Pollr – my simple RSS to twitter engine

I wrote about it some month ago – I was looking for a RSS to twitter service – but couldn’t find one.

My usecase is quite simple: In Google Reader I have a blogroll of appr. 200 blogs I am following. But to be honest – I’m using Google Reader less and less. Even Reeder on the iPad is an application I rarely use. So I was looking for a service where I could post my OPML to and which sends me Updates from these blogs via twitter. Haven’t found one – so I built it myself on the weekend.

Currently I’m running it on my local macbook – all I need is a cron job, some php stuff an a mysql DB.

I exportet an OPML file from Google Reader and imported it into my mysql – the engine then pulls all RSS feeds and saves them to the DB. I set up another twitter account (twitter.com/vloop) and registered that application so that it can send updates.

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If one of the blogs from my blogroll sends an update, my engine grabs that entry (the cronjobs checks all blogs every 10 minutes) and posts them to @vloop. @vloop tweets the headline and a link of that article with an @fredl in front, which is my nick on twitter. So I get noticed everytime a new blogpost is written throughout my entire blogroll.

Like the idea? Should I set it up for the public? 🙂

UPDATE 1: oh, I love fancy names – so I called it Pollr (which is quite 2006 somehow:) )

UPDATE 2: Oh, and thanks to Pollr I have new blog posts in my flipboard as well 🙂


RSS to twitter

I’m looking for a RSS to twitter service. With that I don’t mean something like twitterfeed which posts my RSS feed under my twitter account, but a service which I give my opml to, and which sends me e.g. dm’s (or a @fredl mention, so that it appears in my timeline) everytime a feed is updated. Have you heard of such a service?


Twitter as Sales tool – yet another story

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I just stumbled upon a german platform called susuh.de, and they are offering a service to find local service-providers like haircutters, groceries or what ever. So what makes them unique is the ability to send a request via twitter to the platform. I personally haven’t tried the service yet (just because there’s no party to make at the moment and I don’t need a beer supplier currently 😉 ) but I think it’s the right way to get the users where they are: mobile. Just type something like „@brauche beer this evening“ and your request is posted to the platform and matched against a supplier, who dmessages you an offer. No need for registration here!

That’s a very inspiring and barrier free way to get users on your platform. Congrats to susuh.de, and good luck!


twitter sales becomes reality

I was looking for a hotel in London the other day, and tried an experiment: post my search on twitter and see what happens. And there you go:

Just some minutes after my post I got retweetet by @frau_one and about 3 minutes later, @ukseries (service with trips to england, tickets, events etc.) followed me. So far so good – but I was really delightet when @smlGEM sent me an offer for a hotel room in their house about 2h later (sorry, guys: you sure have a wonderful hotel – check them out here – but I just can’t afford it). The tweet was very nice, nothing like „cheapest price in town“ but with all relevant information:

smlGEM @fredl We still have rooms @ St Martins Lane for the 25th We’re located by Covent Garden, w/e theatres and Trafalgar Sq. http://bit.ly/TBEmo

Now this shows the strentgh of interconnectivity and listen to the real time web – I see a huge potential in there – and it seems to be reality, about what I wrote the other day, about selling products on twitter.


Selling products on twitter

A friend of mine works for a pr agency, and she is currently evaluating the use of twitter for one of their customers – an online shop in germany . She came up with an idea, which from my first impression, sounded brilliant: use the direct contact to potential customers from twitter, and tell them about the products in the online shop, when they talk about a demand in their tweets.

After some consideration I found it difficult: where is the small line, when selling becomes spamming, or positive ment information. So, its all about the style, how the company is adressing their customers. For example:

@fredl: „Damn, I need a new notebook, but can’t decide which to take“

@notebooksellingeshop: „@fredl, take this one: <link>! Its the best and cheapest price out there“

I find this annoying: this is like salesmen in former times came to your door, trying to sell an abonnement for a newspaper.

