A few months back, my daily routine was just that – routine. Grab the first cup of java, head to the writing den and get to it. Check the email, put out any immediate fires and then spend some time working the feeds.
Twitter has changed all of that. Ok, maybe not all of it. Just try and get that first cup of coffee out of my hands. It did however, change my morning and certainly my daily routine. As soon as I start my browser I open a Twitter tab and it stays open all day. I don’t go straight to the RSS feeds any longer.
In a lot of ways, Twitter is my RSS feed “reader”.
What?! Blasphemy! I can hear it now. Stick with me, I’ll explain.
Here’s how a typical scenario plays out, right? You come across a site that may be new to you and it’s full of great stuff. You decide you want to know when this site puts something new out there so you find the big orange button and click away. Done. Then once a day/week/month you head on over and weed through your feeds. If you’ve got 15 or 20 feeds to get through it’s a pretty big task. Suppose you have 50? Yikes, it’s going to be a long day.
This is where Twitter as a feed service comes in to play. Take an honest inventory of your subscriptions. How many of those do your really want to follow every day? I’ve worked very hard to build a community. There are folks who are regular visitors and commenters on my site and we have interaction on nearly a daily basis. I want to know when they post something new, I want them to know when I’ve posted. In addition to my community, there are some sites outside of my clan that I like to pay attention to. All of these folks are on Twitter.
My Twitter day goes something like this: I back page through my timeline to see if anyone has tweeted a post. If it’s one of my clan or if it sounds interesting I’ll click on over and have a peek, comment as appropriate and move to the next one. I’ll back page roughly twelve hours or until I find my last tweet. From that point forward I’m keeping an eye on the timeline every now and then. Admittedly on some days this is more difficult than other’s but for about the past month it has been doable.
Here are the benefits of using Twitter as a feed:
- Lightning fast response. Don’t deny it, you want that coveted #1 comment position. Using a standard feed reader, when was the last time you were able to grab the brass ring at a big-boy-blog?
- ReTweet. If I find a gem, I’m going to RT the post and share, share, share. This gets the traffic to the post while it is still fresh. I find that my clan also RTs my posts on occasion bringing it back into the limelight.
- Clutter reduction. Focusing my efforts in this single arena keeps me sharp and focused and able to respond quickly to most anything.
- I can contribute. By the time a feed ends up in my mailbox or reader the conversation is about done. I feel like I’ve pulled my soapbox up to the town square of a ghost town.
- If all you ever do is tweet your posts you are going to end up very lonely. Don’t do it. This is a community. Engage, contribute and have a presence.
- For those sites that have not been Twitterized, switch from a feed reader to an email subscription. (although you still lose the lightning fast response with this option)
Ok folks. Let’s hear it. Your turn…
PS from Darren
I was chatting with one Twitter user recently who literally does use Twitter to read their more important feeds.
Here’s how they explained doing it:
- They set up a Twitter account especially for feeds. They marked it as a private feed which only they follow (ie they don’t let anyone else have permission to follow it).
- They have an account at TwitterFeed and have added the RSS feeds of around 30 blogs that they follow.
- They then forward these feeds to their private Twitter account.
- As new posts come up on the blogs that they follow the feeds of they come into their Twitter stream.
It’s perhaps not a system that will suit everyone – but this person loves it – it enables them to center even more of what they do online around Twitter.