I love Twitter. A lot.
That said, I’m not wild about being plugged into it 24/7. I typically read my Twitter feed as though it were a (non-micro) blog. I don’t have a dedicated app to alert me when someone posts something, instead I prefer to aggregate a few tweets to have ready when I’m looking for a distraction.
For a while I was using the RSS reader built into Apple Mail to keep up on Twitter. This proved to be an exercise in vexation and I quickly found myself looking for another way.
I played with a few of the dedicated Twitter clients, but I really wasn’t looking to have another app running all the time on my aging Mac (the Adobe AIR ones in particular are so SLOW).
The ideal solution, it seemed, was to add the Twitter RSS feed to my Google Reader and call it a day. My hopes were dashed when it became apparent that Google Reader does not support feeds that require authentication.
After a little Googling, I found freemyfeed.com which creates a bridge between password protected feeds and RSS readers that do not support authentication - I was back in business!
Sadly, even after getting Reader to parse the feed, the experience left much to be desired. There was no easy way to reply to tweets and worse yet, the entire tweet was displayed as the “title” of the post. This meant that if someone tooted a link, I had to click on the tweet in Reader which brought me to the Twitter web site where I could finally click the link. This proved to be extremely annoying.
Essentially, the freemyfeed hash is piped through the script which requests the feed and extracts any links from each tweet. The “description” of each tweet is overwritten with a reply link and the list of links that appear in the body of the tweet. When the processed feed is displayed through Google reader (or presumably any RSS reader), the links appears below the text of the toot.
I should probably admit that I’m not the heaviest of Twitter users - a tweet or two every other day or so seems to be my average rate. Most of my enjoyment comes from following the likes of @Ihnatko, @stephenfry, @lonelysandwich and @darthvader (to name a few) for their bits of wit and wisdom throughout the day.
For this purpose, I find the script to suit my needs beautifully. If others find it useful I might bother to battle test it and class it up a bit. If you have a use for it, please let me know in the comments!