At the beginning of 2009 I announced that, as part of our efforts to promote LDS blogs, links to the blog content aggregated by Nothing Wavering would begin to be automatically posted on Twitter.
The Twitter outreach has been pretty successful. As of the moment, LDS Blogs have 370 twitter followers, LDS Official has 452 twitter followers, and LDS Bloggers and General Conference have 173 and 212 followers. That means that new posts by Nothing Wavering bloggers are being seen by hundreds of people who are interested in keeping up with LDS topics.
And new followers are continuing to join every day.
Our initial twitter integration used a popular 3rd party service called Twitterfeed. Twitterfeed checked the aggregated RSS feeds from Nothing Wavering at regular intervals, and then posted links to any new content to twitter.
Over the last few months, however, some deficiencies with using twitterfeed became apparent. It would often take an unusual amount of time for twitterfeed to post new content, especially from the LDS official content. It also restricted the maximum number of new items to five for every iteration. Some links failed to ever be posted.
Then, for LDS General Conference, twitterfeed failed to post almost all of the podcast links from the conference.
Twitterfeed also posed some security concerns because it required the Nothing Wavering usernames and passwords to post to twitter.
While twitterfeed has helped get us to where we are, Nothing Wavering needed to be directly integrated with twitter, without relying on a 3rd party system.
Last night I created a Nothing Wavering Twitter Integration application. It uses Twitter’s new oAuth protocol so that the usernames and passwords do not have to be passed through the internet unencrypted.
The application integrates directly into the Nothing Wavering process that identifies and posts new content, so blog posts will appear on Twitter within a couple of minutes after being picked up from the RSS feeds.
Writing my own integration also allowed greater control over how the links are posted. The twitter hashtags now appear after the blog name, title, and link to make posts easier to read and identify. Blog names are also compressed by removing spaces to allow more of the post title to be displayed within Twitter’s 140 character limit. And we are now using tr.im.com to automatically shorten the URLs if needed.
An additional advantage of the new integration is that all aggregated Nothing Wavering posts on Twitter now identify themselves as having been posted by NothingWavering.org with a link back to the website. This will help drive more readership back to the portal and hopefully attract more readers.
As with all new features, I am already aware of one slight bug, but it has been running all day since 5:00 this morning, and I have been very pleased with the results.
Let me know if you have any problems with it. And if you would like your blog added to the portal, please use the contact page to submit an application.