Friday, September 16, 2011

using twitter: just grab and keep the stuff you want

even if you don't use twitter, or won't use twitter, you still might find this stuff useful.

as you know, twitter is a live firehose of information.  it comes in, it's there, then it's gone. you can't pay attention to all of it because there's too much and most of it is pointless, really.  but, if you want to keep track of a person or a topic, and save that stuff for later, for reading, for searching, for ever, for whatever, i'm gonna show you how.

if you want to hear jimbarry "talkstory" about the ins and outs of it, keep reading, else if you just want to set it up for yourself, just jump down the page and GOTO LINE 1000

ok...  i had this long drawn out 4-paragraph diatribe written up in my blog draft bucket that went into everything i know about twitter's history with saving or searching tweets, because they've never done it in any organized way.  in short, they've never really cared much about it, they don't really do it themselves, and while that created a void for some clever folks to put a business model around it, now twitter changed their terms of service to keep folks from archiving.   is it due to legal liability? geotweet data? (meaning, if you tweet, haha, i know where you are), lack of any court decisions regarding the ownership of tweet content? (you might think tweets are all in the public domain, but twitter's position is that a tweet is the copyright of the one doing the tweeting) who knows?  point is there are no web apps anymore that let you archive tweets by username, keyword, or hashtag.

my favorite used to be twapperkeeper.  you setup a filter and it catches only the stuff you want.  you can then export it to a spreadsheet and run queries and analysis on it.  good stuff.  but... they've been pretty much locked out by twitter for a few months now.  the site is still there (why, i don't know) but it doesn't work well anymore.  twitter themselves offer very few organizational tools in their web client, the best one are "lists".  but a few weeks back, twitter has limited the ability to go back more than 72 hours on tweets that dump in your list.  before that--poof--they're gone.  the only way left that twitter provides to look at a really old tweet is if you have the exact url to it.  and who knows that if you didn't store it.  catch-22

ok, let's move along...

well, bob's your uncle and google's your friend, i found some info from long ago that still works.  good old rss.  and if you don't know what rss is, no worries, i'm gonna walk you thru it step by step.  i suppose you could use any rss reader client you want, but i'm finding the best way for my purpose is to setup some rss feeds in microsoft outlook.  what you end up with is a bunch of new folders, one per feed, that look, act, and work just like your email folders.  you can sort them, search them, read them, just like your email, and rss like clockwork just dumps new ones in every few minutes.  and once it dumps into your outlook, it's right there on your machine (or cloud) and you can store it forever.  i imagine some other email clients can do this too, like thunderbird, but i don't have time to figure all of that out.

so i hear you saying:   
but jimbarry, look i'm not a techie, not a nerd, not a geek, i don't even know what rss is.  you've confused me.  i'm giving up.

no, no, don't give up.  if you have outlook i'm gonna walk you through this.  you don't have to know what's going on under the hood.

(ok lookee lookee... exactly the 4 paragraphs i was trying to avoid.  good thing i gave you a GOTO way up there.)

LINE 1000:

1.  start up microsoft outlook
2.  to see what steps 3-8 below look like, see the graphic below.
3.  in your "mail folders" pane, find the folder labeled "rss feeds"
4.  right click on that "rss feeds" label.  that will pop open a menu.
5.  in that menu, left click "add a new rss feed...".  that will pop open a new little dialog window.
6.  in that "new rss feed" window type in: "".
7.  or replace the "jimbarry" part with the twitter name of whose twitter feed you want to store.  in the graphic below i replaced it with "glengilmore". (he's my second favorite social media expert and a great guy to jump out of aircraft with)
8.  click the "add" button
9.  at this point you'll get a new little popup window asking if you're sure you want to do this, and blah blah stuff about "...sources you know and trust", whatevs, just click the "yes" button.

i've included some examples below.  keep scrolling a little more.

if you want to save tweets from a person:[twitter_username].rss

if you want to save tweets that contain some keyword or hashtag:[some_hashtag][some_keyword]

here are some real examples you can copy-paste and use as-is:

what's the "%23"?  It represents the pound-sign character (#) that hashtags typically start with.  there's a technical reason for this, but it'll take another short blog post to explain it and it's not really important.  but if you ask me in the comment section below, i'll get into it.

ok, let me know below if you get stuck on any of this, or have any questions or whatever.

here's what it should look like at the end.   check out the search box yo!:

1 comment:

  1. Update. 1/3/2013

    Twitter has changed the way you must form the URL in order to subscribe via RSS. Near as I can tell this happened sometime last October. Here is an article with some details: