Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2018/19 scientific society talks in London blog post

Friday 12 October 2012

Has Twitter killed RSS feeds yet? Possibly not, but not working awfully well

Edit: 12 June 2013
Just spotted that these feeds no longer work. No more Twitter RSS feeds at all, unless you know a way of reproducing them through coding cleverness and / or have access to a server.

There's a new service which works for people (not hashtags or anything else). See also which does the same with tweets but only for those with links. Thanks to Mark Braggins who commented here

Edit: 17 Jan 2013
For nerdy folk with a server / web host and techy skills, have a look at this page where someone has outlined a method of creating their own RSS from Twitter output

If you are using RSS feeds and have found that they've stopped working you'll need to make sure your feed URL is of the second type not the first, just swap my name for the screen name you want: <-- not working <-- correct

There's a petition to see if we can persuade Twitter to have a bit of a rethink on this.

Many people use Twitter widgets to ping their tweets into their website but some people use RSS feeds from Twitter to send their tweets to a variety of places (including FriendFeed). Up until recently people could do this with just the direct output from Twitter (not the RSS) using IFTTT but a couple of weeks ago Twitter asked IFTTT to drop that functionality. They weren't being mean, although it seems a bit like it, but IFTTT were using Twitter's system in a way that Twitter had already asked people not to use.

So some of us who used this sort of thing figured that the RSS feeds would work as a workaround, until Twitter stops support for RSS (due to happen in March 2013).

Yesterday a few people noticed that their RSS feeds had stopped working. For example a friend noticed that their corporate tweets were no longer showing up on the company intranet, having previously imported the RSS feed from there. An account I'd set up on Twitter which reposted Twitter RSS content also stopped working and my own favorites (saved as Opera mail in the Opera browser) have stopped updating.

We (people commenting on Twitter) wondered if Twitter had killed RSS a bit earlier than intended. I'm checking through my list of RSS feed options but have crossed out the ones that have definitely stopped working, and have asked Twitter if they can supply alternatives. I googled Twitter RSS but used the mildly advanced tools to select only new information published in the last 24 hours and found this which suggests that the RSS feeds haven't actually been killed yet, although they seem a bit fragile.

All these show up as a readable web page if you paste the URL into the Opera browser (doesn't work in Chrome at all) and some other browsers. 'Working' means it shows up as a page, not necessarily that it's capable of sending a feed somewhere else.

Twitter's confirmed that these RSS feed URLs will work until March 2013 - they did work up until 12 June 2013 following a series of blackout tests where Twitter switched them off and on again, now off entirely. Alas.

  • User: <-- working
  • User: <-- working
  • User: <-- working (that's my Twitter ID, you'll need to use your own)
  • Mentions: <-- working
  • Favourites: <-- appears to be working when pasted into Opera as a URL but my automated reader (Opera mail) stopped recording them on 4 October so I've reset it
  • Search: (%20 acts as 'space') <-- working
  • Hashtag search:  (%23 acts as '#')
  • List: there is no working RSS feed for lists - I tweeted with one of the Twitter API people and confirmed this.

Recap - this is a separate problem from IFTTT stopping Twitter triggers. When that stopped working we simply swapped our Twitter triggers for Twitter RSS triggers and everything carried on fine until yesterday - if the RSS feeds don't work at all then I'm afraid I don't know how to get around that yet.

If you have RSS feeds coming from somewhere else and going to Twitter that will continue to work fine, this is only about taking RSS data from Twitter and putting it somewhere else. Twitter doesn't like that.

Further reading
New Twitter API drops support for RSS, puts limits on third-party clients (5 September 2012) 

A Directory of RSS Feeds of Popular Social Sites (3 September 2012)

Case studies - examples of using RSS feeds from Twitter to send somewhere else
  • I use the Opera browser to open my favorites feed as a web page at which point it asks me if I want to subscribe - I say yes and am able to save my faves using Opera Mail.
  • Your story here :) 



    1. Wow this was really useful! I was completely stuck trying to get my twitter feed on my website to work again and everything I searched for no longer worked.
      I updated to the and it is working again, such a shame that will also stop in March.
      Thank you!

    2. Really appreciated!

    3. Thank you so much. That worked like a charm. That really sucks that they're killing it for good in March, though. Damn greedy people. They just want everyone to be forced to USE twitter, now. GRRR...

    4. You're an internet hero for researching and posting this!

    5. thank you for the info!

    6. Any twitter list rss feeds that still work?

      1. I've been vaguely looking into this and so far haven't had any luck. There are a couple of websites which have a plausible looking URL for lists but I can't get it to work. It's this: which I found on

        You need to replace with JoBrodie not (well, your username obviously!), but having done that and used one of my lists - it didn't work for me.

        If anyone knows...?

    7. I've just tried the URL in Opera (in Firefox it just doesn't open to anything) and it gives this error message.

      Could not authenticate you.


      It's the same error message whether it's https or http.

      1. Ah there was supposed to be some html there but it seems Blogger strips that out from comments. You'll have to take my word for it ;)

    8. Ok in my case i used to use iftt for get more followers and also suggest to visit my business url
      like "if someone searched for #Nicaragua then "Hey!.....visit ..." and know i cant :S

    9. Hi Joel - I'm not sure I understand your question. I don't think it's possible to find out when someone searches for something on Twitter (at least it's not made available in the same way that Google Analytics can tell you what words people use to arrive at your website etc).

      If you mean that someone's typed #Nicaragua in a tweet and you were using that as the IFTTT trigger then I don't understand why it's not working I'm afraid. If you're using the updated URL (see the list above) then it should be OK, if not, I'm afraid I don't know what the answer is.

      What is the address of the trigger you're using - can you post it here?

      I'm assuming you know that Twitter has stopped ALL of the IFTTT recipes that used Twitter as trigger - these no longer work for anyone. You can still use RSS feeds OF tweets though, but only until March 2013. Your feed URL probably needs to be

    10. I've amended the post to reflect that I've heard back from Twitter and there is no working RSS feed for lists alas.

    11. Thanks for the help! All my Twitter feeds went dead between 9th & 10th of October of 2012. I had no idea what was going on with my reader. Your article informed me and helped saved some of my favorite Twitter feeds for continue viewing. Thanks!

    12. Hooray, happy to have helped a fellow RSS user :)

    13. It's taken me ages to track this down - what the hell are twitter playing at?

    14. Fred - I believe Twitter is possibly going for some sort of brand management / user experience management type of thing. A tweet that is properly embedded in a blog carries with it all of the things you can do with the tweet when on Twitter (reply, favourite etc) but when they appear in things like RSS and other formats all of that is lost. Possibly this annoys Twitter...

    15. I wanna kiss you Jo.

    16. Thank you - this really helped!

    17. I made this for myself but anyone else who might find it useful is welcome to use it.

      1. That's amazing :) I mean I didn't understand a word of it of course and haven't the skills or kit to do it myself, but I'm delighted to know that it's technically possible to sneak around Twitter's disappointing treatment of its RSS feeds.



    Comment policy: I enthusiastically welcome corrections and I entertain polite disagreement ;) Because of the nature of this blog it attracts a LOT - 5 a day at the moment - of spam comments (I write about spam practices,misleading marketing and unevidenced quackery) and so I'm more likely to post a pasted version of your comment, removing any hyperlinks.

    Comments written in ALL CAPS LOCK will be deleted and I won't publish any pro-homeopathy comments, that ship has sailed I'm afraid (it's nonsense).