fighting the lack of good ideas

posting from google+ to other services with ifttt

I’ve been using If This Then That (best part? it’s free!) for several months, and wanted to share a simple way to post updates from Google+ (or any RSS feed, but I digress) to your other social media services.

Currently I only use Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook – though I am sure this basic process will work for any other ifttt-supported social media service which you can access in a write form (they call them channels).

There’s a way to use email to post updates to Facebook and Twitter, but I kinda like the ifttt method more – it’s more intuitive to me.

Here’s the basic method (or you can use the recipe I shared that does this):

  1. login/authorize GPlusRSS with your Google account
  2. copy the RSS feed GPlusRSS gives you of your G+ public posts
  3. login to ifttt and enable/authorize (if you haven’t previously) the channel for the social media service you want to post to (I’m using Twitter for this example)
  4. create a new recipe
    1. click “this”
    2. click “Feed” (at this point you can post everything or you can post some things – I’m going to go the some route here)
    3. click “New feed item matches”
    4. in “Keyword or simple phrase”, enter something unique-ish (I use “#twt”)
    5. in “Feed URL”, paste the URL GPlusRSS gave you at parent step 2
    6. click “Create Trigger”
    7. click “that”
    8. click the social media channel you chose in parent step 3
    9. click “Post a tweet”
    10. click “Create Action”
    11. in “Description”, give it a good name, such as “post G+ updates to Twitter if tagged #twt”
    12. click “Create Recipe”
  5. done

If Google+ ever decides to open their API better, ifttt should be able to have a channel for them.

Until then, the above method works like a champ – I use similar recipes for cross-posting to LinkedIn and Facebook from Google+ along with Twitter.

hashtagiquette – inline, or append?

There seems to be a great deal of divide over where, when, and how hashtags should be used on social media services like Twitter.

If you google “hashtag etiquette”, you’ll get a variety of differing results.

So – what’s the best route to follow? When is it ok to create your own? Why would you want to use them at all?

Why use hashtags?

Dating back at least to the heady days of IRC, hashtags give a convenient (if implemented) way to finding related content to what you are looking at now. (In IRC they are used to call attention to a user and/or name a channel.)

For example, on Twitter, if you search for, say, “#ObamaCare“, you’ll see a variety of recent tweets that talk about or reference the “Affordable Care Act”. If you want to join an ongoing discussion, it’s a good way for people to be able to find you and what you think.

When make new ones?

Some folks seem to get a thrill out of hashtagging everything they say. Like this: “#crazy #TSA #waittimes #patdowns #cavitysearches #whowouldeverwanttofly?”

#your #statusupdates #look #so #cool #with #your #hashtags #saidnoonever

pretty much

So when should you make new ones? When you’re tweeting something that hasn’t been before, or you want to repurpose an old tag, or some other Really Good Reasonâ„¢.

For example, when I was at Moab Con in 2011, I live-tweeted many of the sessions, appending or prepending (depending on where I thought it should go) #moabcon2011 to my tweets or folks could find and follow easily. Or when a family we knew was doing an adoption fundraiser 5k, they used “#r2b1h” for “Run to bring 1 home” (which, very excitedly and unexpectedly has now turned into bringing 3 home!).

Where do they go, then?

The general “best practice” (though I despise that term) seems to be to tag inline, and append additional tags at the end (and post any links that may be in the tweet). For example, you might tweet a news story thusly, “#Amtrak considering fleet replacement and new stations #train #transit #rail” (story and link made up).


Overall, hashtags should not be repetitive (eg “#Ubuntu #Linux 13.10 betas available #linux), and every tag should add something to the post – the first tag tags the entire post, and adding more makes the post harder to read, and adds no semantic value to it.

This same concept applied when tagging blog posts, question on sites like the Stack Exchange family, etc. In many ways, it’s no different than the old card catalog at your local library. Tags are like a selective concordance – there may (or may not) be a reason to have a truly exhaustive concordance for something (eg Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance), but in all likelihood, you don’t really care every time someone uses a simple word like “the”. You care to find the meatier terms in the text.

Maybe we can all enjoy SMS to the masses a little more now. – schedule social media posts

I learned about this week – finally a way to not overload Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc with posts – and put them in relevant venues easily.

Thanks, Passive Panda.