Software, Technology

Review: twitterfeed


twitterfeed setup part 1twitterfeed (always lower-case) is a utility that allows you to feed your content from a blog or website with an RSS feed to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Twitterfeed reads your RSS feeds for new posts and sends them to your social network accounts.

Using the existing infrastructure of RSS (Really Simple Syndication), you can share to multiple Twitter accounts or to a Twitter account and a Facebook page. You can customize the format of the posts in the ‘Advanced Settings’ of your feeds and track the performance through real-time stats. twitterfeed checks the format of the feed to make sure it parses correctly.

You can put in your Blog/Website URL and twitterfeed will automatically extract your RSS feed URL from your blog or website.

The address/URL of the feed will vary, depending on the blogging platform used, sbut you can select from multiple formats of feeds, ‘RSS 2.0’ or ‘Atom format’ are the most likely to work with twitterfeed.

About twitterfeed
This free service came out of nowhere and aside from some smart branding, there’s no About Us page. All you’re told on the web-site is: “twitterfeed, Inc. is not affiliated with Twitter, Inc. and licenses the trademark “Twitter” from Twitter, Inc. twitterfeed’s service is intended to augment, supplement or enhance the services provided by Twitter (…Facebook and LinkedIn…)”

Do a little research, however and you find: “Twitterfeed, Inc. provides service that allows publishers to distribute RSS feeds and updates to twitter. The company is based in the London, United Kingdom. As of August 9, 2011, Twitterfeed, Inc. operates as a subsidiary of Bitly, Inc.” (Bloomberg Business Week listings).

Also: “…founded by Mario Menti. Twitterfeed currently has no publicly disclosed revenue source.” (Wiley and Sons)

Creating and Updating
twitterfeed set-up stepsStep through the guided set-up process and newly created feeds should start posting within an hour. In three steps, you create a feed, set the services to which it publishes, confirm and go. For each account to publish feeds, you have to sign in and authenticate, but his is no different to publicizing through WordPress or Tumblr. You can set the update frequency (how often it checks the RSS) and other advanced settings.

Posting duplicate or old content is a cardinal sin, so twitterfeed includes a number of checks to try and never re-post items that have already been posted, for example the uniqueness of the links, GUID’s, published date-time-stamp of each post, so as not to post an item again

‘Keyword filtering’ is an option to filter a feed using a keywords, so only posts that contain those keywords in either the ‘title’ and ‘description’ will be sent to your social network accounts. It doesn’t filter on categories, links, or any other element of a feed item; for that you’d need more advanced filtering such as Yahoo! Pipes, but as long as that service provides output as RSS, so you could then use it in twitterfeed.

You can also use URL shorteners such as Bit.ly with Twitterfeed. In the ‘Advanced Settings’ panel, click on ‘bitly settings’. In the fields provided, enter your bitly account login and API key (from your bitly account settings). You can click on ‘verify bitly account’ to check that the bitly API information is correct.

twitterfeed setup step 2You can force twitterfeed to update posts using the ‘check now!’ link in the feed dashboard, Twitterfeed will do an immediate fetch of the feed, and post any new items.

Quirks
Posting to Facebook doesn’t always post  thumbnails and images; twitterfeed will only post a “proper” Wall post with image thumbnails  when the default ‘post title & description’ settings is used in the advanced settings. For ‘title only’ or ‘description only’, you only get Facebook Status updates which  don’t contain any thumbnails.

Verdict
twitterfeed does what it does with a minimum of fuss. It’s easy to use, easy to customise. It doesn’t patronise the experts and there’s enough in the help and the FAQ’s page to resolve issues for the willing beginner. It makes certain assumptions of the user, but you’re hardly likely to stumble on a service like this by accident, you’ll have an idea of it’s worth and what you want to achieve. Best of all, it’s free. RC

About Robin Catling

Writer; performer; project manager; sports coach; all-round eccentric.

Discussion

3 thoughts on “Review: twitterfeed

  1. Genuinely very good website article which has got me considering.

    Posted by Jollimore | March 26, 2012, 8:49 pm
  2. It’s actually a useful piece of software. The Facebook link on so many platforms breaks because of the permissions and API thing that Facebook screw around. I am glad that you just shared this with us.

    Posted by Kemmis Ratliff | June 2, 2012, 5:36 pm
  3. Excellent little tool.

    Posted by My Ydiq | June 28, 2012, 8:12 am

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