Dec 22, 2008

Twitter News Feed


I wanted to share a very cool use for Twitter that I discovered inadvertently, via this article in the New York Times explaining Twitter to the unenlightened.

The author suggested using Twitter as a streaming RSS service for news stories. And since my Twitter stream has become clogged of late with endless retweets to links of dubious value, I was intrigued enough to experiment.

My parameters were pretty simple: limit the feed only to those news organizations that pushed out stories with links. No chatter, no back and forth – I only wanted links to news stories. And happily, there’s no shortage of news organizations, from TV and radio stations to newspapers and magazines, that publish these sorts of streams, In fact, many of them even offer specialized streams, so you can get sports news separate from science news separate from weather.

I set them all up on a separate account from my main one, and ran that account off different desktop and mobile apps than my usual account. (UPDATE: Running both off of Twhirl these days, since it supports two separate accounts being open at the same time)

The result has been a really useful and fascinating stream of interesting stories and perspectives I likely would not have found on my own, a stream that’s updated more or less minute-by-minute. I like the serendipity of discovering these stories on my own time, without the pressure of feeling like I need to read each and every one.

If you want to set up your own list, please feel free to use mine as a guide. And if there are any sites you feel I’ve overlooked, your suggestions are certainly welcome.

NB: Most of these twitter streams were tough to find—lots of trial and error and guesswork. Few (if any) of the parent organizations had any sort of home page link to them and Google was of little help, returning stories said news outlets had done about Twitter, rather than the actual feeds

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