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#Tip: Create an RSS feed using the Twitter API

Image by shawncampbell on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Image by shawncampbell on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

It used to be easy to create an RSS feed to follow a Twitter hashtag, user or keyword. One way to do this was to create a Twitter RSS feed using Twitter search engine Topsy.

Twitter switched off the API for RSS back in May, so Topsy is now unable to offer that function.

The good news is that it is still possible to create an RSS feed from Twitter but it is slightly more complicated.

There is a helpful guide here.

And this video guides you through step-by-step:

There is also a written explanation in this Journalism.co.uk guide on how to create a tweet-powered light bulb.

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App of the week for journalists: Push Reader

August 29th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in App of the Week

App of the week: Push Reader

Phones: iPhone

Cost: £1.49

What is it? An app that delivers push notifications of selected Google Reader RSS feeds. It’s a particularly useful app for journalists.

How is it of use to journalists? Many journalists follow news related to their beat or niche by setting up and following RSS feeds.

If you would like to receive push notifications on your iPhone of particular feeds set up in Google Reader, this iPhone app is for you.

 

One advantage is that you can set “do not disturb” times so that you don’t receive notifications during the night, for example. As with other apps with push notifications, you can select to turn off the sound alerts.

Have you got a favourite app that you use as a journalist? Fill in this form to nominate an app for Journalism.co.uk’s app of the week for journalists.

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App of the week for journalists: Zite

App of the week: Zite

Operating systems: Apple: iPhone or iPad

Cost: Free

What is it and how is it of use to journalists? If you are feeling overwhelmed by the number of RSS feeds, tweets with links to articles and other social media sources you are tasked with checking, download Zite.

Released first as a personalised magazine for iPad, an iPhone app was launched not long before Christmas and offers a fantastic way of finding stories you may have missed.

Zite mashes together your Twitter, Google Reader and Read It Later feeds and delivers posts around your subject area.

Not only does Zite surface posts you may miss using Twitter and RSS, it is intelligent and allows your to teach it exactly what you like and don’t like via thumbs up, thumbs down buttons displayed on the story.

Zite will automatically work out your niche interests, which appear as categories along the top of the iPhone app and can be swiped through.

You can, of course, share to Twitter, email, Facebook and other services, including Evernote and Pinboard.

Zite’s advantage could also be its downside: it only delivers a handful of stories rather than many every minute as Twitter does (presuming you are following lots of sources). To some this may be a disadvantage, to others they will enjoy reading the manageable amount of interesting posts the app unearths.

Have you got a favourite app that you use as a journalist? Fill in this form to nominate an app for Journalism.co.uk’s app of the week for journalists.

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Ten technical Twitter tips for journalists

So you think you know Twitter? But do you know how to archive tweets, set up an RSS feed of a Twitter stream or have private group chat?

Here are some practical, technical tips to help you:

1. Learn to love Twitter’s own advanced search. Since being updated earlier this year, Twitter’s search options have become much more powerful than they once were. You can use the advanced search page, but it’s worth learning a few shortcut commands you can use on the Twitter homepage. For example,

Type to: in the search box on Twitter’s home page to get messages sent to you or to a particular username.

Find local tweets using near: and within: This is a tip sent by journalism student Jeroen Kraan @KraanJ when we were discussing Twitter tips on @journalismnews.

There is a list of more Twitter advanced search commands here.

2. Search tweets using Topsy. Topsy is Google for social media, a search engine that allows you dig part way into the unimaginably vast Twitter archive.

3. Get to know other search tools. Search tweets using Snap Bird. This is a really handy tool that allows you to search a user’s timeline or your own account. Try PostPost to search and “strip search” your timeline. PostPost will ask for your email address, send you a link and then you can dig deep within your timeline, searching for a specific hashtag or user.

4. Set up an RSS feed. You can set up feeds of your own or any other user’s Twitter updates.

To add a feed of tweets from a user copy and paste the following, replacing xxxx with the user name.

http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/xxxx.rss.

This method doesn’t work for Google Reader but is compatible with RSS readers such as NetNewsWire.

To set up a keyword RSS feed use the following URL, replacing Journalism.co.uk / journalism jobs with your search query.

http://search.twitter.com/search.rss?q=journalism.co.uk

http://search.twitter.com/search.rss?q=journalism jobs

There’s also this really handy tool from Sociable.co. This allows you to set up an RSS feed for a username, Twitter list or keyword.

5. Archive your tweets. You can archive a hashtag or tweets sent from your account or another user’s account using Twapperkeeper. This is a particularly useful way if you want to search for a tweet you sent some months or even years ago.