Another, in my opinion, positive attempt would be:

@fredl: „Damn, I need a new notebook, but can’t decide which to take“

@notebooksellingeshop: „hey @fredl, looking for a notebook? What exactly is your demand, maybe we have a product which fits your needs. Do you use it for business? Are travelling a lot? Or is it more for home use, like games, movie editing etc.“ (Well yes, shorten this to 140 😉 )

@fredl: „hey @notebooksellingeshop, basically it needs to be small, ‚cause i’m travelling. Heard something about „netbooks“ – got that? „

@notebooksellingeshop: „hey @fredl, have a look in our shop <link>. This notebook has been tested by <hardwaretestmagazine> with 5 stars, an we think, we offer it to you for a fair price. It’s 13″ wide, and the aku lives for about 4h.“

So, this is an attempt on how to communicate with your customers. And guess what? It’s not magic. It’s just the „old-fashioned“ way on how to be polite, and sell respect to your customers.

In addition, there’s been a cool interview with uservoice.com on #building43: Watch it and learn how to put your ear on your customers needs.


Twitter is killing RSS

I’m using bloglines since 2003 as my webbased RSS aggregator, and for years it has been my site of choice to start the day: where’s a new article, where’s a new discussion going on. But since some month I experience my twitter client (seesmic for the moment) to be the first place to go – why? Because it works like a user-filtered aggregator of the news going on. I suppose 70-80% tweets of my friends contain links to interesting articles and news. Since I’m trying to keep a „clean“ following list, I trust the posted links as „relevant“ for me. Therefore it might be a good idea for a search engine to filter those tweets, wich really conatin links – ‚cause I’d trust them more and would follow them more often than plain, „machine“ based link results. It might be a good idea for google to add this filter and place them at the top of their result list as a mix of „trusted“ sources and algorithm based results.


„Sell your soul on twitter “ or how to find new business models in the recommendation age

What I was asking myself today was, if publisher would be willing to pay for inbound links. There are several reasons for a clear „yes“:

  1. e-commerce sites know how to calculate their traffic-earnings coming from the conversions in their shops
  2. news-publisher know what they get for their visits, by selling volume-based ads

Now, wouldn’t that be a smart way to monetize services like twitter. I mean, twitter is more or less a recommendation tool to guide your friends to articles or sites you find interesting. It wouldn’t be surprising for a technical savant if they knew that all of this was part of the plan when companies like Twitter first launched. They like to call that step as Predictive Analysis, and of what is elucidated here at https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2019/07/what-is-predictive-analytics.html.

Take e.g. the URL shortening services out there – why can’t I register with them, and earn money for every user (my followers) who click on that link? Money comes from sites who are willing to pay for traffic. Let them bid in an auction against each other, who is willing to pay more for your click.

The cash could be splittet:

  1. Main part goes to the user, posting the link
  2. One part goes to the „selling“ service
  3. And one part goes to the underlaying service (like twitter, etc.)

Of course, the quality of incoming traffic is key in the question, if publishers are willing to pay – but quality is measurable e.g. through conversion rate. Publishers can rate their users, paying them nothing (or just less) for „bad traffic“ and more for „good“ traffic.

UPDATE:Fred Wilson seems to be of my opinion, and has it very nice illustrated


The not working picture twitter

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No, I don’t have too much time, but sometimes hacking some stuff is more fun in the evening than watching TV. So I’ve made a crappy twitter for pictures 😉 Just Drag’nDrop Upload your pictures to a public timeline. This is not safe, it is not really working, but it shows my idea of having a foolproof and damn easy to use picturetwitter. Do you like to help me? I have many ideas:

  • make a nice design
  • find a name
  • get the timestamp to the photos and sort it on the timeline
  • get mms to work
  • make it safe

So if any of you out there has fun to help me, leave me a comment or drop me an email to ingmar.bornholz@gmail.com.

And for the rest – just have fun (and please don’t try those scriptkiddieshit)