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How to Turn Twitter Into Your One-Stop Lifestream

via MakeUseOf.com by Nancy Messieh on 12/2/09


twitterA lot of your online time is probably spent divided between publishing and sharing content on a variety of websites, from Flickr to YouTube.

There are a few options that allow you to aggregate all of that content into a lifestream, such as FriendFeed, or for the more adventurous, there’s the self-hosted Sweetcron. But a lifestream isn’t any fun if no one is listening. Most of us have a few people who are interested in what we have to say in one place in particular – on Twitter.

So why make the extra effort of interacting with people on two separate websites, or attracting visitors to your self-hosted lifestream, when you can easily use a Twitter lifestream to share all your online content?

Set up all of your accounts to feed directly into your Twitter lifestream, and make sure to label each of these tweets with a relevant hashtag. If you’re posting a photo, append the tweet with #photo. If you’re posting a song, append the tweet with #music, and so forth.

Using hashtags gives Twitter that much-needed organization, turning it into a searchable lifestream. Unfortunately, Twitter’s search tool is only useful for recent tweets, since anything more than 10 days old is not included in the results. Third-party app, Snap Bird makes it easy to search for tweets from any user beyond the 10-day search limit. Just fill in your username, make sure it’s set to search your own tweets, and then fill in a hashtag in the search field. Don’t worry if at first there are no search results – Snap Bird searches in increments, so be sure to keep clicking “Search back further” to get all possible results.

snapbird


Snap Bird also gives you a permalink to that search page so you can share your favourite songs or your latest photos.

Another advantage to using a Twitter lifestream is the extent of control you have over the content and where it comes from. With social aggregators, you are limited to the services that they choose, but by using Twitter, there is no limit to the number of services that you can add to your stream.

To enhance the browsing experience, use web-based Twitter client Brizzly, since it displays videos and pictures embedded content, much in the same way that FriendFeed does.

Brizzly

To get you started, we’ve put together a list of websites that make it easy to share content directly on Twitter.

Videos

YouTube is a good place to start when sharing video content. Direct integration with Twitter allows you to automatically tweet your videos as they’re uploaded. To include a hashtag in an uploaded video, it has to appear in your video title. To get it set up, click on ‘Sharingin your account settings, and from there you can connect YouTube to Twitter and choose which of your actions will be shared with your followers.

12Seconds not only lets you broadcast your content directly to Twitter, you can actually sign in using your Twitter account, which means you don’t have to set up a connection between the two services. Under settings, you can determine what actions you want to broadcast from 12Seconds to your followers.

As the name implies, you can upload 12 second videos to the website. When uploading, include the hashtag in the title, and it will be included in your tweet.

12seconds

There are other Twitter specific video websites that are worth taking a look at such as TwitC, where you can upload videos, pictures, audio files, text files, and lots more, with well over 100 files types supported, and Twiddeo, where you can upload videos up to 100mb in size, record directly from your webcam, or email video files from your mobile phone.

Photos

One of the most popular methods of sharing photos on Twitter is TwitPic. The service has been integrated into several clients, making it as easy as ever to upload a picture, share the link on Twitter, and append your tweet with the hashtag, #photo.

TwitPic

If you’re an avid Flickr user, you probably already know that you can authorize your Flickr account to post to Twitter. If you’re a stickler for organization, be sure to add the hashtag #photo to your title.

Other interesting services for photo-sharing on Twitter include TweetPhoto and yfrog, both of which allow you to upload pictures directly on their website, or through several desktop and mobile Twitter clients.

Bookmarks

Bookmarking heavyweights Diigo and Delicious have integrated Twitter into the user experience.

When adding a bookmark to Diigo you have the option of sending the link to Twitter, the caveat being that you have to use their toolbar. But they do at least let you edit the text of the tweet, making it easy to include your #bookmark hashtag.

DiigoTwitter

Delicious gives you the choice of either automatically sending all bookmarks to your tweet stream, or choosing which bookmarks to share. In either case, it gives you the opportunity to decide what text will go in the tweet.

Music

Blip.fm offers one way to share music on Twitter, by scouring the net for songs hosted online, searching sites like imeem and YouTube, and allowing you to automatically “blip” all songs to your Twitter lifestream, as well as allowing you to edit the text of the tweet.

If you don’t want to flood your Twistners with music, you might opt for Twisten.fm instead when you have a song or two that you want to share. Twisten.fm relies on Grooveshark’s library of music to share songs with your listeners.

Twisten

If you would prefer to upload an mp3 file yourself (or possibly even share your own original music), the previously mentioned site TwitC, is the best option for you.

Shared Content

If you spend a lot of time reading articles on Google Reader, you’ll want to share some of those posts with your followers.

With Google Reader, there are several ways to do this, the easiest way of which is to use Google Reader’s integration in the settings. Go to your Google Reader settings, click on the “Send To” tab, and tick “Twitter” at the end of the list.

Google Reader

Going back to your Reader, you will find this has added a “Send To” link at the bottom of each post. Make sure you are logged into the Twitter website when you click on it, because Google Reader redirects you to Twitter, filling in the title of the post and a bit.ly shortened link.

While this gets the job done, Firefox add-on, Feedly allows for a much more pleasant user experience, allowing you to edit the tweet directly from within Feedly.

These are just a few examples of the kinds of content you can share on Twitter. There are countless websites with seamless integration, such url shortener Bit.ly, and for those lacking integration, an RSS feed can sometimes suffice, when used with third party service, TwitterFeed, which also provides an easy way to feed your own personal blog posts to Twitter.

The great thing about Twitter is that it gives you the freedom to use it any way you want – so why not use it to its full potential?

What sites would you want to include in your Twitter lifestream? Let us know in the comments.

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