6. Verify tweets. The HoverMe browser extension for Chrome is useful for verifying Twitter sources. Once installed and you hover over a Twitter profile photograph, you can see what other online accounts that user has and although not fool-proof, it will give you some idea of whether they are a real person with LinkedIn, YouTube and Delicious accounts and, helpfully, a Klout score, which measures online influence.

7. Here’s a tip for TweetDeck users who share the management of a Twitter account. One limitation of TweetDeck is the inability to be able to create a column of tweets sent from your account, something you can do in other applications such as HootSuite. The workaround is to set up a new Twitter account, follow the one (or more) account you manage and set up a TweetDeck column for “all friends”. This is our solution at Journalism.co.uk, where several people respond to tweets.

For this to work you must always use a character before the @ as tweets beginning @username can only be seen by people who follow you and that person.  For example, use .@joebloggs and not @joebloggs when writing tweets that begin with a username.

8. Have private, group chats by starting tweets with !b. New Twitter tool !blether allows you to start a group, private chat with people who follow you. After authenticating this tool you can use !b at the beginning for a tweet to begin a conversation. Useful for chats during conferences.

9. Monitor Twitter lists. How often do you make use of other people’s Twitter lists? Journalists seem to frequently overlook these existing lists where people have already done the legwork for you in terms of collating lists of useful people to follow. For example, a journalist following a story such as an uprising in an Arab country, a financial story or celebrity gossip can simply follow a list someone else has created.

Did you know that Journalism.co.uk has Twitter lists for UK regional journalists, UK broadcast journalists, UK press public relations, UK consumer journalists, etc? Send us a tweet if we have missed adding you to the correct list.

10. Familiarise yourself with how to read and send tweets via SMS. You never know when you might need to send or read a tweet via SMS. Even if you have a smartphone you may find yourself unable to use a 3G or WiFi signal. The number you need to save in your contacts is 86444 (for UK Vodafone, Orange, 3 and O2 customers). (Other country codes are listed here.) The command you need to remember or to save is ON. Text ON to the above number and you will be able to follow the commands to receive and send tweets.

Helpful links:

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‘If this then that’: ten recipes for journalists

If this then that – or ifttt – is a tool that allows you to connect various other tools together to create rules or tasks. It allows you to connect 17 channels, including SMS, Facebook, WordPress and Dropbox, offering 1040 possible task combinations.

The most popular ‘recipe’, a task designed and shared by others, will give you an idea of how ifttt works. This recipe allows you to connect your Facebook and Dropbox accounts so that when someone tags you in a photo on Facebook, the photo will be added to your Dropbox folder (cloud storage allowing you to access your files on different devices).

Here are ten ifttt recipes for journalists:

1. When you receive an email from a key contact or your editor, you receive an SMS

You no doubt receive scores of emails but there are some senders that are more important to hear from than others. This recipe allows you to set up a key contact, such as a source or your editor, and receive a SMS whenever that person emails you.

2. When you post a link to Delicious, add to Dropbox

If you use Delicious to bookmark interesting stories, this recipe allows you to also save the links to Dropbox. For example, I am interested in new smartphone apps so have set up a connection so that any Delicious bookmark that I tag “app” is posted to a folder in my Dropbox account.

3. Post Google+ posts to your Facebook page

Google+ adds additional responsibility for anyone in the newsroom tasked with managing social media.

It is widely recognised that non-automated posts are best when it comes to Facebook and Google+. This recipe allows you to write a link post in Google+ and automatically post the link to your site’s Facebook page. You can also create a rule to post status updates.

To do this you need to set up an RSS feed of your Google+ account. Copy your Google+ ID, which is the long number in the URL of your Google+ profile, and paste it on the end of http://plu.sr/feed.php?plusr=. My Google+ feed is therefore http://plu.sr/feed.php?plusr=107031542976965456407, for example.

4. Create an Evernote every time you star an item in Google Reader

If you use Google Reader as your RSS feed reader and want a quick way of saving key articles to Evernote, this is a solution.

5. Post to Instapaper (or Read It Later) every time you star an article in Google Reader

If you use Instapaper to read articles later this is a quick way of posting from Google Reader.

6. Post a ‘favourite’ tweet (with links) to Instapaper (or Dropbox or Evernote)

When you come across a tweet with a link and want to save it for later you may well click star to make it a favourite. This recipe allows you to save those favourite tweets and post the linked articles to Instapaper. Alternatively, you can also set this up to save to Dropbox of Evernote.

7. Add favourite Flickr photos to Dropbox

If you post stories you write online, you may well use Flickr images with creative commons licences. Flickr allows you to indicate favourite images that you come across and may want to use at a later date. This recipe saves those images to Dropbox. Alternatively, you can set this up to save favourites to Evernote.

8. Send me an email (or SMS) to remind me about a daily meeting, weekly or monthly task.

If you have a daily or weekly meeting or task to carry out, ifttt can enable you to create reminder.

