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With social networking services threatening to eat up all of our time, finding a solution that can help to manage all of your vital announcements and updates without overwhelming your time (and perhaps your state of mind) seems to be increasingly important.
Over the past couple of years the free TwitterFeed service has been developed to allow users the ability to automatically update Twitter, Statusnet, Hellotxt, Facebook, and LinkedIn. This is made possible by the user submitting a single RSS feed; whenever a new item is added, the selected social network is updated.
Clearly there are considerable advantages in this, not least in saving time. In addition, various settings allow the user to determine the frequency of the updates, which URL shortening service to use and even allow you to prefix and suffix posts, useful if you regularly use the same hashtag.
Identifying Your RSS Feed
To begin using Twitterfeed, you will need to first identify an RSS feed. This might be the RSS feed from your blog, or even from your Twitter account if you wish this to be used to update other services.
Typically a browser will inform you of whether a website has an RSS feed available by displaying the familiar orange icon with three curved lines in the address bar. Alternatively, most websites display their RSS feed via an icon or link that you can click on to view.
With the RSS feed identified and selected, you will be ready to begin using Twitterfeed.
Setting Up an Account and Signing In
The developers at Twitterfeed are keen for as many people as possible to use their service; as a result, they have made it very easy to sign in. If you visit http://twitterfeed.com/ you will find several options to access the service. There is a choice of signing up on the website itself (via the Don’t have an account yet? link) or using OpenID and signing in with a Google, Yahoo, Blogger, AOL, WordPress.com or of course an OpenID login.
Once your credentials are authenticated you will be ready to start!
Creating a New Twitterfeed
Upon signing in you will be taken to your Feed Dashboard. From here you can create and manage any feeds that you set up – begin by clicking the Create New Feed button if the website doesn’t take you to that screen automatically.
The first thing you will need to do is give the feed a name so that you can recognise it in the Feed Dashboard. Once you’ve done this, paste in the URL for the RSS feed, and click the Test RSS feed button to check it.
Below this you will find the Advanced Settings option where you can determine how often Twitterfeed polls for updates to the RSS feed (and therefore sends updates to your chosen social network) as well as specify whether links are included, which service is used to shorten them, and any words to include as a prefix or suffix.
Once you’re happy, continue to Step 2, where the service you wish to send your RSS feed to can be selected. Twitter, Statusnet, Hellotxt, Facebook and LinkedIn are all available, although each must be setup individually; if you want to send the same RSS feed to multiple social networks, you’ll need to use the Edit option. Similarly you can also send different RSS feeds to the same social network.
When your selection is made you will be asked to authenticate with the chosen service, so enter your username and password, add any tags that you consider useful and then click Create Service.
You’re all done – Twitterfeed should soon start sharing your RSS feed with the chosen service as an update. To get an idea of how effective this is, check my Twitter account below where the majority of updates are posted in this way.
Setup a Facebook Feed
Twitterfeed can be used to setup a feed that will update a Facebook account. Of course, there are many ways in which this can be done within Facebook itself, although Twitterfeed is a useful alternative as it doesn’t require a Facebook app. Additionally, Twitterfeed can be used to update Facebook Pages that you have created.
In order to take advantage of this option, when you reach the second step of the process select Facebook and then authenticate using the Connect with Facebook button. Once you have done this a drop-down list of Facebook Pages will be displayed and it is an easy task to choose the one you want to update and click Create Service to finish.
Why Not Try Twitterfeed Yourself?
There are many ways in which Twitterfeed can be used to furnish social networks with your updates, whether they come from a Twitter account (where the page URL can be used to determine the RSS feed) or from a standard website feed.
Ultimately, this is a time-saving service, one that can be used to great effect by anyone using multiple social networks who wish to update regularly. It can also be used by websites and blogs wishing to extend their reach into social networking.