Goodbye Twitter – you were useful for (quite) a while.

After getting rid of my Facebook account a long time ago, finally, I have decided to pull the plug on Twitter as well. I have become increasingly wary of the changes of the platform as it seeks for a way to monetise it's user-base. The timeline has increasingly become infested with annoying ads and no way of getting rid of them. Since Twitter effectively killed the whole app ecosystem with their changes to API rules and banning anything that became useful to a substantial number of people. Another major annoyance has been Twitter's insistence in seeing itself as a 'media platform'. The last thing I need is another media consumption time-sink. The changes I.M.O. is completely misunderstanding their initial user base. While most 'media' people always complained about 140 characters, it served a purpose. Since Twitter started messing with the timeline (letting some algorithm decide what I might find useful) I have been toying with the idea of letting go of my Twitter account. The last straw was the last Australian federal election which really hit home what a toxic echo chamber this platform has become. Even though I have never followed any serving politician it was hard not to get drawn into some of the 'discussions' being a person interested in Agriculture, Environment & Energy policies and following a few accounts in those interest areas. I have better (more productive) things to do than being sucked into hyper-polarised #auspol threads (and frankly - when reading some of the replies…

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Twitter RSS Feeds

Now that Twitter has totally killed their V1 API there is no official way to get Twitter feeds via RSS. Which is a real shame as RSS is a well accepted Open Standard for this type of information :-(   by  Jurgen Appelo  The Twitter REST API v1 is no longer active. Please migrate to API v1.1. https://dev.twitter.com/docs/api/1.1/overview. SHAME ON YOU TWITTER ! Currently there seem to be very few third party sites providing RSS services and it appears unlikely many will as Twitter will just kill them with changes to their API and/or terms & conditions as soon as they gain traction. Here is one I found to get a Users Timeline (which is not all that useful). http://www.twitter-rss.com/ However Hashtag or Search to RSS services are harder to find and will need a lot more work to implement http://www.queness.com/post/14004/easiest-way-to-retrieve-twitter-timeline-and-hashtags-twitter-oauth-api-11 Please use the comment section if you are aware of others !

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Creating Twitter Archives

One of the more common uses of Twitter for me is to monitor "back-channels" at events (often events I can attend, but more often these days events I am unable to attend). Unfortunately Twitter's search capabilities cease to be useful after a little while and so it is very handy to be able to create an archive for the events 'hashtag'. There used to be a number of tools in the early days, but mainly because of Twitter's changes to policies and very unfortunate morphing into a closed 'media-publishing' platform, the developers of such tools were forced to discontinue their services. Here is IMHO the best remaining tools I have found that still work: TweetArchivist This is an easy to used & fairly polished product which allows download of raw data. http://www.tweetarchivist.com/ TAGSExplorer This is a more involved, but open solution based on a Google Spreadsheet and can be modified to suit. http://mashe.hawksey.info/2011/11/twitter-how-to-archive-event-hashtags-and-visualize-conversation/ Kudos Martin Hawksey from JISC CETIS

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Organisational micro-blogging for all

Having seen more and more articles on the use of micro-blogging tools in educational and corporates settings, I am constantly surprised that one of the most useful options from my point-of-view seems to be constantly overlooked. Micro-blogging is like Twitter, but private to your organisation. It is a great way to capture those more informal internal discussions. It can help distribute useful information (such as links) throughout your organisation or help kick-start conversations. The major advantages of StatusNet as a platform over competing proprietary systems (such as Jammer) are: Ownership of information: you can host StatusNet yourself and StatusNet fully supports DataPortability.org to get your data exported from StatusNet as well. Customisation: since you can host Status.net yourself it is possible to fully customise it to suit your needs. Integration potential: since StatusNet is Open Source software you can easily integrate and build upon it. To download Status.net head to http://gitorious.org/statusnet/ or try a personal account with Identi.ca. You can also use a cloud-hosted version provided by StatusNet http://status.net/cloud. A Yammer import tool is also available for users looking for a Yammer Alternative. However being a tool that is private to your organisation does not mean your users will be isolated. There is the ability for your user to connect StatusNet with with their Twitter account should they wish to post messages outside. Note: this is a cross-posting from my work blog at http://www.brightcookie.com/blog

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Find the direct link to a Twitter status update

I sometimes need to link to a specific Twitter status update and since the recent upgrade (or as I personally see it downgrade) of the Twitter UI it is quite annoying to find the Status ID, as it can not be copied from the interface (without some Javascript debugging tools at least). http://api.twitter.com/1/statuses/user_timeline.xml?screen_name=[screen_name] This will show the users timeline in XML format revealing the Status ID in the XML result. The following URL can be used to then construct the permalink to the specific status update: http://twitter.com/[screen_name]/status/[status_id] Not a particular hard thing to do, but annoying and time consuming if you have to remember. Hope this saves somebody some time. Enjoy !

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Testing mobile Twitter clients

Being out and about a lot, I am a fairly heavy user of my mobile internet plan (currently with Hutchinson 3). One of the more common tasks when there is some down-time while in transit or waiting for coffee is checking out what's happening in the twittershere. Personally (being a web-app developer for years) I generally prefer browser-based apps over 'native apps'.  Dont even get me started about J2ME apps. One of the main reasons for this preference is that I tend to switch handsets fairly frequently. This makes installing software on phones a large waste of time. Just copying your bookmarks (in my case I have made up my own custom start page on the device) saves a lot of time. 1) Mobile twitter (http://m.twitter.com) Being Twitter's very own interface this is probably the one most people start off with. However the functionality of the mobile Twitter client is very limited and after starting to use Twitter more regularily I found the lack of functionality too limiting and started looking for alternatives. 2) Slandr (http://m.slandr.net) The Slandr interface looked very nice and functionality compared to mobile Twitter was excellent. I quite liked the 'Geo' function in Slandr, however the annoying adds embedded in content put me off this one. 3) Dabr (http://m.dabr.co.uk/) Shortly after trying out Slandr I found this client and this is the one I am now using as my default. I find the interface very clean,  the functionality is all I require on the mobile handset…

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