Ogle Earth and Twitter: Tarpiping it in

The silly thing is, I still constantly monitor my ~1000 feeds for all manner of information, and new neogeo links keep on popping up. There they then sit, aging quickly, until I have a hypothetical moment to turn them in a full-fledged post here on Ogle Earth. Alas, by the time that (currently rare) moment rolls around, the links are hopelessly out of date, even if the commentary might still be worth writing.

Luckily, in these days of falling attention spans, shortening news cycles and the concomitant rise of Twitter, a simple solution is at hand. Saving links for a proper post is so 2008. Instead, let’s post them immediately to Twitter with some added snark, collect them on a Delicious account (live RSS feed), and then have Delicious dump them nightly on Ogle Earth for reference.

So, follow @ogleearth on Twitter, and you get tomorrow’s links today, live, as I find and post them. And when I post a proper long-form entry on Ogle Earth, @ogleearth will also tell you about it.

All this link-fu needs to happen automatically, of course. But how? I tried some social media aggregation and automation services, all of which had issues, but eventually I hit upon Tarpipe, which is a kind of socialized Yahoo! Pipes.

I love the concept of Tarpipe, and the implementation for the most part works too, even as a beta (Facebook support is still spotty). Either by email or RESTfully, submit text snippets or files, then manipulate and guide these to their final resting place on various social media sites. For example, here is the flow chart for my new publishing process:

In another workflow I’ve made, I email a photo to Tarpipe to upload it to Flickr, shorten the Flickr photo URL, then post that URL together with my caption to Twitter and (soon, Inch’Allah) Facebook. This way my photos don’t get duplicated all over the web, and I keep my authorship rights intact. (Yes, Facebook, I’m looking at you.)

And, to ensure a neogeo angle for this post, I’ll mention that Tarpipe comes with a Google Geocoding connector, so you could, if you wanted to, turn place names into Flickr geotags as part of your social media publishing process. And Tarpipe feels like it is only scratching the surface of what is possible — conditionals, for example, would be nice, as well as more social API connectors.

I found that while email works well for submitting content to Tarpipe, it really limits you to two text fields (subject, body), whereas REST lets you have three (title, body, URL). In the end, I adapted Guillaume Riflet’s Javascript form submission bookmarklet (why reinvent the wheel?), so now I just need to surf to a page, click the bookmark, add a line of commentary, and submit. It can’t possibly take any less time than that. The bookmarklet even works on my iPhone!

(PS: Not until China’s censors blanket-banished all sites on the Blogspot.com domain from this side of the Chinese firewall did I realize how much of my tech information comes from there. I find myself turning on my VPN repeatedly during the day as I bounce up against this silliness while trying to access content on blogspot.com. All it does, of course, is raise the cost of this information for China’s digerati, as well as removing it for consideration from the rest, including future potential digerati. In both cases, the leadership is hobbling the potential of its citizens.)

2 thoughts on “Ogle Earth and Twitter: Tarpiping it in”

  1. I use rss2email for those quick expiring RSSs.

    Disclaimer: I never tried those higher tech solutions you mentioned.

  2. I use rss2email for those quick expiring RSSs.

    Disclaimer: I never tried those higher tech solutions you mentioned.

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