I have a problem: some people are following me on Twitter, some friends and family are only on Facebook, and others are using Google+. Personally, I like using Google+ most – I like the UI and using my Circles to share certain things with just family, and G+ ties into Picasa really well. I’m also probably a little biased.
I just don’t have time to manually post everything I want to share with all of these people in all three places. So I decided to write all my inane ramblings into Google+, and from there automatically update Twitter and Facebook.
Before I start, I feel like I have to add a disclaimer: Please don’t spam Twitter and FB by shoveling all sorts of autogenerated content into your feed, with no intention fo actually interacting with people. No one wants that, you will lose all your friends, and even your dog will stop loving you. Be judicious.
Here’s how you can automatically post from Google+ to Twitter:
Step 1: Get an RSS feed of your public Google+ posts.
Many sites offer RSS feeds, usually you just have to look for the little orange icon, or a link that says “subscribe”. Google+, at this point, does not – but it does offer an API, so it’s not too hard to write a Python or PHP script to convert. Actually, many developers have stepped in to offer RSS feed services – I found a good list of them here.
A word of caution: these services may be unreliable, they may come and go, developers may run out of money or go crazy and post weird stuff on everyone’s feeds. If you don’t want to take the risk, you should probably write your own code using the Google+ API or wait for Google+ to support RSS.
Step 2: Take your RSS feed and add it to FeedBurner.
FeedBurner is a feed management system run by Google. It lets you do all sorts of fun things with your RSS feeds, including posting to Twitter (Step 3). First, go to http://feedburner.google.com/, there should be a text area titles “Burn a feed right this instant. Type your blog or feed address here:”. Do that. FeedBurner will walk you through a couple of simple steps.
Step 3: Set up FeedBurner to post to Twitter.
Click the “Publicize” tab and look for the “Socialize” option in the menu. There you’ll see an option to add your Twitter account. Click the button, authorize FeedBurner in Twitter, and you are ready to go.
By the way, FeedBurner also offers some interesting analytics options so you can see how many people click through from Twitter, Facebook, or wherever else they might see your feed.
How to update Facebook too:
Actually, I already had Twitter updating Facebook – that’s easy to do, simply go to http://twitter.com/settings/profile and connect your Facebook account. This has a drawback, though, in that it squeezes my G+ posts through the 140-character wringer of Twitter before passing it on to Facebook.
Facebook does have a few apps that are able to publish an RSS feed directly to your wall. RSS Graffiti looks like a likely candidate, with lots of positive reviews, but I haven’t actually tried it. The list of permissions the app demands scared me away.
Hopefully this is useful and I’m not annoying my friends with too many reposts. If you feel the need to stop following me on Twitter since you’ve already seen my hilarious anecdotes on G+ (or vice versa), I’ll understand. I should also add that I’ll read any comments and probably reply in all three systems – I don’t want to force everyone to use G+ to talk to me.
One big drawback to this setup is that I can’t share privately across the three social networks. If I post pictures of my kid playing at the park to just my Friends and Family circles, I don’t have a way to post that to my network in Facebook. Drop me a note if you’ve figured that one out.