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Paul over at the Make and Meaning group blog asked me to let the contributors know how to set up Twitterfeed to automatically tweet on their personal Twitter account when they write a new post on the blog, and I figured that since I already wrote it in an email I might as well post it here, too.

Twitterfeed is a free service that automatically posts a tweet to your Twitter stream when an RSS feed of your choice is updated. I use it to auto-tweet when I write a new post on my blog or on Tumblr, and I recently set it up to post when I put up a new article on Make & Meaning. Using the service saves me the step of writing a new tweet when I blog, which is especially handy if I schedule a post to go up at a time when I might not be sitting at my computer geared up to promote the hell out of it.

The kicker of features is that you can set Twitterfeed to always prepend (or postpend, if that’s even a word) your tweets, so you can make the tweets meaningful to your followers. For example, for my personal blog posts, I have it set to always put “Blogged:” before the title of the post, and then to put “#fb” at the end so the tweet gets pulled into Facebook automatically, too. (That’s a separate topic, and one I’ll happily walk you through if you’re interested.)

  1. Go to http://twitterfeed.com and click the link to sign up. You can sign up either by creating a username and password or by using OpenID.
  2. Click the button to “Create new feed.” The name you give the feed is only for your own reference, so make it descriptive, especially if you’re planning on setting up more than one. Then enter the URL of the RSS feed you want to auto-tweet. Most blogs automatically generate an RSS feed and most blog themes include a link to that feed in the header or sidebar. Just copy that link and paste it into Twitterfeed. If you’re confused about where to find the link for your feed, leave a comment and I’ll try to be more specific. And if you use FeedBurner, be sure to use that URL. (For Make & Meaning, the blog generates a separate feed for each author, so I’ve set Twitterfeed only to post my own articles – if you write for a group blog, see if the blog does the same handy thing.)Make sure the checkbox for “Active” is checked. (If it isn’t, your settings will be saved but no tweets will be sent out.)
  3. Before clicking to continue to Step 2, look a little bit lower and click the link for “Advanced Settings”. Here’s where you really set up the magic. Let me know if any of those settings are confusing and I’ll walk you through them in more detail. Note that the options for Post Content work as follows: Title only lists the title of your post in the tweet; title & description lists the title of the post and any words from the first paragraph that fit within the 140 characters of a tweet (minus any prefix and/or suffix you set up); description only lists the first words of your post.
  4. Next, click to continue to Step 2. Here, choose Twitter and configure accordingly (I haven’t used any of the other services, but, you know, try ’em out! And if you do, let me know how it works out for you).

And that’s it. Remember that you should balance out automatically generated tweets with actual human-generated tweets, and that the real fun of Twitter happens with @replies. Just sayin’.

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