Professional Twitter-Stalking

Today Kelvin Newman asked me for a Twitter-tip. Well, I won’t reveal what he’s gathered so far until he publishes his collection, but I thought I could post a TwitterTip myself. I’m on a dead slow Internet connection, so here’s the KISS-guide to professional stalking on Twitter:

Collect RSS-Feed URIs

Every Twitter-user maintains an RSS feed. Regardless whether you can spot the RSS icon on her/his profile page or not. If there’s no public link to the feed, then click “view source”, scroll down to the RSS link element type="application/rss+xml"in the HEAD section, and scrape the URI from the HREF attribute. It should look like http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/3220501.rss (that’s mine).

Merge the Feeds

Actually, I hate this service coz they apply nofollow-toxin to my links, but it’s quite easy to use and reliable (awful slow in design mode, though). So, (outch) go to Yahoo Pipes, sign in with any Yahoo-ID you’ve not yet burned with spammy activties, and click on “Create New Pipe”.

Grab a “Fetch Feed” element and insert your collected RSS-URIs. You can have multiple feed-suckers in a pipe, for example one per stalked Twitter user, or organize your idols in groups. In addition to the Twitter-feed you could add her/his blog-feed, and last.fm or you-porn stuff as well to get the big picture.

Create a “Union” element from the “operator” menu and connect all your feed-suckers to the merger.

Next create a “Sort” element and connect it to the merger. Sort by date of publication in descending order to get the latest tweets at the top. Bear in mind that feeds aren’t real time. When you subscribe later on, you’ll miss out on the latest tweets, but your feed reader will show you even deleted updates.

Finally connect the sorter to the outputter and save the whole thingy. Click on “Run Pipe” or the debugger to preview the results.

Here’s how such a stalker tool gets visualized in Yahoo Pipes:

Pipe: Twitter-Stalker-Feed

Subscribe and Enjoy

On the “Run Feed” page Yahoo shows the pipe’s RSS-URI, e.g. http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.info?_id=_rEQorAu3hGQVK9z3nBDOQ. You can prettify this rather ugly address if you prefer talking URIs.

Copy the pipe’s URI and subscribe with your preferred RSS reader. Enjoy.

Thou shalt not stalk me!



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4 Comments to "Professional Twitter-Stalking"

  1. IrishWonder on 21 April, 2009  #link

    LOL this tip is made of win - but if you find Yahoo Pipes too slow you may try Google reader for similar purposes: http://www.irishwonder.syndk8.co.uk/2009/04/05/auto-share-your-google-reader-feeds/

  2. Sebastian on 28 April, 2009  #link

    Wise recommendation: Don’t kill it for everyone …

  3. Sebastian on 5 May, 2009  #link

    I just *had* to post this link: The Mining, Refining, And Forging Of Twitter, And other feed sources, too. I do appreciate the compliment — Thanks a ton! Bad news is, due to my current workload I can’t participate as much as I want in great webmaster forums — Sorry.

  4. Twitter User on 3 September, 2009  #link

    Totally amazing and it actually works. Great work Sebastian, now lets hope everyone uses it wisely.

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