Edit 12 June 2013 - Twitter has now stopped RSS feeds from working as far as I can tell.
There's a bit of preamble about IFTTT and then a question which you might be able to help with. If you already know about IFTTT please skip the preamble and jump to the question :)
Preambly bit about IFTTT
If I understand correctly, as of 27 September 2012, people will no longer be able to use Twitter's system to send or store tweets somewhere else(1). For example people have been able to use the If This Then That service to post their tweets to Google+, archive their tweets in a text file, Google Calendar or Evernote.
These are all done with 'recipes', created by users, in which IFTTT drives information from Twitter to another service. Recipes involve channels, triggers and actions - eg you can create a recipe that says if a tweet is posted (trigger) to Twitter (channel) then post it (action) to Evernote (another channel). IFTTT's 'About us' explains this very well.
There's a list of recipes here that include Twitter as a trigger (the Twitter icon appears on the left of the recipe) or as an action (on the right), some example below.
|See a whole bunch of recipes like this, sending tweets to Evernote|
|Examples of Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr etc triggers sent to Twitter|
So... are there any alternatives, or will they all be blocked for misusing Twitter's API?
Is there anything that Nigel Paul can do to retain the ability to automatically retweet, 12 hours later on delay, the tweets he's tagged with #r12, and to forward tweets tagged with #gl to both Google+ and LinkedIn? He's currently using IFTTT to take a trigger from Twitter, and that's the functionality that's being disabled.
I wonder if the first one (#r12) might be OK. Although the trigger is a tweet the action is also a tweet and I don't know if Twitter will smile kindly on this as the end result is going back to Twitter. There are plenty of examples of IFTTT recipes in which one type of tweet triggers a different kind of tweet (eg auto-thanking people for following you).
Alternatively, it might be possible to solve by using RSS as the trigger, instead of Twitter. Although the relevant addresses to use are pretty hidden Twitter's various streams (user, mentions, search etc) do support RSS feeds as a way of reading the updates - however RSS support will apparently be switched off by Twitter on 5 March 2013.
Edit: 9.14am - RSS feeds do work (the only example I've looked at is saving tweets to Evernote but see further reading below for how to set up and customise an IFTTT recipe using RSS feeds)
Example RSS feeds, just swap the relevant search term with your own:
- User: http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/jobrodie.rss (opens fine in Firefox and Internet Explorer where I'm logged in to two different Twitter accounts. On Chrome, where I'm logged into a third account) it tries to launch an RSS reader app)
- Mentions: http://search.twitter.com/search.atom?q=@jobrodie (as above)
Favourites: http://twitter.com/favorites/ jobrodie.rss(gives blank page in Firefox and Chrome, says there's a format error in Internet Explorer so perhaps the link has changed)- aha try http://api.twitter.com/1/favorites.rss?screen_name=jamietr instead but swap jamietr for your own (or presumably someone else's if you want) screen name. I heard about this format for the URL from this comment on this blog post.
- Search (use %20 between words to fill in for the space and make the URL continuous):
http://search.twitter.com/search.atom?q=fluffy%20bunnies - all instances of fluffy bunnies :) (as for User and Mentions)
- Hashtag search (use %23 for the # symbol): http://search.twitter.com/search.atom?q=%23scicomm (as above)
But if it is possible to gather just your own hashtagged tweets and if Twitter doesn't compel IFTTT to block Twitter's RSS feeds as triggers then this might work (for six months!)
But what to do after six months, or if IFTTT isn't allowed to send Twitter's RSS feeds to Google+ or LinkedIn?
What are the alternatives, if any? Will app.net let you post your tweets (what are they called there?) to other services? Or will identi.ca etc?
Twitter has said that it's happy for services like Storify to continue to use tweets yet these are also stored outside of Twitter (presumably in a cloud?).
- What services are similar to IFTTT? - a question on Quora (note that alternative services will presumably be subject to the same restrictions on Twitter)
- Twitter's Dick Costolo wants you (and IFTTT) to stop blaming Twitter's API changes for everything - Techcrunch
- Discussing API v1.1 - Twitter developer's blog (search for RSS and see @bitoclass's question)
- IFTTT will be removing Twitter triggers, but here is a workaround - using RSS
- Save tweets to Evernote using your Twitter RSS feed - the IFTTT recipe which you can modify
Further posts in the Twitter tips series...