Your Twitter feed in Google Reader. FTW

@olibarrett and @hubmum gave the following request on Twitter earlier.

I would like a weekly or daily email digest of all of the URLs the people I follow share on Twitter. How could we build this?

At first, I resorted to my trusted Twoogle solution, trying to get feeds aggregated in Google Spreadsheets and then parsing and filtering as necessary.

But this just wasn’t practical.  Particularly when the number of people followed increases (190 and 246 for oli and hub respectively).  (My Twoogle solution is fine for up to 20 followees.)

So I resorted to Yahoo! Pipes.  And before tonight, I was a Pipes virgin.  It’s not the most intuitive app. in the world, but eventually I got there, delayed both by their unintuitive naming convention and by my parallel-running the experimentation with the heating up of the scrumptious meatballs my wife had made earlier.

Anyway, here’s a summary of what I did.

I had to create two pipes.  The first gave me a Yahoo! Pipes URL of an authenticated RSS feed of my own Twitter stream, with my Twitter password embedded and fully visible in the URL.  The second took that RSS feed as the input, filtering the feed to keep only the posts containing http.  So the output was an RSS feed of tweets containing links.

Now RSS feeds only generally contain 20 items.  This one contained less, because it contained the subset of 20 items that contained links.  Not ideal.  But beautifully, Google Reader remembers.  So you can use the output of the second Pipe as a Google Reader feed, and it will keep amassing all the tweets containing links.  I think.

(BTW, bypass step 2 above, and you get your entire Twitter feed in Google Reader.  Neat!)

So, here are the steps to address the original request.  I’m going to try to give noddy steps to prevent loads of questions.  Apologies if they come across as patronising to the more technically savvy.  (Bear in mind, I’m beyond the edge of my knowledge-base here.)

Creating your authenticated feed

  1. Grab and copy your Twitter RSS feed’s URL.  To do this, either
    1. Go to your feed page in Twitter, right-click the RSS feed link on the right-hand side, and hit Copy link location, or whatever your browser’s equivalent is
    2. Or use, replacing MyUserName with, er, your user name
  2. Go to
  3. Enter your password, username and the above-copied feed address in the corresponding fields, obeying the specific instructions for escaping special characters.  Also remember to remove the http:// from your feed URL
  4. Hit Run Pipe
  5. Your feed will appear on that page.  Right-click the Get as RSS link that appears, and hit Copy link location (or your browser’s equivalent)
  6. Paste this into Notepad for future use

That URL is an authenticated feed for your Twitter stream, so keep it safe.  (You’ll notice that it contains your password for all to see.  Don’t worry, though.  This is not an issue.)

Now to filter out the posts without links.  For this, you’re going to have to create your own Pipe from scratch.  Don’t worry though—I’m right beside you.

  1. Go to Yahoo! Pipes:
  2. Log in if necessary using Yahoo! credentials.  (If you’re a Yahoo! virgin, you’ll have to create an account.)
  3. Hit Create Pipe
  4. From the Sources section on the left, drag Fetch Feed into the gridded working area, placing it near the top of that area
  5. Copy and paste the URL that you saved from the first set of instructions into the URL box
  6. Now expand the Operators group on the left-hand side and drag Filter across to the working grid, placing it just below the Fetch Feed module that you’ve just completed
  7. Using the little blobs at the top and bottom of the modules, connect the bottom of the Fetch Feed box to the top of the Filter box
  8. Change the Filter module to say “Permit items that match all of the following.  item.description contains http”
  9. Connect the bottom of the Filter box to the top of the Pipe Output box
  10. Save the Pipe, giving it a suitable name (Twitter links?)
  11. Hit Run Pipe.  This will give you the feed that you want, with links at the top representing different options
  12. Hit the “+ Google” button, and the feed will be added to Google Reader

And we’re done.

If you want your full Twitter feed in Google Reader, just do the first set of steps and use that URL as your Google Reade feed address.


4 Responses to “Your Twitter feed in Google Reader. FTW”

  1. Shanahan on July 9th, 2009 00:39

    You’re slowly becoming a programmer. Seriously though, the reason I came to today was to see what you’d said about “12:34PM 56seconds 7/8/9” day.

  2. Lubianca on July 10th, 2009 20:45

    I am not native but am confused about the difference between Who We Are and What We Do.

    Does Who tell you about the people and the What tells you their specialisms?

    Please advised as I think you insist on precision.


  3. Dan on July 10th, 2009 21:26

    Who we are is a description of the company—when it was founded etc.; what we do is more about the services we have to offer.

    Hope that helps, Lubianca.


  4. John on December 15th, 2010 00:31

    OAuth broke that wonder description of yours.

    The above linked seems to work amazingly for me.


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