9. Send me an email (or SMS) every time a certain person tweets

Twitter is a great source for journalists but it is easy to miss a tweet from a key contact. Perhaps the key source is a person or company that only occasionally tweets and when they do you want to be alerted immediately. This recipe allows you to receive an email when an individual tweets. You can also set a rule to receive an SMS.

10. Send me an email every time a keyword is mentioned in an RSS feed

This is a recipe I suggested in a recent Journalism.co.uk tip of the day. It is a way you can set up an alert when a keyword is mentioned by a particular news provider.

If you are a journalist and have a favourite ifttt recipe, share it in the comments session below.

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#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – use ‘if this then that’ for story alerts

Journalists who are interested in particular topics from other news sites can use a nifty new tool to receive alerts when stories go live.

It’s still in private beta but the people behind ifttt – which stands for “if this then that” – seem quick to hand out invites to those who sign up.

The tool, which was our tool of the week for journalists a couple of weeks ago, allows you to connect 17 channels, including RSS feeds, SMS, Facebook and Dropbox, and set rules, with the potential of 1040 possible task combinations.

For example:

If someone tags me in a Facebook photo, download it into my Dropbox.

Or:

If someone such as myboss@newspaperwebsite.com emails me, send me a text

One of many uses for journalists is the ability to set a keyword in relation to an RSS feed and set up an alert.

For example, I copied the Journalism.co.uk RSS news feed, pasted it into ifttt, added the keyword “tip” and selected an email option so now whenever a tip is posted on Journalism.co.uk I receive an email with a link.

You can browse “recipes” created and shared by other ifttt users.

I have a couple of invites to the platform so can invite the first two people to contact me with an email address at Sarah.Marshall[@]journalism.co.uk

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App of the week for journalists – Flud, an RSS and news reader

App of the week: Flud

Operating systems: Apple (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad) and just released on Android

Cost: Free

What is it and how is it of use to journalists? Any journalist who uses RSS feeds to keep a track of news will know their worth. But if you’ve tried to use an RSS reader on your phone you will no doubt have found the small screen to be annoyingly limiting.

Flud is a good alternative, as it allows you to add RSS feeds from Google Reader and search for other feeds from news sites and blogs. You can organise your content by dragging feeds around and you are presented with stories in a visual, picture-led way. This is probably what earned it the title of Fast Company’s “Best UI of 2010″, as stated on iTunes.

After organising your feeds you can then bookmark and share stories by Twitter, Facebook and other social networks.

  

Reviews: It gets three stars in Apple’s App Store and in the Android Market.

Have you got a favourite app that you use as a journalist? Fill in this form to nominate an app for Journalism.co.uk’s app of the week for journalists.

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TechCrunch: Pulse launch – are RSS news apps must-haves for the iPad?

TechCrunch reports on the launch of Pulse – the RSS-based news aggregator application created for the iPad by two US university graduate students Akshay Kothari and Ankit Gupta.

On sale for $3.99 [£2.76], the app is aimed to please both hardcore RSS reader users and people who are willing to pay top dollars for single publication apps. Pulse’s home screen renders stories from multiple sources on a dynamic mosaic interface. Swipe up and down to see headlines from various sources, and right and left to browse stories from a particular source.

Full story at this link…

The app gets a favourable review from TechCrunch and adds another point to Patrick Smith’s post last week arguing that RSS feeds beat any branded iPhone or iPad news app:

Of course, the everyday Man On The Clapham Omnibus doesn’t care or want to know about RSS, much less mobile apps that create a mobile version of their OPML file. But Journalism.co.uk readers are media professionals – and I’d wager that most of you are capable of using free or cheap software to create a mobile news experience that no branded premium app can match.

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#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – digital reminder services

May 5th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

Organisation: Good round-up of online services you can use to set-up digital reminders for jobs to be done. Alison Gow takes a look at Evernote, Instapaper and filtering Twitter and RSS feeds. Tipster: Laura Oliver.

To submit a tip to Journalism.co.uk, use this link – we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.

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ReadWriteWeb/Hitwise: Is Facebook become the biggest ‘news reader’ on the web?

An article on ReadWriteWeb suggests that Facebook has become the biggest ‘news reader’ online – more people are using the site to read news feeds than services like MyYahoo and iGoogle.

Facebook itself has been pushing its audience to use the site in this way by encouraging users to become fans of news organisations and then creating a list that only displays updates from those news sources, says RWW, which goes into detail on why it thinks Facebook could become “a world-changing subscription platform”.

Elsewhere, Hitwise has some stats in response to RWW’s story which suggest that Facebook was the fourth biggest driver of visits to news and media sites last week in the US.

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