Why it is useful to automate tweets
The great thing about Twitter is that it asks you, “What are you doing?”, and no update status is too trivial. If you are like me, you use Web 2.0 services outside of Twitter. If you are like me, you feed the RSS feeds of your blog posts, Wikipedia edits, and Delicious saves into Twitter via twitterfeed, so that whenever you blog, edit Wikipedia, or save a link to Delicious, your actions are logged on Twitter.
I also comment on other people’s blogs, and I thought it would be a great idea to keep track of my comments on Twitter. Some comment systems provide a RSS feed of your own comments, but most WordPress blogs provide only the RSS feed of all comments. I decided to use Yahoo! Pipes to filter the comment feed of my WordPress.com blog and output a new RSS feed containing only my comments.
What you will need
- the WordPress comment feed of a WordPress blog on which you frequently comment. (The URL of a WordPress comment feed looks something like http://pddp.wordpress.com/comments/feed/. All WordPress.com blogs have a comment feed URL in this format.)
- a Yahoo! account (free)
- a twitterfeed account (free)
- a Twitter account (free)
First create a customized comment feed with Yahoo! Pipes, then add the processed RSS feed to your twitterfeed account.
How to create your customized comment feed with Yahoo! Pipes
- Log into Yahoo! Pipes.
- Click on “Create a Pipe”.
- On the left side menu, open up the “Sources” submenu and drag “Fetch Feed” into your work area.
- In your “Fetch Feed” module, paste the URL of the WordPress comment feed into the text field.
- On the left side menu, open up the “Operators” submenu and drag “Filter” into your work area.
- Pipe the “Fetch Feed” module into the “Filter” module.
- On the first row of the “Filter” module, choose “Permit” and “all”.
- In the “Filter” module, under “Rules”, choose “item.dc:creator”, “Matches regex”, and “^your handle” (e.g., for me, it is “^Restructure”).
- From the left side menu, the “Operators” submenu should be open. Drag the “Regex” module into your work area.
- Pipe the “Filter” module into the “Regex” module.
- Within the “Regex” module, in “item.title” replace “Comment” with “commented”.
- Within the “Regex” module, click on the plus sign to add a new regex field. In “item.title” replace “by your handle” (e.g., “by Restructure!”) with a blank or “« name of blog“.
- Pipe the “Regex” module into the “Pipe output” module.
- Click on the “Pipe output” module and check the output in the Debugger at the bottom of the screen to make sure the final output looks correct.
- Click on “Run Pipe…”.
- Get as RSS.
How to add an RSS feed to twitterfeed
- Log in to twitterfeed.
- Click on “Create new feed’.
- Enter your Twitter username, password, and the URL of the RSS feed you created.
- Choose your update frequency as “Every 30 mins” and post up to 5 new updates each time.
- Include “title only”.
- Include item link and shorten link through TinyURL.
- Post new items based on “GUID” and make sure to select “Feed is sorted”.
- The rest of the options should be set correctly by default.
- Click “Create”.
- Wait up to 30 minutes until your first auto-tweet appears on Twitter.
Advanced: How to pipe your comments from multiple blogs into your Yahoo! Pipe
If you successfully created your customized comment feed in Pipes, you may want to track your comments on multiple blogs. You can modify your Pipe by adding more “Fetch Feed” modules, adding the “Union” module (under “Operators”), and adding the “Sort” module (under “Operators”).
Below is a screenshot of my modified Pipe source which combines my comments from multiple WordPress blogs.
Note that for the “Regex” module, I did not input the blog name; I left it blank instead, because not all the posts I commented on are from the same blog. If you really want to combine multiple comment feeds and also insert the blog name, you would have to do it for each blog by adding a “Regex” module after each blog’s “Fetch Feed” module. However, I don’t think tweeting the blog name is that important, so I didn’t bother.