For the past several weeks I’ve been experimenting with auto-populating my Twitter stream through RSS feeds and automatically tweeting updates. RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication.”
Yes, I know social media is about interaction and connections, but here’s why I’m OK, philosophically, with this approach: I normally share news items I find interesting all the time. I’ve just set up a way for that a happen automatically, and with more frequency than would be happening if I were doing so manually, and I love it.
I still manually tweet, retweet and reply to tweets, of course, but now I’ve also set up a way for other things to come in that I wouldn’t ordinarily have the time to share.
In fact, I’ve noticed that engagement is on the rise for me using this approach. I’m getting more favorites and retweets, as well as comments and conversations. I feel this is just as good, if not better than if I were scouring my sources for this content by hand.
Automate your Twitter content
This is possible through the magic of IFTTT.com — which stands for “If This Then That.” Here’s how to make it happen:
- Sign up with IFTTT.com
- Find some RSS feeds of sites with content you would like to share. For example, here are some I use from The New York Times, The Atlantic and CNN Tech.
- Set up an IFTTT recipe that posts a tweet each time there’s a new item in the feed. It should look like so:
- Repeat this for as few or as many RSS feeds you like. In my case, many of the blogs I follow automatically provide links to their feeds, which are generally in the format of http://nameofblog/feed.
That’s it! Your Twitter stream is about to be hopping, with all the news you see to include from the sources you select. Just don’t let it replace your actual interaction on the site.
Curated Content? Curated Sources.
The stories I share are of interest to me, covering such topics as art, photography, technology, and humor – all things that I would be sharing anyway. So it’s still curated content, since I’m in effect curating the sources.
And I’m on Twitter as much as I was before experimenting with automation. I still respond to mentions, and converse with other Twitter users just as I always have. The only difference now is that instead of five tweets a day, my stream has about 50, many of which I never would have discovered Just in my own web browsing, so it’s also a reading list generation for myself.
This is not to say this approach will work for everyone. Or that flooding your Twitter stream with the same exact headlines as BuzzFeed will make you a Twitter superstar. I’ve just found something that meets my goals of expanding what I would already be doing, which includes more interaction — and isn’t that the point, after all?
What do you think? Have you experimented with automating content before? Have you followed the above steps, and if so, what have your results been? Let us hear from you in the comments.