when they are placed in your RSS Reader they won’t clip after a certain number of characters like they do below).
3. Use What You Have Created
One reason to use the favorites options is to mark the genius in Twitter. There is a lot of information to be gained from Twitter, but it isn’t really from Twitter, it is from the people who post to Twitter. Many people take the time to post very useful information and actually create value in their 140 characters. You can find new websites, new ideas, new ways of doing things that you may not have ever thought about before seeing them on Twitter.
Update March 2011
Obviously much have changed in the way twitter functions over the last few years, but I think you will find this information still relavant and useful. Another great post on the subject can be found over at ProfHacker called Managing Twitter Feeds as well.