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3 great options for Twitter and delicious integration

by Alexandra Samuel in | |

With the increasing attention I’ve been giving our Social Signal Twitter account, I’ve found myself in a bit of dilemma. Tweeting web links is one of the simplest and most effective ways to offer regular, useful info of value to your followers. But the links that would be most useful to SoSi followers are the very links I need to keep track of myself — for which I rely on delicious.

In principle, there are lots of ways I could integrate the two services. But I have several criteria:

  1. My links need to be posted to Twitter with a shortened URL (like a bit.ly URL) so the link itself doesn’t use up all 140 characters Twitter lets me tweet. (This in spite of delicious founder Josh Schacter’s well-articulated concerns about URL shorteners.)
  2. My links need to be posted to delicious with the full URL, not just the shortened version.
  3. My links need to be posted to delicious with appropriate tags at the time I post the URL, rather than lying in wait for me to visit delicious and add tags at a later date.
  4. I want to control what gets tweeted, and not just have it twitter that I bookmarked a URL.

I’ve found several good options. There are pros and cons to each:

delicious tag + TwitterFeed

TwitterFeed is a service that will read an RSS feed and automatically post each item to Twitter; you can use it to parse the outbound RSS feed for a particular tag and a particular user. When I find a link I want to tweet, I post it to delicious. Then I add the tag “tweetthis” on top of any other tags I’m using. I’ve set up TwitterFeed to parse the RSS feed for every bookmark I tag with “tweetthis”

PROS:

  • I get to use my usual approach for posting items to delicious — whether from Firefox, Safari or iPhone — and assign the tags I want to use.
  • TwitterFeed lets me choose my preferred URL shortener (bit.ly) from a long list of options.
  • Can post links from my delicious account, Rob’s, or anyone else’s.
  • Great if you’re a religious delicious-er like me, and want to twitter more (for virtually no more effort!)

CONS:

  • I have to keep an eye on my description field in delicious and watch the total number of characters so Twitter doesn’t cut off my description when it pulls in the link.
  • Need to aggregate both “tweetthis” and “tweethis” to deal wth my frequent typos.

firestatus

Firestatus is a FireFox add-on that lets me post something to Twitter and delicious simultaneously. It puts a little icon in the bar at the bottom of my FF window. Clicking on the icon brings up a slender bar with a text entry field for my Twitter status line, and a second entry field for the tags I want to use in storing the item in delicious.

PROS:

  • A very lightweight, elegant interface with bonus options like a built-in spell checker and the option of also posting to Facebook (my tweets already cross-post to Facebook, but for some folks that would be useful).
  • I get to choose my tags.
  • Control over how often it updates to each site.
  • Great if want some of your tweeted links cross-posted to delicious, but not all of them.

CONS:

  • I have to use Firefox for anything I want to bookmark.
  • Need to decide that I want to post to both Twitter and delicious at time of creation.
  • Teensy weensy icon in the bottom bar is SO discreet it’s a bit hard to spot.

tweecious

Tweecious is a Firefox add-on that parses my Twitter feed and looks for tweets that include a link. When it finds a tweet that included a link, it adds that link to my delicious bookmarks, and uses my tweet as the description field. Then it uses Zemanta — another of my new favourite toys — to choose tags for the bookmark.

PROS:

  • Includes the URL of the original tweet in the delicious description field, so you remember you’ve already twittered it!
  • Offers option to parse your last 1000 tweets — so any links you’ve already tweeted will get added to delicious.
  • While it installs as part of Firefox, it will parse Tweets that come from anywhere, so I can use my usual combo of Tweetdeck-Tweetie-HootSuite.
  • Stores the full-length URL on delicious by using LongURL to unpack the URL generated by whichever shortener I’ve used. Access to Tweecious preferences appears when you visit delicious — smart and seamless.
  • Smart enough to figure out all my account ids on its own, but doesn’t store passwords itself.
  • Extreme coolness — not to mention efficiency — of automatically tagging links.
  • Easy to see bookmarks added this way in delicious because they are all tagged tweecious.

CONS:

  • No immediate, direct control over the tags that get assigned to a bookmark.
  • Limited to a single account — so I have to decide whether to tweecious my personal @awsamuel twitter account or tweecious our @socialsignal company account. (It’s possible I could work around this by setting up an @socialsignal(twitter)-to-awsamuel(delicious) instance of tweetie on Firefox running on another computer.)
  • Delicious will consider the date of bookmark creation to be the date on which it was imported by tweecious; would be great if it assigned date based on date of your tweet.
  • If you’re not a Zemanta user, your delicious bookmarks will only be tagged “tweecious”.

Potential cluttering of my delicious account with links I’m twittering links but don’t particularly want to bookmark (for example, all the Social Signal blog posts we twitter on release — then again, that could be a pro, since it’s probably great for our visibility & SEO).

The verdict

I’m just getting going with these three approaches, so time will tell. But for now, I see them as complementary:

  • If I’m adding a bookmark in delicious, and it suddenly occurs to me that I’d also like to tweet it, I’ll just add the tweetthis tag. If I’m revisiting a bookmark, and it now seems Twitter-worthy, I’ll add the tweetthis tag then.
  • If I’m about to Twitter a link while in FireFox, and I know I want to store it on delicious in a way that will ensure I can find it when I want to (i.e. I want to ensure it has particular tags attached) I’ll use FireStatus.
  • If I Twitter a link without thinking about delicious, it will end up in delicious anyhow thanks to Tweecious.

What does this mean for you? Well, you can use some or all of these same tools to boost your tweeting with high-value links — or to ensure all the links you’re already twittering now are readily retrievable on delicious.

Or you can just let us find all your key links for you. With these three tools at our disposal, Social Signal’s tweets and delicious links will be more useful than ever.

 

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First posted on April 8,2009

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